Supermodel
Overview
The term supermodel refers to a highly-paid fashion model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

 who usually has a worldwide reputation and often a background in haute couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

 and commercial modeling. The term became prominent in the popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 of the 1980s. Supermodels usually work for top fashion design
Fashion design
Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories....

ers and labels
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

. They have multi-million dollar contracts, endorsements and campaigns. They have branded themselves as household names and worldwide recognition is associated with their modeling careers.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The term supermodel refers to a highly-paid fashion model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

 who usually has a worldwide reputation and often a background in haute couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

 and commercial modeling. The term became prominent in the popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 of the 1980s. Supermodels usually work for top fashion design
Fashion design
Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories....

ers and labels
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

. They have multi-million dollar contracts, endorsements and campaigns. They have branded themselves as household names and worldwide recognition is associated with their modeling careers. They have been on the covers
Cover girl
A cover girl is a woman whose photograph features on the front cover of a magazine. She may be a model, celebrity or entertainer. The term would generally not be used to describe a casual, once-off appearance by a person on the cover of a magazine....

 of various magazines. Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer is a German model and occasional actress, who reached the peak of her popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful models, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers...

 stated, "In order to become a supermodel one must be on all the covers all over the world at the same time so that people can recognise the girls."

Origins of term and first supermodel

An old-fashioned use of the term "supermodel" appeared in 1891 in an interview with artist Henry Stacy Marks
Henry Stacy Marks
Henry Stacy Marks was an English artist who took a particular interest in painting birds.-Life:Henry Stacy Marks was born in London as the fourth child of John Isaac Marks and Elizabeth née Pally. His father was a solicitor who later became a coach builder...

 for The Strand Magazine, in which Marks told journalist Harry How, "A good many models are addicted to drink, and, after sitting a while, will suddenly go to sleep. Then I have had what I call the 'super' model. You know the sort of man; he goes in for theatrical effect;..."
In October 1942, a writer named Judith Cass had used the term "supermodel" for her article in the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

, which headlined "Super Models are Signed for Fashion Show". Later in 1943, an agent named Clyde Matthew Dessner used the term in a "how-to" book he wrote about modeling entitled So You Want to Be a Model! According to Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross
Michael Gross (writer)
Michael Gross , is an author, journalist and editor. He has a B.A. in History from Vassar College. He graduated in 1970 from South Side High School in Rockville Centre, the same school that later graduated Howard Stern....

, Gross claimed the term "supermodel" was first used by Dessner. In 1947, anthropologist Harold Sterling Gladwin
Harold S. Gladwin
Harold Sterling Gladwin was an American archaeologist, anthropologist and stockbroker born in New York City.-Introduction:Harold Sterling Gladwin was an early twentieth century archaeologist that specialized in...

 wrote "supermodel" in his book Men Out of Asia. In 1949, the magazine Hearst's International Combined with Cosmopolitan referred to Anita Colby
Anita Colby
Anita Colby was an actress and model. Colby was born Anita Counihan, the daughter of the cartoonist, Bud Counihan, a legendary figure among New York artists and newsmen. Early in her career, at $50 an hour, she was the highest paid model at the time...

, the highest paid model at the time, as a "supermodel": "She's been super model, super movie saleswoman, and top brass at Selznick
Selznick International Pictures
-Origin:It was founded in 1935 by producer David O. Selznick and investor John Hay "Jock" Whitney after Selznick left Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and leased a section of the RKO Pictures lot in Culver City, California...

 and Paramount
Paramount
-Companies:*Paramount Motion Pictures Group, a motion picture holding company owned by Viacom*Paramount Pictures, a motion picture studio*Paramount Vantage, specialty film division of Paramount Pictures*CBS Paramount Television, a television studio and library...

.
"

The term "supermodel" had been used several times in the media in the 1960s and 1970s. In May 1967, the Salisbury
Salisbury, Maryland
-Demographics:Salisbury is the principal city of the Salisbury-Ocean Pines CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Salisbury metropolitan area and the Ocean Pines micropolitan area , which had a combined population of 176,657 at the 2010 census.As of the census of 2000, there were...

