I'm sad I don't get to hang out with gorgeous model Winnie Harlow and successful businesswoman, mother, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian. The two looked like they were having a great time together in the Instagram pic that Winnie uploaded yesterday from the CFDA Awards, where Kardashian was awarded the 2018 Influencer Award. Both were laughing, (Winnie managing to look fab with her tongue out) and it was a happy, relaxed picture. However, the picture didn't pass without comment, with British model Adwoa Aboah's comment on Winnie Harlow's Kim Kardashian post raising yet another debate around the American star and her career.
Winnie captioned the image with a supportive and powerful message: "One of the realist and most down to earth people in any industry I’ve ever been around, I always Love being around you. Thank you for being you. If anyone understands not initially being accepted in an industry you adore like I do, it’s you! And now the Influencer Award at the @cfda ‘s?!? No one can ever take that away from you! Keep inspiring woman around the world to be themselves Unapologetically. Against every naysayer you’re you and i adore your strength 🙏🏽❤️ love you @kimkardashian Congratulations!"
So far, so nice, and a great example of women in a challenging industry supporting each other and celebrating their achievements. However, British fashion model Adwoa Aboah was having none of it, throwing Kim K some serious shade.
"Is this a joke babe...In what world has she inspired women to be themseves? She is no icon nor an influencer and I find it completely crazy that anyone would think she was," Adwoa wrote in the comments.
This feels seriously, seriously harsh, for a few reasons. To say Kim hasn't inspired women completely ignores the millions of fans she has. For many of these fans, her "my body, my choice" attitude is downright empowering, while her lucrative business empire (Kim has a make-up line, a fragrance, and a video game, to name but a few) is proof that you can do whatever you put your mind to. She has also changed the reality TV game and supported causes such as remembering the Armenian Genocide, according to Vanity Fair.
As for not being an influencer — Kim has 60.1 million followers on Twitter and 112 million on Instagram. Anything she sends out on social media has the capacity to reach that many people, and any interview she gives or any one of her TV show reaches more. To deny that she is wielding serious influence seems almost ridiculous, and unfair to a woman who has created an empire, and a serious fortune for herself.
But don't worry, Kim K fans, (myself included) because Winnie jumped straight to her friend's defence. "We've all been up against all kinds in these industries. I may not agree with everything Anyone does but i show love where i feel its due. And a woman being herself against everything is admirable. Ive done dumb things and learned to correct because we're all human. Im still beat up for things and i understand how it feels. I do think she inspires others to be themselves...maybe I just want to see the best in people. there are negatives to everything but... she's a great human being," Winnie wrote.
To which we say... YASSSS, Winnie. It's not about whether Adwoa personally loves Kim. She is totally entitled to her point of view. It's about acknowledging that Kim's done some important, good work, and it's about women commending other women for the positives rather than tearing them down over any perceived insufficiencies. In an industry where women are bashed constantly, a little bit of empathy and support can go a long way. Not only is Kim Kardashian a mother and entrepreneur, she's just a person trying to do her best, and nasty comments don't help anything.
The comments left fans divided, with some supporting Kim and others defending Adwoa. I say, live and let live. In a post-Weinstein world, what is clearer than ever is that no-one knows the secret struggles women go through to get where they are, and tearing each other down is the last thing anyone needs. Just as Kim inspires lots of girls, so does Adwoa, and sending nasty personal comments is surely not the best use of our energy.