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“I Found Her On Instagram”: Tyra Banks Responds To Winnie Harlow’s America’s Next Top Model Diss With Class

Tyra Banks Winnie Harlow

Source: Cindy Ord/Charles Sykes / Getty

If you’ll recall, while visiting Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live this past spring, model Winnie Harlow said that despite initially making a name for herself on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, her career didn’t really benefit from her time on the reality competition show. She went a step further to say that the show really doesn’t do anything for any of the models it features.

“So I really started after the show because that really didn’t do anything for my career, which it doesn’t do anything for any model’s career, realistically,” she told Cohen. “But 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, I got campaigns from there and it hasn’t stopped since.”

Harlow said she took part in the hopes of propelling her modeling career, but dealt with nothing but drama.

“That’s why I went on. I thought it was going to be a career starter but it was really like a reality TV show,” she said. “That’s not what I signed up for.”

Months later, and coincidentally, on the same show while promoting Life Size 2, Tyra Banks responded to her statements.

“Did she say that?” she asked. “I discovered her on Instagram. Yeah. C’mon, I discovered her on Instagram and she’s on this show, so what do you think that means?”

But there’s no beef. Banks said that she has a lot of love for Harlow and any other young woman who has taken part in the show. But she also pointed out that sometimes, hurt people, hurt people. And Harlow has spoken about being bullied growing up due to her vitiligo.

“I have nothing but love for my girls, and my girls come from so many walks of life and so much pain and so much hardship and so much story,” she said. “And a lot of the times, when people express themselves in certain ways, there’s a reason. I will respect her confidentiality and her life. I have to give love to her because they’re all my babies. Even the ones that act out are still my babies.”

In case you’re wondering if Harlow ever tried to walk back her comments, the answer is a no. In fact, she stood by them on Twitter soon after her initial WWHL episode aired.

“Lol the show films so fast so I didn’t get to elaborate but after it was known I was going to be on a reality show, no agency would book me, no one would work with me I was told it was because I was now branded a ‘reality break out star’ not actually a model, before the show was even aired,” she said. “I was going to give up on being a model and go study  journalism which I always wanted to do ? Thankfully, a stylist showed Nick Knight a viral Youtube video of me from 2012 and he reached out to shoot in London. My first time ever abroad I was shook and honored. This was after it was in tabloids that I would be on the show, but before it actually aired in September). The only person on set for this shoot who knew I was going to be on ‘ANTM’ was the makeup artist. From the shoot Nick booked me from my first ever world wide campaign with Diesel Jeans and said I should come to London to teach models how to be fluid with their bodies while modeling. Which I couldn’t wrap my head around because on the show. I was told I wasn’t a good model….”

“I’m equally grateful for every single opportunity I’ve been given,” she added. “And, I also want to be honest. So many girls asked me how to get on ‘ANTM’ to become a supermodel. Honestly [sic] shouldn’t be misconstrued as shade. From my experience the best way to be a model is to find a reputable agency who believes in you and work hard, not being on TV as they are two different industries.”