As a trailblazing woman in the spotlight, Winnie Harlow knows what it’s like to have others look up to her — and she recognizes how important that role can be. “I hope that [I can help other women] learn that every step you take forward, you open the door a little further for someone else to get through,” the Canadian model tells us over email. “My mentors have done just that for me, and it’s my ambition to do the same for others as I grow in my career. I want to help champion confidence, inclusivity and acceptance.”
And for International Women’s Day, Harlow — who, btw, has just been announced as a judge on season two of Prime Video’s fashion competition series Making the Cut — has teamed up with Amazon Canada to do just that. The e-tailer has launched its first-ever IWD virtual storefront today, highlighting the stories of eight Canadian women growing their businesses — including skincare brands and Montreal eyewear company BonLook — on the site. The storefront will also feature products from 55 women-owned Canadian businesses and a selection of Harlow’s own picks.
We caught up with the model to talk about the campaign and the women who inspire her.
On International Women’s Day:
“International Women’s Day means shining a light on women, our strength, our power, our perseverance and our beautiful complexities. It means calling out gender bias and inequality and choosing to seek out and champion women’s achievements. It gives us an opportunity to share, support and celebrate women.”
On teaming up with Amazon Canada for IWD 2021:
“I am a Canadian Woman and have recently become a new business founder, so I am learning first-hand how hard it is to build a business. I want to use my social platform to share these incredible women’s stories and celebrate their achievements.”
On her favourite Canadian brands:
“I am always so excited to learn about new Canadian brands, like the ones I am highlighting for Amazon on International Women’s Day. I also actively seek to support women-owned businesses – especially those owned by women of colour who are challenged with systematic inequality – and spend my money on these brands. I love Saje Natural Wellness’s line of essential oils and M.A.C – most people don’t know it originated in Toronto. I’ve worked with the brand before for their Viva Glam campaign. And I also love DSquared2 and Sorel.”
On the women who inspire her:
“So many women inspire me. They are the backbones within families and communities. One woman who has greatly inspired me is my friend Shannon Boodram. She is like my big sister and has always believed in me and helped me with everything, from finding management to getting my first job and shooting my first photoshoot. She is also an incredible mother.
“And as someone who is currently building my own brand, I really admire and am inspired by what both Tracee Ellis Ross and Pat McGrath are doing as two women of colour. They have both originated their own brands and created top-tier products in crowded categories. They focused on making the best products possible and have risen to the top which is what I also hope to achieve.”
Skin and Hair Oil, Bartholomew Sisters
Pickering, Ont., native Amandla Bartholomew launched her natural skin and hair care brand after eliminating harsh ingredients from her own daily regimen. The artisan takes inspo from her family’s West African roots, sourcing Grade A shea butter from Ghana to create the line’s nourishing products.
Cacao Luxe Raw Honey, Drizzle
Stock up on sweet and delicious made-in-Canada honey thanks to Drizzle. Choose from the Calgary-based brand’s classic golden raw honey, or one of their many intriguing blends that include whipped superfoods, like anti-inflammatory turmeric or mood-boosting cacao.
Aquarius Zodiac Necklace, Emery and Opal
Montreal jewellery brand Emery and Opal is named for the two birthstones that sisters/co-owners Amanda and Tiffany Reis hold dear: May’s emerald, to honour the company’s launch, and October’s opal for their late grandmother. They specialize in affordable celestial-themed and personalized handmade accessories, ranging from necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.
Magic Eyeliner and False Eyelashes set, Benols Beauty
Searching for affordable lashes that don’t sacrifice quality? Look no further than Calgary’s own Benols Beauty. Founder Stella Benson left her career in finance to launch the brand – which also offers smudge-free eyeliner and beauty accessories like gold collagen eye patches and soothing scalp brushes – to help women feel their most confident.
Pom Pom Face + Body Sugar Scrub, Scrub Inspired
Kiersten Hanly and Jessica McNeil, the founders of Nova Scotia-and Ontario-based natural skincare brand Scrub Inspired were tired of watching women put themselves at the bottom of their own to-do lists. Enter their small-batch self-care line, which promises products for every skin type, using simple ingredients like fresh garden herbs and juicy pomegranate to create a rejuvenating at-home spa experience.
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