Drake has romanced many a celebrity over the course of his career, the most recent being actress/singer Jennifer Lopez. The two were rumored to be an item earlier this year, with intimate Instagram posts and musical collaborations in the works, but have since broken things off. Now, not more than one week later, Drake has been romantically linked with another celebrity figure, supermodel Winnie Harlow.
According to The Sun, Harlow left London’s Cirque Le Sour Club early on Monday night, and made her way to Drake’s party in Libertine, where the two were seen getting “particularly intimate.” Despite the presence of several other models, The Sun reports that the “Hotline Bling” rapper only had eyes for Harlow.
Here are five fast facts you need to know about Winnie Harlow.
1. She Has the Skin Condition Vitiligo
Harlow’s most prominent and striking quality is undoubtedly her skin. Diagnosed with vitiligo at age four, she suffered the same pigmentation condition that plagued Michael Jackson later in his life and, as a result, had a childhood fueled by cruelty and schoolyard bullying. “I was called names like cow, zebra, and all manner of other disparaging slurs,” Harlow told The Gleaner, “The despair that it brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanising that I wanted to kill myself.”
Harlow eventually dropped out of high school to focus on her career, and learned to be comfortable, both literally and figuratively, in her own skin, telling Elle Canada: “As I grew up, people would still stare, but, I don’t know, me feeling uncomfortable just disappeared. I’d be walking out with friends and they’d be like ‘Don’t you feel everyone staring?’ and I’d be like no, I actually don’t. I don’t care.” Check out her vitiligo awareness video, A Skin Condition, Not a Life Condition, above.
2. She Was a Finalist on ‘America’s Next Top Model’
Harlow first began modeling on Instagram, but it wasn’t until she was discovered by America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks (who also dated Drake, ironically enough) that her career began to take off. She recounted her story to CNN in 2016, saying “My little sister started a Facebook page for me and one of the producers from the show sent me a message showing interest. I didn’t believe it but I followed through and ended up being on the show for season 21.”
Harlow became one of the fourteen finalists that year, before being eliminated in the second week of finals. Still, Harlow greatly benefited from the exposure, and when she appeared in a spinoff competition called the “comeback series,” was revealed to have the highest average public vote score from audiences. Check out the video above, where she was billed by her birthname, Chantelle Brown-Young.
This distinction has made Harlow a standout in the modeling world and a key player in bringing vitiligo awareness to the public.
3. She’s Referenced in the Drake Song ‘Know Yourself’
While Harlow may be currently making headlines for her connection to Drake, she initially met the rapper through his producer, Noah “40” Shebib. “I’m friends with 40,” she told Complex Magazine, “So I met everyone through him. I’m just like, the little sister.” Harlow went on to remark that she’s lovingly called “6 Goddess” around Toronto, in reference to Drake’s popular moniker of “6 God.” These OVO ties deepened in 2015 when Drake released his mixtape If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, and one of the standout tracks, “Know Yourself,” directly referenced the Canadian model.
The lyric reads: “Reps up is in here/Got P Reign and Chubby and TJ and Winnie and woah/Yeah, and you know that sh*t go.” Harlow was flattered upon hearing the shoutout, as she explained to Complex; “I looked it up on Genius and I saw a picture of us, so I was like, aw, that’s cool.”
4. She Partnered With Sprite in 2016
Among the many endorsements that Harlow has landed, from Diesel to Brazilian clothing brand Desigual, the most notable has been her collaboration with Sprite. The soft drink brand selected Harlow as their new ambassador because she is a fresh, vivacious talent who “doesn’t need anyone to tell her who she is.” A Sprite Instagram post went on to call the model a “dream chaser and groundbreaker who shows up, and shows up on her own terms.” Check out the original post below.
The collab worked wonders for both parties, as Sprite was able to increase diversity in their promotion, and Harlow was able to further rise in popularity. Fans clearly felt positively about the final product on TV, and many took to Twitter to voice their adoration:
5. She Appeared in Beyoncé’s ‘Freedom’ Music Video
Harlow makes a brief but vital appearance in a music video for Beyoncé‘s album Lemonade (2016). According to W Magazine, however, it came very close to not happening. “I was actually contacted by their team a couple weeks prior, ” Harlow explained, “but my agent at the time didn’t get back to them because they wouldn’t tell us much about the project.” Eventually, a personal aide to the pop star called Harlow the night before, asking her if she could fly to New Orleans the next day and appear in the video.
The answer, of course, was a resounding yes. Harlow made her cameo in the album’s centerpiece, the politically charged anthem “Freedom” featuring Kendrick Lamar. The single and its visuals would go on to earn a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Click here to watch the video on Tidal.
Harlow has also appeared in the music videos for JMSN’s “The One,” Eminem’s “Guts Over Fear,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “#WHEREISTHELOVE.”