When I was trying to lay in my couch and watch my favorite YouTube Channel last weekend, this ad scene pop on my screen. Surprisingly, I didn’t try to click the “skip” button. Instead, being attracted by the beats of the music and the setting of the scene, my curiosity was totally sparked when the girl showing up as the leading actor in the Sprite ad–Chantelle Winnie.
The scene is set in a gloomy kitchen, where Winnie is hanging with a group of cool young folks and telling them “I am Winnie, Chantelle Winnie”. Noticeably, how she deliver this line is in an assertive and very confident tone. As a close-up scene of Winnie shows up on the screen later on, you can tell the symmetrical whiteness on this girl’s face, as what you see on the snapshot above. I thought it might be some make-up she put on that tries to correspond with the concept of the Sprite ad at first, but I suddenly got the gut feeling about how unique this girl could be. All the puzzle and curiosity drove me to search her name in Google. Out of my expectation, her legendary stories absolutely strike me, even made me burned into tears.
Chantelle Winnie was born in Vancouver, Canada. At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with “vitiligo”, a skin disease that cause the patient to lose skin color. Winnie gradually became aware of her difference. Even worse than that, her disease got dramatically heavier, since she lost the color much faster than the other people with vitiligo.
What she suffered from it was not merely nonverbal prejudice, but companying with elimination, verbal bullying, even physical harassment. Finally, Winnie decided to escape, she dropped out from the school and start to switch from one school to another, but what she suffered never ceased.
Her life changing point did not arrive until her high school year. After switching to an alternative school, this junior high school girl started to work and tried to get herself economical independent. One day, a Canadian journalist came across Winnie’s Facebook page, and told Winnie that she was “strikingly beautiful”. The lady shoot a video for her and published on SNS website. After this collaboration, Winnie’s video went viral, the journalist told her that she could be a model, which was nearly an impossible thing that Winnie never dreamed for before.
After seeing how this video got liked by the public, Winnie gradually changed her attitudes towards her appearance. She decided to give it a try and talk to several model agencies, but the answers were always “No”.
Winnie didn’t suspend her dreams by these. She started to post her pictures on Instagram and went to “America’s Next Top Model” for audition. Surprisingly, her unique physical apperance, and her confident, finally became her assets.Even though being eliminated in the later rounds of the competition, the public continued vote for her. She made it, she became a model, being recognized from Cosmopolitan, Access Hollywood, and Buzzfeed as the next worldwide icon girl.
In March, 2014, Winnie was being invited as a TEDxTeen guest speaker to share her inspiration with the public. Winnie started her speech by asking the audience,” What you find as the most beautiful?”. Obviously, Winnie has her own answer, and she has proofed it to the world. As what Winnie said:
“Some people may say that ‘big feet are not cute’; but there is gonna be a pair of shoes that are gonna look better on my size 9 feet than the size 6 feet”.
This is the story of Winnie, Chantelle Winnie.