Life

Model confronts flaws

Rosalyn Solomon, QMI Agency
Stacey McKenzie. (HO)

Stacey McKenzie. (HO)

From runway model to role model, Stacey McKenzie is wearing many different hats these days - and they're not all designer.

McKenzie has been modelling for 15 years now, and has enjoyed the successes of the industry and the rejection. But with all her experience, it's taken her almost a decade to speak out about one health issue she's tried to hide in an industry where, many times looks are everything - psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, which can appear as red patches, or rashes on the skin's surface.

"It's been one thing in my life that I never put out there because I was actually embarrassed by it and I was afraid I would lose out on a lot of job opportunities like I've had in the past," says McKenzie who has a milder form called, plaques psoriasis.

"I'm speaking about it now because I want people to be aware of it and also we are not all perfect - we all have flaws, but it's all about what you're going to do with that flaw, you're either going to own that flaw or you're going to let it control, or own you and I'm not going to let psoriasis own me."

October being Psoriasis Awareness Month, the super model and former Canada's Next Top Model judge and coach has been touring Canada with Psoriasis Connections, sharing her experience and helping others find more information on the condition.

Finding beauty on the outside, is just one side of the story for McKenzie, as she helps aspiring models and other young people build confidence and learn more about the modelling industry with her own business, Walk This Way Workshops, which will be touring across Canada next year.

And, because of her work both on and off the catwalk, McKenzie was asked to speak at the Teen Vogue Fashion University in the U.S. next weekend, alongside fashion big names such as Vera Wang, Anna Wintour and Jason Wu.

"I'm so honoured, to be speaking at the Fashion University, I think it's important for me to give back because I'm not the conventional beauty and I was always told I couldn't do what I wanted to do, but I was given the opportunity to be in this business for a reason," said McKenzie.

"I think I'm in this business to show others, 'Listen, we are all beautiful in our own way and we all got our own things going on and there's a place for everybody.'"

Apart from her speaking and business engagements, McKenzie, says there's still work to be done as a model and although she's worked with several big names such as Jean Paul Gautier, Christian Lacroix and appeared in ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Mexx and MAC Cosmetics, McKenzie still has aspirations to work with two fashion greats, Jean Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld.

For more information on psoriasis, visit psoriasisconnections.ca