She first burst into the industry in 2014, competing on America’s Next Top Model. And while Winnie Harlow may not have won her season of the reality series, she has just been crowned the Breakthrough Model of the Year. The Canadian star scooped the title at the Daily Front Row 2018 Fashion Media Awards, held in New York on Thursday evening.
The 24-year-old was presented with the award by rapper – and Vogue Arabia September cover star – Nicki Minaj, in the Park Hyatt ceremony. Harlow, who is one of the first high-profile fashion models with vitiligo, wore a custom Pamella Roland gown for the occasion, which she revealed was created as a tribute to Donyale Luna. The shimmering, backless silver dress was a “custom homage” to the “first African American model to appear on British Vogue“, Harlow told her 4.2 million Instagram followers.
The model, who has walked for everyone from Elie Saab to Schiaparelli, also paid tribute to Minaj for being there on the night, telling the Queen hitmaker, “I can’t believe you did this”. “You came all the way to NYC,” Harlow captioned an image of the two on her social media platform. “The accomplishment in itself is breathtaking to me! But to have someone I’ve looked up to for soooo long and now call my friend present this iconic award to me… I’m crying right now writing this. You know I love you.”
Minaj, who also wore a sparkling, crystal-and-feather-encrusted Pamella Roland design, later shared her best wishes for the model. “Congrats my love,” the musician told Harlow, who this week revealed she will be gracing the Victoria’s Secret runway this year in her debut as a VS Angel.
Also attending the Daily Front Row awards were industry icons including Ashley Graham, Shanina Shaik, and Gigi Hadid, the latter of whom presented the award for Cover of the Year. The 23-year-old part-Palestinian model wore an asymmetric silver by Paco Rabanne, which she softened with golden waves and super-fresh skin. On the night, Hailey Baldwin scooped the Fashion Media Personality award, while Irina Shayk wore an Oscar-worthy gold, chainmail Versace gown to pick up the Fashion Icon Award.