Winnie Harlow & Stephan James For Elle Canada By Norman Wong
Canadian Model Winnie Harlow and Actor Stephan James are the cover stars of ELLE Canada‘s Fashion and Film issue.
Stephan on growing up in Scarborough:
It’s where I spent the first 12 years of my life—three boys in a two-bedroom metro-housing apartment with my mom. It’s the foundation of who I am,” he says as we settle into a booth near the back of the dining room. “Even though my circumstances have changed, it’s very much a part of what made me me.
Together with his brother, James created Building a Legacy in Acting, Cinema and Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K.), an initiative born out of a desire to build a launch pad for the next generation. They host a blowout party during TIFF to celebrate achievements, but the focus of the organization is on mentorship. “When we were coming up, there weren’t many black actors from here that we could look up to,” says James. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why do all my inspirations have to be from America?’ That really stuck with us. So Shamier and I thought: ‘Man, what if we’re those guys? Maybe we should celebrate the people we know are doing great things because if we don’t uplift ourselves, who will?’”
Winnie on speaking her mind in the modeling industry especially as a woman of colour I find it difficult; it’s not comfortable [for me]. But the worst you can get is a ‘No.’ I’d rather go to sleep being proud that I stood up for myself and didn’t put myself in an uncomfortable situation—at work, in a relationship, whatever part of my life. I’ve realized that my happiness and my opinion of myself are more important than whatever anyone else has to say.
Read the interview here
Photographer: Norman Wong