Have you heard Michael Jackson’s name coming up lately in relation to his skin condition — and how it is trending in the fashion world? Michael Jackson fans supported him through multiple controversies throughout the decades — one of which was related to the way his skin changed tone over the last decade-and-a-half of his life. Now, this skin disorder that affected Michael Jackson is being cast in a positive light.
Michael Jackson fans usually enjoy his legacy in the form of cute robots that dance like Michael Jackson. However, The Daily Mail U.K. recently published an article that stated having a skin condition like Michael Jackson’s is the best fashion accessory you can have. Specifically, they cited Winnie Harlow as having the same skin condition as Michael Jackson — and how it has been her most valuable asset in the fashion modeling world.
The condition is known as vitiligo, and Winnie Harlow and Michael Jackson both had the genetic predisposition for the condition. When Michael Jackson was still alive, he was heavily criticized for using skin bleaching as a way to ameliorate vitiligo. Worse, people wondered if Michael Jackson was lying about having vitiligo — and was simply bleaching his skin to look like a white person.
Michael Jackson talked to Oprah in 1993 about his experiences with vitiligo, and stated that he never purposely bleached his skin — but there was still skepticism. After Michael Jackson died, Hip Hop Wired published an article talking about the large number of skin lightening creams that were found at his residence — but defended Michael Jackson and the skin bleaching products as normal treatments for vitiligo.
When Michael Jackson’s death was put on trial in 2013, it was revealed from his autopsy findings that vitiligo was a genetic condition he actually had. CNN reported at the time, “The autopsy confirmed what Jackson told people who questioned why his skin tone became lighter in the 1980s. Jackson had ‘vitiligo, a skin pigmentation disease.'”
Interestingly, the skin condition that caused the general public to doubt Michael Jackson over 20 years ago has returned to the celebrity world. This time, it is Winnie Harlow that is taking the spotlight for the condition she and Michael Jackson share.
— Desigual (@desigual) March 13, 2015
The Daily Telegraph Australia recently published an article that stated rare conditions like Michael Jackson’s or Winnie Harlow’s are the next best fashion accessory for 2015. They declared, “Today, diversity is what we’re lusting over. Fashion and beauty campaigns, along with the runway, are finally embracing the different…”
They went on to cite celebrities that were using their unique physical attributes to succeed in the beauty world. For instance, 80-year-old fashion model Joan Didion, Conchita Wurst, the gender-bending Austrian singer, and size-24 model Tess Munster.
The same publication said Winnie Harlow having Michael Jackson’s unique skin condition was truly the “game changer” as far as using your unique physical attributes as a trendy fashion accessory in 2015.
Winnie Harlow got started with her modeling career when she appeared on the 21st cycle of America’s Top Model and, like Michael Jackson, has not always had such a positive reception about her vitiligo. On her website, Winnie “Chantelle” Harlow says, “Chantelle, who was diagnosed at age 4 with vitiligo, the skin condition that was made infamous by Michael Jackson, spent her youth bullied and tormented for her differences.”
Winnie Harlow’s career officially took off a year before her skin condition was declared as the official fashion accessory trend of 2015. In 2014, Winnie Harlow was hired specifically for her Michael Jackson-esque complexion. The fashion designer label, Desigual, has continued since that time to use Winnie Harlow as a model for their runway and online campaigns.
Instead of using skin bleaching or foundation to cover up the contrasting skin tone patterns that vitiligo is known for, Desigual has Winnie Harlow display her skin condition to the fullest in person, on film, or in videos. The Michael Jackson vitiligo look that Desigual has been promoting for several seasons is an essential part of the “Say Something Nice” campaign.
It seems that no matter where Winnie Harlow’s vitiligo is discussed these days it is always in a positive way — unlike the way the public treated Michael Jackson’s vitiligo. If Michael Jackson was still alive, he might have liked the Instagram photo that Winnie Harlow posted about herself on March 11 that said, “She proves that being different is not only beautiful, it gives you personality, makes you more special and therefore even more attractive.”
[Feature image via Getty Images.]