27 Top Black Models Winning in the Fashion Industry, #BLACKGIRLMAGIC
Black models have long been victims of discrimination in the fashion industry. For much of the 20th century, diversity in fashion was essentially nonexistent. However, several black models found a way to break through the adversity. In 1950, Dorothea Towles crosses paths with Christian Dior while on vacation in Paris. The 27-year-old goes on to become the first top black model to work in Paris. Eventually, she becomes one of the most successful models of her ear. Almost two decades later, Donyale Luna emerges eventually becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue.
The following two decades welcome legends like Pat Cleveland, Beverly Johnson, Grace Jones, and Iman. There had never before been so many representations of black beauty amongst models. Soon after, a group of young black models including Naomi Campbell emerge and then Tyra Banks. We we’re now in the era of the 90s supermodel. For once, black models, begin to exist on a somewhat even playing field. The industry’s growing interest in black beauty soon diversifies further. South Sudanese model, Alek Wek, enters the scene and forever changes the beauty standards for black models. During this time, we meet new faces like Kiara Kabukuru and Selita Ebanks. However, as the glamour of the 1990s supermodel era begins to fade, black models also lose momentum.
As of late, the outlook for black models in fashion is changing. Thanks to initiatives like Beth-Ann Hardison and Naomi Campbell’s “Black Models” projects, the industry is finally listening. From new trending names like Imaan Hammam to Riley Montana and Adwoa Aboah, black models are once again re-defining beauty. Most importanly, on their own terms. Keep reading below for our definitive list of 27 top black models representing a new era of #blackgirlmagic.
Parisian beauty Aya Jones began her career with one of the most lucrative brands in fashion, Prada. She hasn’t looked back since. You can keep up with model Aya Jones on her official Instagram.
With an undeniable editorial appeal, Binx Walton has become a regular face on the catwalk and in the pages fashion magazines. You can keep up with model Binx Walton on her official Instagram.
Half-Egyptian, half-Nigerian model Imaan Hamman is a unique beauty. Born in Amsterdam,Netherlands, Hamman represents a new era of what black models can be. You can keep up with model Imaan Hamman on her official Instagram.
Martinique born model Karly Loyce is fast becoming one of the most talked about faces of the moment. Critics are equally impressed with her fashion sense and street style, too. You can keep up with model Karly Loyce on her official Instagram.
Kayla Scott is one of those rare girls with true supermodel potential. So far,the unique beauty has worked with Balmain and appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia. You can keep up with model Kayla Scott on her official Instagram.
It’s hard to ignore Dominican model Lineisy Montero. Entering the scene with a SS/16 runway debut with Prada, Montero is the “it girl” of the moment. You can keep up with model Lineisy Montero on her Instagram.
Kenyan-born British model Malaika Firth is a breakout star. She’s already been nominated for Model of the Year in addition to starring on covers of British Vogue, Elle France and Vogue Japan. You can keep up with Malaika Firth on Instagram.
Detroit bred fashion model Riley Montana has fought her way to the top. The 25 year-old went from working a handful of odd jobs at places like Popeyes, Claire’s and RadioShack to fronting a Givenchy campaign. See more photos on Riley Montana Instagram
Jamaican model Tami Williams is following in the footsteps of another very famous islander, Naomi Campbell. The young catwalk starlet can be seen on the runways of Chanel, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, and Emilio Pucci. You can keep up with model Tami Williams on Instagram.
Africa’s Next Top Model winner Aamito Lagum is a one-of-a-kind beauty. It’s no surprise that editorial success has followed her. In addition to stomping the runway, Aamito has appeared in a Marc Jacobs campaign and recently covered the Allure’s diversity issue alongside black models like Imaan Hammam. You can keep up with model Aamito Lagum on Instagram.
British model Adwoah Aboah makes quite the first impression. The mixed Ghanian beauty has already starred on three Vogue covers, in 2017.You can keep up with model Adwoa Aboah on Instagram.
Angolan model Amilna Estevao is a designer’s dream girl. So far her flawless features have earned her contracts with cosmetics giant MAC and luxury brand Tom Ford. You can keep up with model Amilna Estevao on Instagram.
Born in Belgian, Burundian fashion moodel Leila Nda is much more than a beautiful face. Leila is also former miss Miss Union Africaine 6ème région. She now adds the distinction of Gucci campaign model and Harpers Bazaar cover girl to her accomplishments.You can keep up with model Leila Nda Instagram
Counting Yeezy as her debut show, Georgia girl Londone Meyers took the industry by storm. It wasn’t long before she caught the attention of Yves Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane. That season, Meyers became a Saint Laurent exclusive. You can keep up with model Londone Myers on Instagram.
