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Saudi model joins 'doppleganger' Winnie Harlow on Vogue Arabia cover Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Saudi model joins 'doppleganger' Winnie Harlow on Vogue Arabia cover

The models are both diagnosed with vitiligo [Instagram/5Sunshine1/Vogue Arabia]

Date of publication: 6 June, 2019

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Mecca-based Shahad Salman, dubbed the Saudi Winnie Harlow, says she was approached by the superstar model on Instagram before her life changed 'for the best'.
A Saudi model with vitiligo shook the fashion world this week after featuring on the front cover of Vogue Arabia's June edition alongside Canadian supermodel Winnie Harlow.

Mecca-based Shahad Salman, dubbed the Saudi Winnie Harlow, says she was approached by the superstar model on Instagram before her life changed "for the best".

"Before, I didn't feel good about myself and I didn't like the way I looked. Winnie was the person who gave me the confidence to fight. I never expected to meet her. Sharing time on the set of Vogue with her was a dream. I feel that now I, too, can inspire other girls from Arab world," Salman was quoted as saying.

The pair are both diagnosed with vitiligo, a rare skin condition that affects just one percent of the world's population but social media users on Instagram pointed towards the models striking resemblance, including the positioning of the discolouration on their face, their dazzling good looks and unmissable beautiful hair.

"When I saw the beautiful Shahad on Instagram about a year ago I knew I wanted to do something powerful with her," Winnie Harlow, who has championed diversity and self-acceptance on her modelling journey across global catwalks, said on the popular social media app.

The publication said the photoshoot, which was shot in the kingdom where Salman was born, was "in line with work" already published by Vogue Arabia, including producing disruptive covers, turning the spotlight to body positivity, diversity, and religious freedom."

"Vogue Arabia’s June issue also aims to contradict the stereotypes so often attributed to Arab women," the publication said.

The move to showcase a Saudi model was widely praised online though questions were raised after it was encouraged by local Saudi news in the conservative kingdom, as well as the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee - the kingdom's lobby group in the US.

Last year, Saudi women took to social media platforms to slam Vogue Arabia after it featured a glamorous Saudi princess on its cover this month, while the real women "driving change" in the kingdom were being jailed.

Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud - daughter of late King Abdullah - appears on the cover of June's edition of the fashion magazine, clad in white, wearing leather gloves and high-heels, perched in the driver's seat of a car overlooking a desert landscape.

Activists said the cover whitewashes the jailing of Saudi Arabia's real reformers.

Saudi women expressed outrage on Twitter by changing the Princess Hayfa Vogue cover with the images of women activists imprisoned during Mohammed bin Salman's clampdown.

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