 Daily Times
The Daily Times (Salisbury)
The Daily Times is a morning daily English-language publication based in Salisbury, Maryland. It has been a Gannett publication since 2002.-History:The Daily Times was first owned by the Truitt family of Salisbury, Maryland...

referred to Twiggy
Twiggy
Lesley Lawson née Hornby known as Twiggy is an English model, actress, and singer. In the early-1960s she became a prominent British teenage model of swinging sixties London with others such as Penelope Tree....

 as a supermodel; the February 1968 article of Glamour magazine
Glamour (magazine)
Glamour is a women's magazine published by Condé Nast Publications. Founded in 1939 in the United States, it was originally called Glamour of Hollywood....

listed all 19 "supermodels"; the Chicago Daily Defender
Chicago Defender
The Chicago Defender is a Chicago based newspaper founded in 1905 by an African American for primarily African American readers.In just three years from 1919–1922 the Defender also attracted the writing talents of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks....

wrote "New York Designer Turns Super Model" in January 1970; The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

and Mansfield
Mansfield
Mansfield is a town in Nottinghamshire, England. It is the main town in the Mansfield local government district. Mansfield is a part of the Mansfield Urban Area....

 News Journal used the term in 1971; and in 1974 both the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

and The Advocate
The Advocate (Newark)
The Advocate is the local daily newspaper of Newark, Ohio, serving the general Licking County region. It has been part of the Gannett family of newspapers and periodicals since 2000.The Advocate is the single remaining daily newspaper in Newark...

also used the term "supermodel" in their articles. American Vogue
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

used the term "supermodel" on the cover page to describe Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway was an American fashion model and actress.- Early life :Margot Louise Hemingway was born in Portland, Oregon, and was the older sister of actress Mariel Hemingway and the granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway...

 in the September 1, 1975 edition. Jet
Jet (magazine)
Jet is an American weekly marketed toward African-American readers, founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson of Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois...

also described Beverly Johnson
Beverly Johnson
Beverly Johnson is an American model, actress, and businesswoman. She made history when she rose to fame as the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in 1974...

 as a "supermodel" in the December 22, 1977 edition.

In 1979, model Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson
Janice Doreen Dickinson is an American actress, author, fashion photographer, model and talent agent.Initially notable as a model, she has described herself as the first supermodel. One of the most successful models throughout the 1970s and 1980s, she expanded her profession to reality television...

 claimed to have coined the term "supermodel" as a compound of Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

 and model. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight is a daily tabloid television entertainment television news show that is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, Canada and in many countries around the world. Linda Bell Blue is currently the program's executive producer...

, Dickinson stated that her agent Monique Pilar of Elite Model Management
Elite Model Management
Elite Model Management is a large modeling agency based in New York and Paris. It is a subsidiary of Elite World S.A.-History:Founded in France in 1972 by John Casablancas and Alain Kittler, it was rebought in 1990 by Nicholas Farrae. Elite World S.A. is the parent company of Elite Model...

 asked her, "Janice, who do you think you are, Superman?" She replied saying, "No... I'm a supermodel, honey, and you will refer to me as a supermodel and you will start a supermodel division." Dickinson also claims to be the first supermodel.

Lisa Fonssagrives
Lisa Fonssagrives
Lisa Fonssagrives , born Lisa Birgitta Bernstone was a Swedish fashion model widely credited as the first supermodel.-Biography:...

 is widely considered the world's first supermodel. She was in most of the major fashion magazines and general interest magazines from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Town & Country
Town & Country (magazine)
Town & Country, formerly the Home Journal and The National Press, is a monthly American lifestyle magazine. It is the oldest continually published general interest magazine in the United States.-Early history:...

, Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

, Vogue, the original Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

, Harper's Bazaar
Harper's Bazaar
Harper’s Bazaar is an American fashion magazine, first published in 1867. Harper’s Bazaar is published by Hearst and, as a magazine, considers itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”...

, and Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

. Dorian Leigh
Dorian Leigh
Dorian Leigh was an American model and one of the earliest modelling icons of the fashion industry. She is considered one of the first supermodels and was well known in the United States and Europe.-Biography:Dorian Leigh Parker was born in San Antonio, Texas, to George and Elizabeth Parker...

 has also been called the world's first supermodel, as well as Gia Carangi
Gia Carangi
Gia Marie Carangi was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carangi is considered by some to be the first supermodel, although that title has been given to others, including Janice Dickinson, Dorian Leigh, and Jean Shrimpton...

 and Jean Shrimpton
Jean Shrimpton
Jean Rosemary Shrimpton is an English model and actress. She was an icon of Swinging London and is considered to be one of the world's first supermodels....

.

1960s-1970s

In February 1968, an article in Glamour
Glamour magazine
Glamour magazine means:* Glamour magazine, a U.S. publication aimed at a predominantly female readership* a girlie magazine aimed at a male readership featuring photographs of women...

described 19 models as "supermodels," of whom were: Cheryl Tiegs
Cheryl Tiegs
Cheryl Rae Tiegs is an American model and actress.- Early years :Tiegs was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota but raised in Alhambra, California, and she graduated from Alhambra High School in 1965. She also attended the California State University, Los Angeles and became a little sister to the Sigma...

, Verushka, Lisa Palmer, Peggy Moffitt
Peggy Moffitt
Peggy Moffitt , is best known as the premier model and muse for the late fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. Though her unique look has now become iconic of the 60s fashion scene, Peggy started out pursuing a career in film, debuting in the 1955's You're Never Too Young.-Biography:Her first credited...

, Susan Murray, Twiggy
Twiggy
Lesley Lawson née Hornby known as Twiggy is an English model, actress, and singer. In the early-1960s she became a prominent British teenage model of swinging sixties London with others such as Penelope Tree....

, Susan Harnett, Marisa Berenson
Marisa Berenson
Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson is an American actress and model.-Early life:She is the elder daughter of Robert L. Berenson, an American diplomat turned shipping executive, who was of Lithuanian Jewish descent; his family's original surname was Valvrojenski...

, Gretchen Harris, Heide Wiedeck, Irish Bianchi, Hiroko Matsumoto
Hiroko Matsumoto
was a Japanese model.Pierre Cardin met her in 1960 during a trip in Japan, where he fell in love with her and thus she followed him to Paris.Pierre Cardin chose her as his top model. Named Miss Hiroko, she was the first Japanese model for a French clothing collection..Matsumoto ended her modelling...

, Anne DeZagher, Kathie Carpenter, Jean Shrimpton
Jean Shrimpton
Jean Rosemary Shrimpton is an English model and actress. She was an icon of Swinging London and is considered to be one of the world's first supermodels....

, Jean Patchett, Benedetta Barzini
Benedetta Barzini
Benedetta Barzini is an Italian actress and model, daughter of Italian journalist and author Luigi Barzini, Jr. and his second wife, heiress Paola Gadola Feltrinelli...

, Claudia Duxbury, and Agneta Friedberg.

In the 1970s, some models became more prominent as their names became more recognizable to the general public. Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

editor Jule Campbell abandoned then-current modeling trends for its fledgling Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is published annually by Sports Illustrated. It features fashion models wearing swimwear in exotic locales. According to some, the magazine is the arbiter of supermodel succession. In addition, the issue is a media nexus that in 2005 carried in advertising....

by photographing "bigger and healthier" California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 models and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a cornerstone of supermodel status.

In 1975, Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway was an American fashion model and actress.- Early life :Margot Louise Hemingway was born in Portland, Oregon, and was the older sister of actress Mariel Hemingway and the granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway...

 landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé
Fabergé (cosmetics)
-History:The American oil billionaire Armand Hammer collected many Fabergé pieces during his business ventures in communist Russia in the 1920s. In 1937, Armand Hammer’s friend Samuel Rubin, owner of the Spanish Trading Corporation which imported soap and olive oil, closed down his company because...

's Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties," giving further name recognition to fashion models.

Lauren Hutton
Lauren Hutton
Lauren Hutton is an American model and actress. She is best-known for her starring roles in the movies American Gigolo and Lassiter, and also for her fashion modeling career.-Personal life:...

 became the first model to receive a huge contract from a cosmetics company and appeared on cover of Vogue
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

 25 times. Iman
Iman (model)
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid , professionally known as Iman , is a Somali-American fashion model, actress and entrepreneur. A pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics, she is also noted for her charitable work. She is married to David Bowie.-Early life:Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Iman is the daughter...

 is considered to have been the first supermodel of color.

Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna was an American model and cover girl. She also appeared in several films, in Camp by Andy Warhol, Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? by William Klein, as Groucho Marx's companion in Otto Preminger's Skidoo, and most notably as Oenothea in Federico Fellini's Satyricon and as the title...

 became the first African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 model to appear in Vogue, Naomi Sims
Naomi Sims
Naomi Ruth Sims was an African American model, businesswoman and author., who is widely credited as being the first African American supermodel.-Early life:...

, who is sometimes regarded as the first black supermodel, became the first African American to feature on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal
Ladies' Home Journal
Ladies' Home Journal is an American magazine which first appeared on February 16, 1883, and eventually became one of the leading women's magazines of the 20th century in the United States...

in 1968. The first African American model to be on the cover of American Vogue was Beverly Johnson
Beverly Johnson
Beverly Johnson is an American model, actress, and businesswoman. She made history when she rose to fame as the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in 1974...

 in 1974.

1980s

In the early 1980s, Inès de la Fressange
Inès de la Fressange
Inès Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange , is a French model, aristocrat and designer of fashion and perfumes. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1998.- Biography :...

 was the first model to sign an exclusive modeling contract with an haute couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

 fashion house, Chanel
Chanel
Chanel S.A. is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods . She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France...

.
During the early 1980s, fashion designers began advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 on television
Television advertisement
A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product...

 and billboard
Billboard
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

s. Catwalk
Runway (fashion)
Runway or catwalk describes a narrow, usually flat platform that runs into an auditorium, used by models to demonstrate clothing and accessories during a fashion show In fashion jargon, "what's on the catwalk" or similar phrasing can refer to whatever is new and popular in fashion.- Exclusive...

 regulars like Gia Carangi
Gia Carangi
Gia Marie Carangi was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carangi is considered by some to be the first supermodel, although that title has been given to others, including Janice Dickinson, Dorian Leigh, and Jean Shrimpton...

, Cheryl Tiegs
Cheryl Tiegs
Cheryl Rae Tiegs is an American model and actress.- Early years :Tiegs was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota but raised in Alhambra, California, and she graduated from Alhambra High School in 1965. She also attended the California State University, Los Angeles and became a little sister to the Sigma...

, Carol Alt
Carol Alt
Carol Ann Alt is an American model and actress.- Early life:Alt was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, the daughter of Muriel, an airline employee and model, and Anthony Alt, a fire chief. She was noticed waiting tables in her hometown of East Williston, New York. When she was 18, she decided to...

, Christie Brinkley
Christie Brinkley
Christie Brinkley is an American model and actress best known for her three consecutive appearances on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in the late 1970s and early 1980s, for her long-running contract with CoverGirl, the longest ever of any model in history, and for her marriage...

, Kim Alexis
Kim Alexis
Kim Alexis is an American model and actress.- Career :Alexis was one of the top models of the 1980s, identified along with Gia Carangi, Carol Alt, Christie Brinkley, Kelly Emberg, Iman, and Paulina Porizkova...

