Winnie Harlow appeared in Cycle 21 of America’s Next Top Model in 2014 and did not win the crown, but she still has a successful career. And she doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the show.
Harlow appeared on Tuesday night’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, where she answered a viewer’s question about how she knew she had “made it” in the industry. “I made it?” Harlow joked, before casually demolishing the myth that ANTM leads to a real profession as a model.
“I really started after the show, ’cause that really didn’t do anything for my career...which, it doesn’t do anything for any model’s career, realistically,” Harlow said. “A photographer from London hit me up—major photographer Nick Knight—and he was like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen your photos online, and I want to do a shoot with you.’ It went viral, and I got campaigns from there, and it hasn’t stopped since.”
The exposure may help some contestants book future gigs, but at this point, no one should go on Top Model thinking they’ll actually become a major supermodel. That point has been proven again and again every cycle (and viewers get it by now), and yet the premise of the show remains and a “top model” is crowned each season.
Harlow said she went on the show because she thought it would be a “career starter,” but found that was not the case. “It was really a reality TV show. That’s not what I signed up for,” Harlow said on WWHL. “It’s almost like you made it in spite of the show,” Andy Cohen added to twist the knife.
Harlow won’t go that far. “Well, I wouldn’t like to say that,” she said. “It’s still a part of my history, and I’m really grateful for everything that I’ve done to get where I am. But, you know.” We know.