Redefining the Modern Supermodel

We have reinvented our Christies, our Naomis, our Kates, and our Tyras. We now have Gigi, Kendall, Jourdan, Karlie, and so on. Supermodels have once again become household names--people we recognize, admire, and increasingly identify with. They are back on the covers of magazines with corresponding interviews allowing us to get to know them. Models don’t simply have fame because they are an established celebrity-turned-model or a model trying to be a celebrity after gaining status. These women are being celebrated and praised because of their true modeling potential, once again affirming a new type of celebrity: a supermodel.

Social media has allowed for the new and developing model to substantiate a fanbase and receive immediate feedback. The personalized aspect of the platform has allowed for users to theoretically “get to know” these celebrities. What’s even better about this rising group of stars is that they all support one another, building each other up rather than tearing one another down.  

Karlie Kloss: beauty is intelligence

Karlie Kloss is well known for her long legs and Victoria’s Secret contract. However, she is also being recognized for her substantial efforts to acknowledge the lack of opportunities for careers in science for women through her Kode with Karlie scholarships. Young women who are chosen for this scholarship learn how to code and build apps with software engineers. Karlie proves it’s cool to be smart, teaching young girls to use their brains by applying themselves through STEM programs.

Cara Delevingne: beauty is different

Perhaps Cara Delevingne’s biggest claim to fame has been those fabulous eyebrows. While it may not seem that someone’s eyebrows could be so important, Cara will prove you wrong. Cara’s eyebrows marked a very big change in which thin, plucked to death brows were no longer a necessary requirement to be considered beautiful.

In addition, Cara has revealed her romantic relationship with female musician St. Vincent. While we have had representations of LBGTQ+ individuals in the public eye, Cara is an example of the more recent exposure to said individuals. Cara does not conform into the “butch,” or “masculine” lesbian stereotype which we have been so apt to expect. Being a feminine lesbian model is not so visible in today’s society, but Cara is an example of a supermodel who is breaking the mold of stereotypical views of what it means, and what it looks like, to be a lesbian celebrity.

Gigi Hadid: beauty is self-love

Gigi Hadid is both a Sports Illustrated model and Guess representative, yet she has still been criticized about her body by the media and the public. Recent criticism post-New York Fashion Week prompted Gigi to release a statement on Instagram in response. One of the most important lines reads: “Yes, I have boobs, I have abs, I have a butt, I have things, but I’m not asking for special treatment.”  She continues, “Your mean comments don’t make me want to change my body, they don’t make me want to say no to the designers that ask me to be in their shows, and they definitely don’t change the designers opinions of me.” Boom, enough said, cue the applause.

Jourdan Dunn: beauty is all colors

Although we have seen African-American supermodels in the past, the industry is still dominated by white women. Jourdan, however, is taking the fashion world by storm, all the while criticizing its underrepresentation of African-American women. She walked a Prada runway as the first black woman in more than a decade, and has also worked for big names like Balmain, Calvin Klein, DKNY, and John Galliano (just to name a few). She is also a teen single mother, showing that anyone can be successful if they have enough determination and drive. Oh, and by the way, according to Forbes, she is one of the current top-earning models!

Chrissy Teigen: beauty is appreciating food

While Chrissy Teigen’s claim to fame began with her work in Sports Illustrated, she has come to be acknowledged for so much more, such as being one of the few prominent Asian models in the industry. Even though Chrissy is frequently portrayed as a sex symbol, her Instagram is filled with recipes and photos of her eating.

Finally we see an attractive woman embracing just how much she loves food like the rest of us!  She is currently working on her cookbook which we can’t wait to get our hands on.  Her marriage with John Legend is serious #relationshipgoals and she truly seems like someone you could be best friends with. Her love of food and humor makes her just like any other twenty-something you know. And she just announced her pregnancy, a baby destined to follow in his/her parents gorgeous and talented footsteps. Congrats you two!

The formation of these supermodels has coincided with the twenty-two cycles of reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model.  

ANTM has been well-known for its extraordinary photoshoots, fierce runway shows, and, of course, a little bit of drama (cue the Tyra vs. Tiffany rant). Yet, it has been innovative in breaking the barrier between the illusive world of modeling and fashion and real life, so that us everyday viewers can understand and relate to these model-hopefuls. We have been shown such a range of individuals on the show, proving truly anyone could be a model if they really pursue it and work hard. Although Tyra has announced this is the last cycle of America’s Next Top Model (sob), the show has produced so many great inspirations.  

Some of the most memorable, unique contestants include:

Toccara Jones

Toccara was known as being the first plus-size model to grace the ranks of Top Model hopefuls. She entered the competition stating, “I’m big, black, beautiful, and loving it!”  Her self-love generated a tremendous amount of viewer love. Although she was eliminated, Toccara showed that her potential as a plus-size model equated to any of her traditionally thin competitors. Her potentially biggest accomplishment since ANTM has been her inclusion in Italian Vogue, proving the highest ideal of the business can celebrate plus-size beauty.

Chantelle Brown-Young 

Chantelle had, without a doubt, one of the most unique looks in ANTM history. Chantelle has the skin condition vitiligo, causing areas of the individual’s skin to lose its pigment, and therefore its color. Chantelle’s loss of pigment occurred almost perfectly symmetrically, giving her a unique quality. She was truly stunning, proving different looks should be embraced and celebrated. Since her elimination, Chantelle has had numerous campaigns, as well as walked in London Fashion Week and been featured on Vogue Italia’s website.  

Nyle DiMarco

Nyle is on the current cycle of ANTM, airing now. In addition to being on only the third cycle including men, Nyle is deaf. As well as absolutely slaying his photoshoots, Nyle has shown that he can be successful in both commercials and music videos. His dynamic personality outshines his deafness, opening up the modeling industry to a whole community of untapped potential. Besides being an incredible model, Nyle is also gorgeous and definitely a new celebrity crush.

Isis King

Isis was on two cycles of ANTM, featured as the only transgender contestant the show has had. Although we are seeing increasing representations of transgender individuals in mainstream culture, Isis first competed on the show in 2008, prior to the introduction of Laverne Cox or Caitlyn Jenner. Isis proved her own while competing next to the thirteen other girls. Isis has done numerous print campaigns since and also some acting work.


These talented people are ushering in a new era of supermodels, a new perception of what it means to be deemed attractive in today’s societies. Beauty is being recognized in all shapes, sizes, colors, gender identities, and so forth. The new generation of supermodels is made up of true role models.


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