Last year, Ebony Magazine published a cover that got everybody talking about Black fashion – and it is about time. Like Asian models, Black models have only recently been landing large-scale gigs in the fashion world.
Naomi Campbell often gets credit for being the “first Black supermodel”, but it was really Beverly Johnson who made the first appearance on the cover of Glamour Magazine in 1972. Throughout the following years, Black fashion icons such as Tyra Banks surfaced in the mass media, and since then they have become increasingly more common.
Black models are some of the most striking and talented in the industry today. The following five are some of the best.
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Borges was named Forbes Africa Magazine‘s top model in 2013. In 2015, she made history by being the first Black model to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway with her natural hair (shown above). She was raised by her siblings in Angola during the Angolan Civil War, and discovered in 2012 when she signed with Supreme Agency. Since then, she has worked with over 50 high-end fashion designers.
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When he is not walking runways for big names like Public School, Dolce & Gabbana, Yeezy and Tommy Hilfiger, Bosso is speaking out for children with disabilities and people of colour. Growing up with an autistic brother inspired Bosso to work with disabled children, and thanks to his profitable modelling career, he has opened a rest center dedicated to them and their families. It is also important to Bosso that he and other Black people are not “being boxed into the pre-existing stereotypes.”
“I don’t want to be shown as being a thug; that isn’t who I am, and those images are already overly prevalent. I try to make my mom proud when I walk out of the house,” he said in aninterview with Vogue.
Chantelle Winnie (Winnie Harlow)
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Winnie made her debut on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, where she also raised awareness for her chronic skin condition, vitiligo. She was diagnosed with the disease, which causes skin to lose its pigment, at the age of four and was bullied throughout her life. Now, she advocates self-love and drops jaws with her modelling prowess.
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Like Winnie, Forrest has a condition which makes the skin lose its pigment. But unlike vitiligo, albinism also affects the hair and eyes. Despite having the condition, Forrest views herself as “just a woman”, but still acts as a role model and activist in albinism awareness.
She has modelled for designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier and appeared in several magazine editorials.
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Believe it or not, Rahal originally had trouble finding work in modelling. After being told by a casting agent that “if you are black, you need to be strong with muscles – you have a black face but a white body.” Rahal set out to prove them wrong. He definitely has, working with Vogue, Yohji Yamamoto, Thaddeus O’Neil, and many others.
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