Chantelle Brown-Young

The fast-rising and strikingly beautiful model reveals how she found the confidence to stand out and be unique

In My Beauty, fashion and culture鈥檚 most compelling faces reveal in their own words what the idea of beauty means to them

Less than 1% of the world鈥檚 population have vitiligo, yet as one rising model is proving, the markings left by this skin condition can truly be a thing of beauty. Chantelle Brown-Young is the Toronto-born star with a succession of high-profile campaigns and fashion magazine editorials, not to mention a starring role in America鈥檚 Next Top Model. Here, Chantelle 鈥 known to her friends as Winnie 鈥 explains what it鈥檚 like to be one of the most exciting and recognisable faces on the planet.

鈥淚鈥檝e always been confident. Perhaps not about my skin in particular, but there was a love for myself. That鈥檚 always been part of who I am. There were times when I was younger when my skin would get me down. My mom would lightly dust some makeup on me to make me feel better, but I felt it made me stand out in a way that I didn鈥檛 want, so she stopped doing it.

鈥淚鈥檓 my mom鈥檚 more rambunctious mini-me. She鈥檚 calmer than I am. She taught me to walk away when people are rude to you. I鈥檝e had to remind myself of that again now that I鈥檓 in the public eye.

鈥淟ow confidence comes from paying too much attention to what other people think. When you realize that people are being hateful because of ignorance, or because they are not used to seeing something, it takes the edge off. You have to realize that it鈥檚 the other person who has the problem. As I get older, I focus on doing the things that make me feel beautiful. Like having a long shower at the end of the day and applying a face mask. It鈥檚 a simple thing but it makes all the difference.

鈥淲hen you realize that people are being hateful because of ignorance, or because they are not used to seeing something, it takes the edge off.鈥

鈥淚鈥檓 not much of a performer, but I鈥檓 very comfortable in front of a camera. I was always getting my mom to do photo shoots of me as a kid. I hope that through my work, people who have vitiligo with a passion to do something, won鈥檛 let it hold them back. Modelling isn鈥檛 for everyone, I just happen to enjoy it. It doesn鈥檛 mean other girls with vitiligo should necessarily follow my exact path, but I want them to feel empowered through my story.鈥