For an editorial titled The Art of Beauty, Harper’s Bazaar re-imagined 5 iconic paintings through the image of several popular models.
Thankfully, Winnie Harlow and Somali-American model Halima Aden made the cut. Aden was tapped to portray Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring while Winnie took on one of the most well known paintings of all time, The Mona Lisa.
On Harlow’s interpretation, Bazaar reports:
A controversial new book, Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting, claims that history’s most infamous half-smile may have belonged to the wife of an Italian slave trader. Understandably, this bit of breaking news has prompted Winnie Harlow—the 23-year-old Canadian model of Jamaican descent who has helped demystify the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo—to reexamine Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece with a critical eye. Her take on the new theory is pure millennial: “How can we ever really know what Lisa the person was like? That was a time before there were selfies!” Harlow too knows what it’s like to have strangers make assumptions about her based solely on her appearance. “People come up to me all the time, like, ‘Oh, you know there’s a treatment, right?’ But why would I want to be any other way?”
For the first hijab- wearing Muslim model ever signed to a major agency, who typically covers her head and neck with a scarf, showing even that little sliver of skin was something new. “I have both my ears pierced,” says the 20-year-old Somali-American beauty, “but I’d never shown them before. It was just for me.” For Aden, modesty isn’t just about strict adherence to tradition. It’s a matter of intent: “It’s very physical. But it has to be mental too—you have to live a humble life,” she says. And while Aden’s career has required her to adapt her beliefs to new environments, she’s always up for a challenge. “I’ve worn so many different things as a hijab at this point,” she says of her Delft blue head scarf. “Nothing fazes me.”