Poppy Okotcha isn’t just a black model. Born in the UK and then moving to Johannesburg, South Africa, Okotcha is an international beauty. Although still new to the industry, the British model is already a Rimmel London girl. You can keep up with modelPoppy Okotcha Instagram.
Louisiana born, southern tomboy Selena Forrest doesn’t follow the rules, she’s making her own. With a signature walk, and unique attitude, she’s one of the leading black models of the moment. Her face can be seen fronting campaigns for brands ranging from Calvin Klein and YSL to Proenza Schouler. You can keep up with model Selena Forrest on Instagram.
Dutch-Surinamese model Yasmin Wijnaldum entered the industry as a Prada girl and isn’t lowering her standards. Her resume includes covers of i-D, Dazed, Vogue Japan and Vogue China. Yasmin is also proving to be a face that sells. She can be seen starring in fashion campaigns names like Prada, Coach, Givenchy, and Tom Ford. You can keep up with model Yasmin Wijnaldum Instagram.
English born Jamaican model Jourdan Dunn is a certified supermodel. Discovered at the age of 16, Dunn continues to break barriers for black models. Jourdan Dunn was named one of the Top Earning Models by Forbes, becoming the first black model to make the list. The Maybelline girl is also already on the Models.com New Supers list alongside names like Karlie Kloss and Andriana Lima. You can keep up with model Jourdan Dunn Instagram.
Puerto Rican fashion model Joan Smalls’ celebrity status reaches far beyond modeling. Alongside her 67 magazine covers and 83 fashion campaigns, the natural beauty has attracted the attention of several famous entertainers. Joan Smalls can be seen in Beyonce’s “Yonce” music video as well as Kanye West’s “Wolves” music video. You can keep up with model Joan Smalls Instagram.
With a diplomat as a mother, Tanzanian model Herieth Paul knows a thing or two about diplomacy. You can see her flawless face fronting campaigns for the likes of Maybelline and Sephora. You can keep up with model Herieth Paul Instagram.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, half-Korean, half-African American model Chanel Iman began working with Ford models at age 12. Since then she’s become most well know for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Model. However, Chanel Iman still books plenty of high-fashion work. She’s a repeat face for brands like DKNY and magazines including Harper’s Bazaar. You can keep up with model Chanel Iman Instagram.
California born model Jasmin Tookes began modeling at the age of 15. She was an instant commercial success booking campaigns for brands like GAP. Tookes soon earned her entry into high-fashion going on to star in campaigns for DKNY and walk the runways of Prada. However, it is her work as a Victoria’s Secret model that elevated Jasmin Tookes to her current high-earners status. You can keep up with model Jasmine Tookes Instagram.
Brazilian bombshell Lais Ribeiro is the new girl of fashion dreams. Entering the modeling scene in 2009, Lais goes on to become the most booked model of the Spring/Summer 2011 collections with a total of 53 fashion shows. You can keep up with model Lais Ribeiro Instagram.
The story of Australian- Sudanese model Ajak Deng is inspirational for black models everywhere. At the age of 14, Ajak is forced to leaves her home in Sudan for a Kenyan refugee camp. Shortly after, her mother dies of malaria and she becomes the mother of her 6 month old sister. Given the opportunity to move to Australia, Ajak Deng obliges, and soon discovers modeling. Today you can find her own the runway of designers like Bottega Veneta and Maison Margiela. She even claims a rare, Vogue Italia cover. You can keep up with model Ajak Deng Instagram.
Angolan fashion model Maria Borges in a stunner that doesn’t compromised. Named Forbes Africas top model of 2013, Borges goes on to become a Victoria’s Secret model. A favorite of industry leaders like Riccardo Tisci, Maria Borges finds herself in good graces. In 2015, the Angolan beauty challenges the industry once again, becoming the first black model to ever walk the Victoria’s Secret fashion show wearing her natural afro style hair.You can keep up with model Maria Borges Instagram.
Discovered at the age of 18, Martinique born model Melodie Monrose became an international fashion sensation. On the runways she’s walked for lucrative designers like Miu Miu, Yves Saint Laurent, and Lanvin. Her editorial resume is just as impressive featuring appearances in Vogue, Interview, and Dazed. You can keep up with model Melodie Monrose Instagram.