Fashion itself is an industry based in art and media, and within this industry, models have been one of the greatest contributors to the culture of the field. Models are not only those we look at to view how to wear clothes, but also how to be confident and break barriers that society has created. These are the top 10 most influential black supermodels of 2018, who show others how they are using their beauty to bring diversity and break the norms of the fashion industry.
1. Anais Mali
Anais Mali has appeared in numerous shows and editorials since the start of her career in 2009. She has been successfully working through various modeling agencies such as DNA Models, Next New York, Next Paris, Next Milan, and Next London. She has graced the covers of Vogue Ukraine, L’Officiel, Bal Harbour, and Glamour. Anais often rocks her natural curls in shoots, never fearing to showcase a bold look. She recently appeared in the Weeknd’s music video, “Mania.” By embracing her natural texture, she continues to show the industry how to embrace diversity.
2. Zuri Tibby
Discovered at a mall a few short years ago, Zuri Tibby has quickly gained popularity and made a name for herself in the modeling industry. She began doing editorial spreads and walking in shows. She appeared in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show for the first time this fall as a model for Pink. Zuri recently became a major influence, as she was announced the first black model to be the face of Victoria’s Secret Pink. A major image for diversity in modelling, it is clear how Zuri is quickly taking the industry by storm.
3. Jourdan Dunn
With nearly 2 million Instagram followers, it is clear Jourdan Dunn holds a major influence in the world of fashion. She was discovered at the age of 16 in a Primark at her home in the United Kingdom. Since then, she has been seen gracing the covers of Vogue and Elle in numerous countries, in addition to Manifesto and W. Jourdan has done advertising for major companies such as Maybelline, H&M, Kate Spade and Express. Additionally, she has walked in fashion shows for almost every major designer, including Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Moschino, Balmain, and Lanvin. Jordan has become a major influence in the fashion industry and continues to showcase her talent all over the world.
4. Leomie Anderson
British model Leomie Anderson has been in numerous fashion shows for big-name designers, in addition to appearing in a large number of magazines for editorial shoots. She recently made a huge impact in the industry when she appeared on Good Morning Britain, advising underage girls not to send pictures of them in their underwear. While many people claimed she was a hypocrite for saying this as she appeared twice in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and has done other shoots in lingerie, she argues that these events were contracted and she knew who would see the pictures. Leomie says it is different because she is a consenting adult, and knows the images are going to be publicised, while underage girls often send pictures of themselves without knowing who could potentially see them. Although some people argue she was being hypocritical, it is clear that she is using her fame to help others and be a positive role model for young girls.
5. Naomi Campbell
Since she was first discovered in 1985, Naomi Campbell has dominated the fashion industry and been a major household name. The first black model to cover British Vogue and Vogue Paris, she revolutionized modeling for women of color. She has been on the pages of Vogue in 15 different countries, and was named the editor-at-large for Interview in Germany and Russia. Naomi modelled as a part of the “Knot on My Planet” campaign, an attempt to end the hunting of elephants and the ivory war. Over the last several decades, she has maintained a high influence in the modelling industry and continues to be a positive figure.
6. Winnie Harlow
Winnie Harlow began her modelling career on America’s Next Top Model, and shortly after leaving the show became a brand representative for the label Desigual. Growing up, Winnie often was bullied and made fun of for having vitiligo, a condition which causes her to have lighter patches on of skin on her body. Winnie has continued to show confidence and beauty on the runway and various magazine companies, working to show confidence and beauty and not allowing her condition to define or stop her. She uses her work to empower others and show diversity, and continues to break the industry standards of perfection.
7. Jasmine Tookes
Although she began modelling for Ugg and Gap, Jasmine Tookes has quickly grown into a model icon, working the covers of various magazines and strutting high-fashion designer runways. She began modelling for Victoria’s Secret back in 2012, and has since become one of the world’s favourite Angels. This year, she was the first black model to rock the infamous “Fantasy Bra,” valued at $3 million. Images of her modelling the beautiful jaded brassiere broke the internet when stretch marks showed on her sides, drawing praise from all over the internet. Women are admiring Jasmine for embracing her body, showing perfection is imperfect by working her natural beauty.
8. Deddeh Howard
Deddeh Howard recently broke the internet when she shattered modeling standards, recreating images from companies like Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, and Calvin Klein. She recreated images from brands that primarily showcase white models in a project called “Black Mirror,” showing beauty is not confined by a person’s skin color. After being rejected by numerous agencies that said they loved her look but already had a black model and didn’t need another to represent them, she decided to crush industry standards and show the need for diversity in the fashion world.
9. Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks became a leading international fashion model and the first black woman to land on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.Banks has continued to expand her business interests, launching her own cosmetics line in 2014.She is the first African-American to grace the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and become a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
10. María Borges
Maria Borges has been in runway shows for nearly every big name designer, but one of her biggest claims is walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for four consecutive years. In 2015, her third year of walking, Maria decided to ditch the typical extensions many models wear and be the first colored model to rock her natural hair in the fashion show. She received high praise for embracing her natural afro and said it was a very exciting moment for her to experience. She walked with natural hair again this year along with two other models, and again received enormous support. María continues to show the world that beauty does not have just one standard and embracing natural features is confident and sexy.
It is without a doubt that these 10 women have used their grace and confidence to bring diversity to the fashion industry. They step outside of the box, not afraid to shatter standards that have been created. These women use their voices to shape fashion and influence the industry toward a more diversified culture, never failing to make an impact on the world around them.