Fashion is always changing, but there have been a few things that have remained constant. Like the amount of diversity on the catwalk. Although the runways have always been stocked with women of fairer skin tones, there have been a number of black women who have stood out of the crowd. Not only have these women broken and set trends, they have paved the way for future models.
Check out our list of our favorite supermodels of yesterday and today.
If there’s one model that made waves for her future black counterparts, it was definitely Beverly Johnson. During her college career, she began working with Glamour magazine and her career took off. Throughout her career, Beverly Johnson appeared on over 500 magazine covers including Cosmo, Glamour, Elle, and Essence. Even though she has these entire magazines in her roster, she is most known for being the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974.
Another woman known for her work is Iman, the Somali model. Similar to the story of Beverly Johnson, Iman was discovered while attending University. Iman has been featured on the cover of magazines like Vanity Fair, Elle, and Italian Vogue. She has worked very closely with high end designers like Yves Saint-Laurent, Gianni Versace, and Donna Karan. Since her work as a supermodel, she has continued to benefit black woman by creating her own makeup line, Iman Cosmetics. The line is specifically created for women with deeper skin tones who may have trouble finding makeup.
The one model that took over the world during the late 80s and early 90s goes by one name, and that’s Naomi Campbell. Unlike Beverly Johnson and Iman, Campbell was recruited at the young age of 15 and she soon hit the catwalk for high-end designers like Versace. The British model was the first to appear on the cover of French Vogue and in the year after, she appeared on the cover of American Vogue. Since then, Campbell has done a lot of print work, appearing on more covers of Vogue as well as gracing the covers of Essence, Interview, and Time.
Similar to the start of Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks got her start in modeling at the age of 15. With an impressive roster of magazines she has been featured in, Tyra Banks’ face has graced the covers of Cosmo, French Vogue, and Elle. If this seems impressive, she has also hit the catwalk for designers like Chanel, Donna Karan, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Givenchy. Tyra Banks is known for being the first black woman to be featured on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Since her time as a supermodel, Tyra Banks’ also created and executive produced America’s Next Top Model which lasted for 22 seasons.
Due to an opportunity from a former supermodel, Eva Marcille was able to get her start into modeling. Appearing on the third season of Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model, Eva Marcille won the season and immediately got a CoverGirl contract and a spread in Elle. Although Marcille hasn’t done much modeling in recent years, since her win, she appeared on the covers of Essence and Women’s Health and Fitness while her archived works also include DKNY and Star Magazine.
Getting her start a younger age than all of the women on our list, Chanel Iman began her modeling career at the young age of 12. Not only has she appeared in Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, and Italian Vanity Fair but she has a long line of catwalk experience with many brands. Some of these high end brands include Hugo Boss, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace. She has also been seen in a number of ad campaigns for J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria’s Secret and appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show from 2009 to 2011.
Jourdan Dunn got her start at age 16 and was quick to make a name for herself by appearing in New York fashion week shows for Polo Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs. Since her start in 2007, she has appeared on an impressive number of magazine covers like Vogue in the United States, the U.K., Brazil, and Japan. She has done ad campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Neiman Marcus,, Calvin Klein, and more recently, Balmain.
With the shortest career of anyone on this list, Jasmine Tookes started her modeling career in 2010 with ad campaigns for Ugg boots and Gap. Since her start, Tookes has worked other advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Lancome. Although she has hit the catwalk for Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Vera Wang, Dolce & Gabbana, and Moschino, she is probably most known for her work on the Victoria’s Secret runway. In 2012, Jasmine Tokes was chosen for the first time to appear in the show. More recently, she appeared in the 2016 show wearing the $3 million fantasy bra.
With all these beautiful black women, we can only hope that the fashion world gets with the picture. Their small amount of diversity isn’t enough and why should it be when there are tons of beautiful and talented women of color ready to step on the catwalk?
In the comments, let us know who your favorite model is!