If you thought Eva Marcille’s disappointment or Tyra Banks’ classy response to Winnie Harlow’s comments that America’s Next Top Model doesn’t do anything to help a model’s career would encourage the 24-year-old to backtrack on those statements, you’re wrong. Months after saying that her career didn’t really start until after the show, Harlow is standing by her initial comments and reiterated, via Instagram, that the show actually came with a stigma. So after completing the series and grinding to make things pop, she wouldn’t really talk about her time on ANTM in order to be taken seriously. It worked.
“It has nothing to do with being ungrateful, and more over nothing to do with ‘shade’ to Tyra,” she wrote. “She was the first person of higher status to make me feel like I could be a model and not only am I grateful for that, it’s something I’ll never forget. After being on the show no one would book me and no agency would sign me because of the Reality Tv stigma. Once I realized that, I stopped talking about it and grew my work base in Europe. Out there I was known by the first big campaign I did for a brand called Desigual. That’s just my truth.”
“That’s what I was told by agencies and it was unfortunately something I didn’t know before I accepted the offer for the show,” she continued. “That was when I realized you could be successful off the show in some ventures, but I had never really seen a Top Model in the fashion industry off the show. I understand people know me and have seen me on ANTM, but I never really talk about it because my goal is to always be honest but never to bash anyone’s empire. It’s just difficult to get around questions I usually would avoid, on a live show. My truth is, I stand by what I said and I say it because I don’t want girls thinking it’s a jump start to a modelling career because of me. I learned that the best thing to do to become a model and to be taken seriously is to take plain head shots and find a reputable modelling agency. I’m always grateful for every experience I have to learn and grow, but I also want to be real with young guys and girls whose dreams are to become models.”
Harlow also showed that a few past Top Model contestants were offering her support, including YaYa DaCosta, who was runner-up to Marcille in Season 3. Hit the flip on her comments to see what they had to say about her speaking her truth. All seemed to agree that Top Model makes you visible, but to be a successful model is ultimately the burden of the contestants.
This isn’t Harlow’s first time defending her comments. She also said she was just being honest and not throwing shade when her statements first gained traction in the spring.
“I’m equally grateful for every single opportunity I’ve been given,” she said at the time. “And, I also want to be honest. So many girls asked me how to get on ‘ANTM’ to become a supermodel. Honestly [sic] shouldn’t be misconstrued as shade. From my experience the best way to be a model is to find a reputable agency who believes in you and work hard, not being on TV as they are two different industries.”
In the end, she would know best what helped her career and what didn’t. Do you think Harlow is just misunderstood or being ungrateful?