#YouDoYou: Models with unusual traits who rock our world

We're only human


By Wei Yeen Loh

#YouDoYou: Models with unusual traits who rock our world

Winnie Harlow

Also known as Chantelle Brown-Young, the 21-year-old Canadian model with vitiligo—a chronic skin condition that causes portions of skin to lose the pigment—shot to fame when she appeared in season 21 of America’s Next Top Model. A spokesperson for vitiligo, Harlow has landed advertising campaigns with Desigual and Diesel; editorials with Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Vogue Italia, and also walked for apparel label Ashish during London Fashion Week S/S’15.


Rebekah Marine

Born without a right forearm, Rebekah Marine decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a model when she was 22 years old, after a friend suggested that she should “model” her prothesis during a fitting. Currently an ambassador for Touch Bionics, Marine now has an i-limb—one of the most advanced prothetic hands in the world. The 28-year-old West Deptford native has walked for Mercedez Benz Fashion Week 2015 and was featured in Nordstrom’s anniversary catalogue this year. Watch out for her as she’ll be gracing the runways of New York Fashion Week 2016 very soon!


Shaun Ross

The first African-American male model with albinism, Ross has modeled for Alexander McQueen and Givenchy while appearing in publications such as Vogue and British GQ and starring in a short film, Tropico, with singer Lana Del Rey. Hailing from the Bronx in NYC, Ross is a vocal advocate for healthy beauty standards, from his “In My Skin I Win” movement to sharing his experience meeting with rescued Tanzanian albino refugees.


Jillian Mercado

Jillian Mercado, a fashion blogger with muscular dystrophy, was chosen by Diesel’s creative director Nicola Formichetti to become the face of the Spring 2014 ad campaign. Mercado is also the editorial director for WeTheUrban magazine and has a slew of fashion-based experiences under her belt, having interned at Allure and Veranda magazine along with contributing for Mercado is now currently signed with IMG Worldwide, blazing the path for models who have physically distinctive traits in the fashion and modeling industry.


Special mention: Aimee Mullins

The first double amputee to strut down the runway, Aimee Mullins is also an actress, advocate and ex-Paralympian. When Mullins first opened for Alexander McQueen S/S 1999 show wearing a leather corset and a pair of beautifully handcarved, elm-wood prosthetic legs, the world (at that time) thought it controversial and she made headlines the next day. But since then, the fashion world changed in a plethora of ways that were unknown of in the past—celebrating disability and humanity while quashing the taboo that physically-challenged people do not belong in the fashion industry.

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