Winnie Harlow made her official Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show debut on Nov. 8 and couldn’t have done it with a bigger bang. The Canadian supermodel, 24, hails from Toronto but has made international runways her home thanks to her fierce walk, outspoken attitude and unique look. First bursting onto the scene as a contestant in the 21 st cycle of America’s Next Top Model, Winnie has made quite the name for herself – and she let HELLO! Canada in on some of her secrets backstage before she conquered the catwalk, from her fave hometown treat to her beauty must-haves.
A lot goes in to preparing for the runway, especially the most popular lingerie show in the world. “Diet-wise, [I] try to stick to low-carb, high-protein, lots of veggies, not too many fruits,” she shared. But her go-to Canuck treat is a particular indulgent food that she surely enjoys during her downtime: “My favourite thing about Canada is poutine!”
Winnie is one of a few Canadians to strut the VS runway, including Herieth Paul, a fact that she doesn’t take lightly. While the star’s modelling career has taken her around the world, from Tokyo to Spain, she still calls Canada her home. “I’m really honoured to represent Canada. It’s such an amazing country,” she said backstage in New York. “I’m grateful to have been born there.”
The Canadian supermodel was spotted by Tyra Banks on Instagram and is known for her eye-catching look due to Vitiligo disease which affects the skin’s pigment cells. A self-proclaimed spokesperson for the condition who gave a Ted Talk on it four years ago, Winnie also asserts that this doesn’t define her. “I’m sick of every headline ending in ‘vitiligo sufferer,’” she told The Cut earlier this year. “Do you see me suffering?” Definitely not. The model let HELLO! Canada in on the secrets of her beauty routine, which helped her prep for her VS debut: “A lot of facials, a lot of exfoliation,” she shared. “Nothing too abrasive obviously because you want your skin to be not red, and not irritated.”
While this is her first show, her incredible debut made it clear that she’s not going anywhere! “This is my first show, so there’s no rituals I have as of yet. But I had a lot to do yesterday so I didn’t get much sleep,” she explained. “I had two fittings, I had a photoshoot, I had to take my nails off to get the custom VS colour today, so I didn’t get much sleep. But hopefully if I get the show next year, I’ll be sure to get sleep the night before!”