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Image Source: Getty / Mike Marsland / WireImage

Winnie Harlow is reclaiming her power this Halloween. On Oct. 31, the model dressed as Cruella de Vil from Disney’s classic “101 Dalmatians” movie. From the dual-tone bouffant to her wickedly sharp eyeliner, Harlow nailed the villainous look. This year, however, the black-and-white ensemble was more than just a nostalgic pop culture costume. On Instagram, Harlow revealed her costume choice was inspired by her childhood bullies, who often teased her about her vitiligo, a skin condition that affects the melanin in certain areas of the skin.

“THIS Halloween is really dedicated to little Winnie.”

“Growing up I got teased a lot for my skin,” Harlow said. “I got called everything you already know.. and Dalmatian. That really got to me when I was little. So much so that I realized I had a bit of disdain for the film as a child.” Though Harlow disliked the film as a result of the teasing she endured, she later gave it a chance and found that, in watching the beloved movie, she’d rediscovered a part of herself.

“Years later, out of the affect of childhood bullies and into someone who appreciates film, all things CAMP and of course puppies.. I realized how much I missed out with 101 Dalmatians as a child based on the words of bullies,” she continued. “I pray no child misses out because of the words of others! You’re perfect just the way you are. This and so many others are dream roles to me to act and it was a pleasure grasping the iconic @glennclose as CRUELLA DEVILLE. I want a Dalmatian now.”

Harlow went on to dedicate the stunning costume, created by Los Angeles-based designer Da Shoné and photographed by Jamie Bruce, to her younger self and all she’s experienced to achieve the level of self-love she has today. “THIS Halloween is really dedicated to little Winnie,” Harlow said. “Taking her lemons and turning them into lemonade. The things that used to give her trauma. And the small things that helped push further. Confidence.”

In the past, Harlow has been open about her vitiligo and how she does not let the skin condition define her. Since competing in “America’s Next Top Model” in 2014, the model turned entrepreneur has even launched a sunscreen-centric beauty brand called Cay Skin. Inspired by her personal experience with vitiligo and a “traumatic experience” during a modeling job, the brand prioritizes sun care and confidence in one’s own skin.

While Cruella de Vil is a common Halloween costume, there is a unique beauty in Harlow overcoming her negative associations with the film and turning them into a moment that brings her joy. Traditionally, dressing up on Halloween is a way to step outside of your comfort zone. In this outfit, Harlow was able to channel Glenn Close – who popularized the role of Cruella de Vil, also portrayed by Emma Stone in 2021 – and embody a stronger, more self-assured version of herself.

For Harlow, this Cruella de Vil costume will require more than a few makeup wipes to remove, because the most unforgettable part of her costume is a newfound confidence that can’t be shaken.

Ahead, admire Harlow’s gorgeous Cruella de Vil costume from all angles.

Winnie Harlow’s Cruella de Vil Halloween Costume