Model Winnie Harlow Breaks Down Her 'Lemonade' Looks, Recalls Swapping Shoes With Beyonce

Winnie Harlow
Courtesy Photo

Winnie Harlow in a still from Beyonce's visual album Lemonade.

"Anything for Beyonce." That was model Winnie Harlow's mantra last December when Bey's team invited her to work on the icon's Lemonade project, which made its HBO debut on Saturday night.

The 21-year-old Toronto beauty, né Chantelle Brown-Young -- whose rare vitiligo skin condition has stunned in campaigns for Diesel and Spanish brand Desigual -- slipped into various numbers for the production, which included an African-inspired orange and teal number (as seen in the chapter titled "Resurrection" set to the sounds of Beyonce and James Blake's emotional duet "Forward") as well as a soft white, billowy number that she sashays in for "Freedom."


Forever Grateful --

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In a continuation of Billboard's conversation with Harlow, the model breaks down her looks in Lemonade and shares a funny story about the time she swapped shoes with Beyonce. 

Beyonce's 'Lemonade': Model Winnie Harlow Explains the On-Set Ambience During 'Freedom'

On her "Resurrection" dress


It was an African-inspired outfit. [The style team] chose that one specifically for me. I don’t know why but it was so epic. It was so sick. They brought that one to my trailer and I was like, ‘Bring it on.’ I have no idea who designed [the pieces I wore]. I didn’t look at the tags but they wanted something very graceful. 

On her skin routine for "Lemonade" 
I used a lot of my own makeup products in the video just because the flight [from L.A. to New Orleans] wasn’t that long. It was the makeup I'd wear on a flight. There wasn't any mascara but I put concealer on light or dark marks, some lip gloss, and I had grown my eyebrows and came to set like that. I walked into makeup and the artist was like, "Oh, you look perfect. I'm just gonna add a little bit of blush to add a little healthy glow and change the lip gloss to a lighter [one] that’s gonna match your lips a little more and you’re pretty much done." 

I would suggest exfoliating and moisturizing, which I really believe in, just to get that dewy fresh look. I rarely use foundation unless I'm trying to get a beat face [Ed.: "Beat face" refers to perfectly done makeup.] but on a day to day [basis], I won't wear makeup. If I'm gonna go outside and get some stuff, I'll put concealer on the smallest things and blend it very well. I also recommend getting Color Mash for concealers and foundations 'cause you can't really correct the wrong foundation or wrong concealer. Mascara is a girl’s best friend so if you like to wear mascara, that’s cool as well but I feel like less is more with that look.

On braided 'do
[The hair styling team] actually just braided my hair in two pigtails and braided the pigtails and wrapped them over the front of my head to create that crown.


@iamquvenzhane is now my honourary little sister ------

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On that time Beyonce used her shoes

I had heels on most of the time while I was filming and I took my shoes, which were basically some brown combat boots with a chunky heel from Guess by Marciano, on set. I love them. They’re my favorite shoes and go with everything. We were all just standing around, waiting for Beyonce and her dancers to finish filming a scene.

We were all just hanging out for the time being. One of the producers ran out, basically in a panic, looking for someone or something and kept asking, "Where’s the stylist? Where’s the stylist? Where’s the stylist?" And everyone started looking around like, "I don’t know. We just got here. We have no clue." [The producer] looked at me and down at my shoes and he’s like, "Where did you get those shoes?" And I was like, "Uh, from me?" He’s like, "No, which stylist gave you those shoes?" [I’m like], "No stylist gave them to me. They’re mine. I brought them. They belong to me. I own them." He started to walk away then looked back at me. I asked, "Why do you wanna know?" He said, "Well, they’re trying to finish this scene and Bey doesn’t have any shoes. Your shoes look exactly like all the dancer’s shoes."

I think the dancers were wearing black combat heel boots and mine were brown so I guess that would be fine since [Beyonce] would be the one to stand out any way. He was like, "Can we… you know…" And I was like, "Oh, god. Please. Can I get them back? They’re my favorite shoes." And he was like, "Yes." Dropped down to his knees, unzipped me out of my boots and ran with them. I was just here standing in my socks, like, "Okay, cool no biggie." 

So now I’m barefoot on set, standing there in front of [Beyonce's mom] Miss Tina and looking at her, like, this is kind of awkward. [Laughs] I had my outfits [for the shoot] so I just switched to the heels that were supposed to go with them. Hours had passed now and they finished wrapping that scene and I had not gotten my shoes back. So I start getting a bunch of assistants. Stylists came up to me, asking, "Can we please buy your shoes off of you? Can we replace them?" And I’m like, "Girl, listen." 

Beyonce Slays in Roberto Cavalli in 'Lemonade' HBO Special

The theme of my whole trip has been “anything for Beyonce,” like getting on a flight but I loved those shoes. Not that they’re like super expensive or anything but they go with every outfit. At one point, because her personal assistant and I had gotten so close, she came to me and was like, "Listen, we’ll do anything right now for continuity. Please." So I was like, "Ok, I’m gonna keep rolling with the “anything for Beyonce” [attitude] but if you can, can you please try to get those boots back to me? I know it’s gonna be a whirlwind but if you can hold onto those shoes and mail them back to me.’ She was like, "I’ll try my best." 

When I get back to my trailer, there was a brand new pair of patent leather Sergio Rossi [boots]. I couldn't be mad at that trade-off. She traded in her boots for mine. I went online and found my [Guess by Marciano] shoes any way so I still got to buy mine back plus a shoe that’s 10 times more expensive than mine. It’s definitely a win-win.