Every day, the fashion world seeks to diversify and launch models of the most diverse ethnicities and with different bodies. The white and skinny pattern is no longer the only reality on catwalks, magazine editorials and famous brands (thankfully!). And to know the most influential black models today and who have already made history, check out the following list:
1. Naomi Campbell
One of the most famous and highest paid models in the world, Naomi Campbell was born in 1970 in England and has been in the fashion business for over 30 years. Naomi has also acted in films, series and music videos, her first public appearance being in the music video for Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’. At the age of 15, she signed her first contract as a model, being the first black woman to appear on the covers of French Vogue. You really deserve the title of supermodel, don’t you?
2. Grace Jones
Another iconic figure who opened doors for many black models, Grace Jones was born in 1948 and is one of the reference artists when it comes to androgynous style. In addition to being a supermodel, Grace is also consolidated as an actress and singer. A true chameleon, the artist created her own style impossible to go unnoticed.
3. Tyra Banks
One more supermodel to the list, Tyra Banks has already passed through several iconic fashion brands, such as Chanel and Dior. In addition to contracts with major brands and fashion shows in the hottest cities in the fashion world, Bakns is also the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show that seeks to launch new models on the market. It’s a lot of power!
4. Emanuela de Paula
11th highest paid model in the world in 2008, Emanuela de Paula is a great reference when it comes to Brazilian models. Involved in the fashion world since the age of 15, Paula has worked for brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Lacoste, Sephora and Colcci. She currently resides in New York and dedicates her time to her family and acting as a health coach.
5. Maria Borges
From Angola to the world, Maria Borges emerged in the fashion world as a contestant in the Elite Model Look Angola 2011, the biggest international model contest. Darlings of stylists such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford and Zac Posen, Maria also rocked the Victoria’s Secret catwalks, being the first black model to wear her natural hair in the lingerie show.
6. Duckie Thoth
One of today’s most beloved and famous models, Duckie Thot is proof that first place in a pageant doesn’t always take a person to stardom. A participant in Australia’s Next Top Model 2013, in which she placed third, Duckie impresses with her beauty and doll face. Despite her fame, the model claims to have already suffered a lot of prejudice on social media, being the target of racism for her afro hair.
7. Leomi Anderson
With a career already consolidated, Leomi Anderson was featured on the 2020 Forbes ’30 Under 30′ list in the Art and Culture category. Of Jamaican descent, the model was discovered at age 14 and hired at 17 for her first show by Marc Jacobs. In addition to being a model, the beauty is also an activist and has already given two TEDx talks and spoken at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge on racial discrimination in the fashion industry.
8. Mahany Pery
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Mahany Pery always had her parents’ support when it came to her career. Encouraged by her family to pursue her dreams, Mahany has already been present in shows in New York, London, Paris. The shaved hair is the trademark of the model, who has already had her face stamped for the Fenty Beauty campaign. Simply a hit!
9. Ellen Rose
With intense green eyes, Ellen Rosa is a young model from Minas Gerais who stands out among the trends in the fashion world. Organized by Mega Model Brasil, she has already modeled for brands such as Dior, Chanel and Prada! And do you think it stops there? Ellen was also the star of Miu Miu’s Summer 2017 campaign alongside the beloved Elle Fanning. And she’s just getting started, huh!
10. Rita Carreira
The first plus-size model to grace the cover of Vogue Brasil, Rita Carreira is a symbol of empowerment and inspiration for everyone. In 2010, she quit her job as a saleswoman to pursue her dream of being a model. At the time, Rita promised and fulfilled: “one day you will see me at São Paulo Fashion Week and on the cover of Vogue”, she prophesied. Today, she is also a digital influencer and supporter of the Free Body movement. Worth following on social media!
One of Way Model’s great bets, Iohany has already been present in fashion shows and campaigns on the other side of the world, in Japan. In Brazil, she was the subject of discussion at São Paulo Fashion Week and has worked for major national brands such as Animale, Água de Coco and Misci.
Another prominent name of the Way Model, Vivica is also a renowned athlete, having already been Brazilian under-16 champion, second best in Brazil under-18 and under-20. Discovered in 2020, in a short time the model has already graced the pages of Vogue, Elle and Glamour magazines. And her leaps into the fashion world are just beginning, write it down!
Anyone who is a fan of Louis Vuitton, surely knows this name: Janaye! The first model in history to open a fashion show for the brand, the young woman has been on the path of success since 2016, when she was discovered by a scout. Her beautiful face was on the cover of American Vogue in 2021. Want to follow Janaye’s life? So, check out the cat’s Instagram!
14. Winnie Harlow
Winnie Harlow is a Canadian model and reference when it comes to vitiligo. With more than 9 million followers on Instagram, Winnie uses her influence to raise awareness and minimize prejudice against the disease, which affects 1% of the world’s population. The model’s beauty has already earned her numerous partnerships and was present at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2018!
15. Diandra Forrest
Born in New York in 1989 Diandra Forrest is one of the most famous albino models today. Her career began with Elite Models NY, with Diandra being the first albino model to sign with one of the world’s leading modeling agencies. With a childhood marked by prejudice, the model is now a spokesperson for albino blacks!
16. Slick Woods
One of Rihanna and Kanye West’s favorite models, Slick Woods has a reverent style that draws the attention of the most diverse brands. Before breaking into the fashion world, Slick lived on the streets of Los Angeles and was discovered by fellow model Ash Stymest. She became well-known after going into labor after parading at a Savage x Fenty event in 2018. Be sure to follow this icon on social media!
17. Jillian Market
Of Dominican descent, Jillian Mercado was diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy when she was still a child and today she is one of the few professional models with physical disabilities who are on the runway and are on the rise in the fashion industry. The cat emerges as one of the great bets of the fashion world and appeared in editorials of Glamor and Cosmopolitan magazines in 2016!
18. Precious Lee
Ten years into the fashion market, Precious Lee had his late rise, but today he is one of the most recognizable faces on catwalks, magazines and editorials. The plus size model paraded for Versace and likes to point out that it came through the hands of the iconic Donatella Versace. In her social media and interviews, Precious defends representation and inclusion in the industry, which still needs to grow a lot when it comes to fat models.
19. Adut Akech Bior
Born in 1999 in Sudan, Adut Akech Bior went through several refugee camps and is now a hotly contested star in the fashion world. In 2016, she was chosen as the exclusive model for designer Anthony Vaccarello’s debut at Yves Saint Laurent. In 2021, the top became a world ambassador for the Estée Lauder brand!
20. Anok Yai
The first black model to open the Prada show in 20 years, Anok Yai is making waves. Born in Egypt and based in the USA since the age of two, Anok was discovered by chance, after a photographer took a photo of the streetstyle beauty. The new face was present on the catwalks of Saint Laurent, Marni and Jacquemus. It’s not for anyone!
To accompany the work of black models is to give voice and space for these professionals to continue in sommelier and conquer the fashion market! Enjoy and also check out this amazing article about 17 black women for you to meet and be inspired by.
With Knowledge Comes Wisdom
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