Kyle Kuzma caught a lot of heat on social media following the Los Angeles Lakers’ early exit from the 2021 NBA Playoffs. But Kuzma should have no problem laughing at all the fan vitriol targeted at him online. If you’re getting comforted by a fashion model with a following that’s probably larger than the entire fanbase of a small-market NBA team, we think that you’re going to be just fine amid the social media hatred. Who’s the model we’re talking about? Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the woman that makes Kuzma feel like he’s the luckiest man on the planet despite once averaging just 6.3 points in 21.6 minutes per game for an entire playoffs series: Winnie Harlow.
Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend: Winnie Harlow
Unlike some other girlfriends or wives of other NBA players, Winnie Harlow doesn’t need the clout of a professional athlete partner to send people searching her on Instagram and clicking follow. With or without Kuzma, Harlow is already a massive celebrity in her own right.
But before Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend became super famous, Harlow endured a tough childhood. Harlow, whose real name is Chantelle Whitney Brown-Young, was born in Greater Toronto Area on July 27, 1994. Four years, she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a non-life-threatening condition that causes discoloration of the skin. Because of her condition’s nature, she went through years of verbal abuse growing up from children in school.
In a 2014 story on The Jamaica Gleaner, Harlow revealed that the bullying had her thinking of suicide.
“While growing up, I was teased, ridiculed and bullied and called names like cow, zebra and all manner of other disparaging slurs”, the beauty revealed via a video recording prior to the media blackout. “The continuous harassment and the despair that it brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanising that I wanted to kill myself”, she disclosed.
Eventually, Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend was forced to quit high school, though that decision felt incredibly liberating for her, as she recounted in an interview with Zahra Jamshed of CNN:
“[Dropping out of high school] was possibly the best thing that could have happened, because I found a rejuvenated sense of self. I learned to love who I am despite what anyone would say about or to me. This gave me the courage to really stand up to anyone or any obstacle in my life.”
After she decided to stop going to school, Harlow got a job at a call center while at the same time trying to make progress in achieving her dream to become a model. She revealed in the CNN interview that modeling wasn’t really something she dreamed of, but a photographer managed to convince her to try her hand on it.
“I actually wanted to be an entertainment journalist. I started pursuing modeling after I had an interview with a Toronto Photographer, Shannon Boodram, and she encouraged me to continue pushing. From there I started to build myself up by leveraging social media.”
It all paid off big time for Harlow. Her huge break happened when she caught the eye of supermodel Tyra Banks on Instagram. Banks noticed Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend when the latter asked her followers on social media to tag the former.
From there, Harlow got a message from the producers of America’s Next Top Model. Later on, ended up being part of the 21st season of the popular fashion show in 2014. If you’re wondering what Kyle Kuzma was doing at the time, the future Laker was in just his first year with the Utah Utes.
The path to her eventual stardom certainly wasn’t a smooth one, as she had to contend in the cutthroat world of modeling with a condition considered unusual in the field. But Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend found a way to stand out simply by fully embracing herself, bearing an image of a carefree uber-confident individual that plenty others could relate to.
And to all those who made Harlow’s childhood a bitter one, she can all tell them that she’s made it in the real world. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Harlow has a net worth of $3 million and has been a frequent subject by some of the biggest mainstream publications like Complex and Cosmopolitan.
So when did Harlow and Kuzma met — and how? The couple had their pictures posted by TMZ in May 2020. In an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Harlow said that Kuzma reached out to her via a DM (h/t TMZ Sports).
“A year later, at the top of quarantine, he DMed me again. He posted a picture of me in an outfit and I was like, ‘Oh, hi!’ … and he shot his shot. He slid into the DMs. That was cute, and I was like, ‘Oh hey, how’s quarantine been?'”
Kyle Kuzma has missed lots of shots in the NBA, but this is something he made sure he won’t brick.
Kyle Kuzma has undergone positive changes over the past year 👊 pic.twitter.com/5nyx48QZVj
— LakeShow (@LakeShowCP) March 12, 2021
So there you have it. Kyle Kuzma’s girlfriend Winnie Harlow is a great person and we can only hope that their relationship will last longer than all the runways in the world put together.