Winnie Harlow Just Got Off a Flight and Told Me the 5 Essentials in Her Carry-On

She knows best.

Winnie Harlow Just Got Off a Flight and Told Me the 5 Essentials in Her Carry-On

I like to refer to myself as an OG Winnie Harlow fan. From her start on America’s Next Top Model to the successful career she’s built on her own, something about her confidence, self-worth, and attitude has led me to look up to her for years. Harlow is most known for being a model but is, more importantly, the founder of a sun protection–focused skincare brand called Cay Skin and a spokesperson for the vitiligo community.

I’m always avidly following female entrepreneurs, so after hearing that she was speaking at Create & Cultivate, I had to hear what she had to say. Since I, unfortunately, couldn’t attend the panel IRL, I virtually pulled Harlow aside for a few questions. Since this conversation has passed, I’ve been thinking of the advice she gave me, so I had to share it with you all. It’s that good.

Is there anything you said when you spoke at the Create & Cultivate panel that you think every woman should know?

Any business you want to create, you have to believe in it first. It’s so easy to slap your name or your face on a product, but when you really, really believe in your product, it’s so much easier to go out and let other people believe in what you believe.

What inspired you to start your own skincare brand, and what do you think makes it different?

I was inspired to start my own skincare brand after a horrible experience on a photo shoot, where I was severely sunburnt when nobody wanted me to reapply sunscreen because of the white cast that would show up in the photos. Growing up with vitiligo, SPF was always a part of my life. It worked well but never looked or felt great! I created Cay Skin to give everyone under the sun SPFs that look and feel great so that you never want to skip your SPF.

Do you have any advice for staying calm and centered in such a hectic world?

I think it’s important to prioritize yourself and your mental health. But most importantly, make time for those you love. It’s in those moments that I feel the most grounded and recharged.

From modeling to running your own company, you juggle a lot. Do you have any time-management suggestions for other women balancing it all?

I would say the biggest suggestion I have for balancing it all would be to be wise with your yes. Not every opportunity is worth jumping on—it’s important to evaluate what aligns with your goals and direction the most and make decisions from that place. Focus your time and energy rather than saying yes to everything and leading to burnout.

Since you’re talking to Who What Wear, I can’t leave you without talking about fashion. What designers are speaking to you right now?  This beautiful dress is Carolina Herrera—obsessed! But I also love how Fendi is leading trends and how Telfar has challenged the fashion industry, making fashion accessible to everyone.

Which trends do you think will define your summer? The summer brings out my Caribbean side even more. I’m always in gold, bathing suits, and lots of color!

If you had to wear one outfit every single day, what would that be? Sweatpants, a tee, and sneakers—but make it cute!

If you’re catching a flight for a quick weekend trip and can only bring a carry-on, what five items would make the cut? Cell phone, the Cay collection bundle, my favorite Good American jeans, a swimsuit, and a Beats Pill.

If you could only fit one Cay Skin product in your purse, which would you bring everywhere with you? I love them all! They are my babies! But if I had to choose one it would be Isle Glow Face SPF 45 because your face always needs protection.

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