The fashion industry has been notoriously undiverse in the past, but recent bounds towards inclusivity means black models are finally capable of getting the popularity, success and opportunities they deserve on the runway. Here, we take a look at some of the top black fashion models in the industry.
1. Adut Akech
Adut Akech is a 21-year-old South Sudanese-Australian model. She was scouted multiple times as a young teenager but started her career at 16 when she signed to Chadwick Models and made her fashion week runway debut in the Saint Laurent S/S 17 show.
She then went on to close both their F/W 17 and S/S 18 shows as an exclusive, signing to Elite Model Management in Paris and securing her place as one of the most popular black fashion models in 2020.
2. Naomi Campbell
Naomi was one of the “super 6”, a group of models in the 90’s thought of as the first supermodels.
She first came into the limelight in her early teens as a dancer. She was soon noticed for her beauty and graced the cover of Elle magazine just before her 16th birthday. Her career exploded and she is still to this day thought of as one of the biggest and most successful supermodels to date.
3. Jourdan Dunn
Jourdan is an English model and actress who is considered to be one of this generation’s top supermodels. She was scouted at the age of 15 whilst shopping with a friend in a London Primark and was quickly signed to Storm Management.
Since then, Jourdan has walked many runways and featured on the covers of many Vogues including British, America, Turkey, Japan and Brazil. She has walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and featured in a campaign with Maybelline New York.
Iman is a former fashion model and was discovered whilst at university. She promptly moved to America to pursue her career.
Her first modelling job was for Vogue. She soon became extremely popular and was a muse for Versace, Halston, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Yves Saint Laurent.
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5. Winnie Harlow
Winnie Harlow got her big break after featuring on the 21st cycle of America’s Next Top Model. Following her elimination from the show, she became the first brand representative for the Spanish clothing brand Desigual. She then shot for Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines and was featured on Vogue Italia’s website.
She has modelled for brands including Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Dior and Tommy Hilfiger and in 2018 she modelled for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She is a regular public speaker about her skin condition, Vitiligo.
6. Beverly Johnson
In 1974, Beverly Johnson rose to fame when she became the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue. She is considered to be one of the most influential people in fashion and has graced more than 500 magazine covers.
She has also written several books and branched out into acting.
7. Slick Woods
Slick is am American model known for her bald head, tattoos and tooth gap. At 24, she has already had a successful career. She was discovered by male model Ash Stymest and has gone on to do campaigns with Calvin Klein and Moschino.
She is one of the faces Fenty Beauty, Rihanna‘s make-up brand.
8. Tyra Banks
Tyra began her modelling career aged 15 and went on to be the first woman of African-American descent to feature on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
She was a Victoria’s Secret Angel for several years and was one of the world’s top-earning models. Since then, she created the popular TV show America’s Next Top Model and has authored a book called Modelland. She has also created a model-orientated theme park in Santa Monica.
9. Jasmine Tookes
Jasmine is an American model. Her mother is a celebrity fashion stylist and Jasmine was discovered at one of her mother’s showroom appointments.
As well as being a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Jasmine has worked for Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Moschino and Ralph Lauren.
10. Leomie Anderson
Leomie is an English model and designer and started her modelling career in 2010. After auditioning 3 times she was finally accepted to model in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Since then, she has become one of the faces of the Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath‘s make-up lines. She has also launched her own clothing line.
11. Veronica Webb
Veronica is famous for being the first African-American model to have a major cosmetics contract.
After a makeup artist saw her in a housewares boutique, she dropped out of school to become a model.
She has worked for Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Vogue, Revlon and Todd Oldham.
12. Grace Jones
Jamaican model Grace Jones is most famous for her incredible music career, but she is also well-known for her fashion sense and her work as a model. Beginning her modelling career in New York, she then moved to Paris and was – and remains – well-known for her androgynous appearance.
Grace Jones has a very unique make-up and fashion style. She has also had a successful acting career and was a Bond girl in the James Bond film ‘A View to Kill’.
Rihanna may be a singer by trade but she has also had a big impact on the fashion world. She launched her own fashion brand, Fenty, and an underwear line called Savage X Fenty. She hires many diverse models and has been applauded for the amount of diversity she has introduced into the industry.
14. Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna is an American model from the late 60s. She was thought of as the world’s first black supermodel and was the first African-American model to appear on the cover of British Vogue.
She was a cover girl 11 times and paved the way for future black fashion models to find success in the modelling industry.
15. Tyson Beckford
Beckford was discovered in New York city and was named ‘Man of the Year’ in 1995 by VH1. He was the first black model to sign an exclusive contract with Ralph Lauren.
He is considered to be the most successful black model of all time and has expanded his career by featuring on multiple TV shows including America’s Next Top Model and the American version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.
Who is the Highest-Paid Black Model?
Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks are thought to be the richest black female supermodels. Their careers have spanned decades and they have branched out into other industries including music and TV.
The most successful black male model is thought to be Tyson Beckford. He received huge contracts during the 90’s and was as popular as the top female supermodels of the time. His TV appearances have kept him on the radar and he has featured on many TV shows and music videos.