, Paulina Porizkova
Paulina Porizkova
Pavlína Pořízková-Ocasek is a Czech model and actress. At the age of eighteen years, she became the first woman from Central Europe to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated swim-suit issue. She was the second woman to be featured on the swim-suit issue's front cover consecutive times...

, Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields
Brooke Christa Shields is an American actress and model. Some of her better-known movies include Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon, as well as TV shows such as Suddenly Susan, That '70s Show and Lipstick Jungle....

, Heather Locklear
Heather Locklear
Heather Deen Locklear is an American actress best known for her television roles as Sammy Jo Carrington on Dynasty, Officer Stacy Sheridan on T.J...

, and Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson is an Australian model, actress, and businesswoman nicknamed "The Body". She is perhaps best known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s...

 began to endorse products with their names, as well as their faces, through the marketing of brands such as the beverage Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi is a no-calorie carbonated cola soft drink produced by PepsiCo, introduced in 1964 as a variant of Pepsi-Cola with no sugar. First test marketed in 1963 under the name Patio Diet Cola, it was re-branded as Diet Pepsi the following year, becoming the first diet cola to be distributed on a...

 to the extension of car title Ford Trucks
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

. As the models began to embrace old-style glamour
Glamour (presentation)
Glamour originally was a magical-occult spell cast on somebody to make them believe that something or somebody was attractive. In the late 19th century terminology a non magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became 'a glamour'...

, they were starting to replace film stars as symbols of luxury and wealth. In this regard, supermodels were viewed not so much as individuals but as images.

1990s

By the 1990s, the supermodel became increasingly prominent in the media. The title became tantamount to superstar
Superstar
A superstar is a widely acclaimed celebrity.Superstar or superstars may also refer to:-People:* Warhol Superstar, associates of Andy Warhol* WWE Superstar, the term used to refer to entertainers from the WWE...

, to signify a supermodel's fame having risen simply from "personality." Supermodels did talk shows, were cited in gossip columns, partied at the trendiest nightspots, landed movie roles, inspired franchises, dated or married film stars, and earned themselves millions. Fame empowered them to take charge of their careers, to market themselves, and to command higher fees.

When Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista is a Canadian model. She has been featured on over 600 magazine covers and has garnered work on numerous modeling assignments with companies, most recently with L'Oréal.- Early years :...

 mentioned to Vogue that "we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day," she may have been playfully pretending the role of an up-scale union representative, but the 1990 comment became the most notorious quote in modeling history. The defining year and turning point for models, fashion, and popular culture was 1990 when the combined power, beauty and influence of 5 women created such an impression on the world that a new word was coined especially for them: supermodel. 1990 began with a January British Vogue cover presenting five of the top modeling stars of the era hand-picked and photographed by Peter Lindbergh
Peter Lindbergh
Peter Lindbergh, born Peter Brodbeck, is a German photographer and filmmaker, born on November 23, 1944 in Leszno, Poland. He currently lives in Paris, New York and Arles....

. The now famous cover created such a stir, pop star George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

 cast the same five models in his music video for his international hit song, "Freedom! '90
Freedom! '90
"Freedom '90" is a song written and performed by George Michael, and released on Columbia Records in 1990. The "'90" added to the end of the title is to prevent confusion with an international hit by Michael's former band, Wham!, also titled "Freedom".It was the third single taken from Listen...

." The five models were Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is a British model. Scouted at the age of 15, she established herself among the top three most recognisable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and she was one of six models of her generation declared "supermodels" by the fashion world...

, Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford
Cynthia Ann "Cindy" Crawford is an American model. Known for her trademark mole just above her lip, Crawford has adorned hundreds of magazine covers throughout her career. She was named #3 on VH1's 40 Hottest Hotties of the 90s...

, Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington Burns is an American model best known for representing Calvin Klein from 1987 to 2007. She has worked on dozens of modeling contracts with companies including Maybelline Cosmetics and Versace. Turlington starred in her fashion documentary Catwalk and Isaac Mizrahi's Unzipped...

, Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista is a Canadian model. She has been featured on over 600 magazine covers and has garnered work on numerous modeling assignments with companies, most recently with L'Oréal.- Early years :...

, and Tatjana Patitz
Tatjana Patitz
Tatjana Patitz is a German model and actress who rose to international prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, representing top fashion designers, campaigns, and collections, and who continues to model today.-Modelling career:...

. In 1990, their status as top models ended and a new era for the supermodel began. Each attained world-wide fame and fortune, sharing covers of all the international editions of Vogue, walking the catwalks for the world's top designers, and becoming known by their first names alone.

In 1991, Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington Burns is an American model best known for representing Calvin Klein from 1987 to 2007. She has worked on dozens of modeling contracts with companies including Maybelline Cosmetics and Versace. Turlington starred in her fashion documentary Catwalk and Isaac Mizrahi's Unzipped...

 signed a contract with Maybelline
Maybelline
Maybelline is an American makeup brand sold worldwide and owned by L'Oréal. Their motto is Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline.-History:...

 that paid her $800,000 for twelve days' work each year. Four years later, Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer is a German model and occasional actress, who reached the peak of her popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful models, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers...

 reportedly earned $12 million for her various modeling assignments. Authorities ranging from Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld is a German fashion designer, artist and photographer based in Paris. He has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects, most notably as head designer and creative director for the fashion house Chanel...

 to Time had declared the supermodels more glamorous than movie stars.

As the 1990s progressed, the supermodels were joined by Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer is a German model and occasional actress, who reached the peak of her popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful models, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers...

 and then Kate Moss
Kate Moss
Kate Moss is an English model. Moss is known for her waifish figure and popularising the heroin chic look in the 1990s. She is also known for her controversial private life, high profile relationships, party lifestyle, and drug use. Moss changed the look of modelling and started a global debate on...

. They were the most heavily in demand, collectively dominating magazine covers, fashion runways, editorial pages, and both print and broadcast advertising. Excluding Moss, they are known as the "original supermodels".
In the late 1990s, actresses, pop singers, and other entertainment celebrities began gradually replacing models on fashion magazine covers and ad campaigns. The pendulum of limelight left many models in anonymity. A popular "conspiracy theory" explaining the supermodel's disappearance is that designers and fashion editors grew weary of the "I won't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day" attitude and made sure no small group of models would ever again have the power of the Big Six.

Charles Gandee, associate editor at Vogue, has said that high prices and poor attitudes contributed less to the decline of the supermodel. As clothes became less flashy, designers turned to models who were less glamorous, so they wouldn't overpower the clothing. Whereas many supermodels of the previous era were American-born, their accents making for an easier transition to stardom, the majority of models began coming from non-English speaking countries and cultures, making the crossover to mainstream spokesperson and cover star difficult. However, the term continued to be applied to notable models such as Laetitia Casta
Laetitia Casta
Laetitia Marie Laure Casta is a French model and actress.-Early life:Laetitia Casta was born in Pont-Audemer, Normandy, France. Her mother, Line Blin, is from Normandy. Her father, Dominique Casta, is from Corsica. She has an older brother, Jean-Baptiste, and a younger sister, Marie-Ange...

, Eva Herzigová
Eva Herzigová
Eva Herzigová is a Czech model and actress.-Early life and career:Herzigová was born in Litvínov, Czechoslovakia . She began her modeling career after winning a modeling beauty contest in Prague in 1989, at the age of sixteen. After arriving in Paris, her popularity increased...

, Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is an Italian-French songwriter, singer, actress, and former model...

, Tatiana Sorokko
Tatiana Sorokko
Tatiana Sorokko is a Russian-born American model, fashion journalist and haute couture collector. She walked the runways for the world's most prominent designers and fashion houses, appeared on covers of leading fashion magazines, and became the first Russian model of the post-Soviet period to gain...

, Nadja Auermann
Nadja Auermann
Nadja Auermann is a German model and actress. Fashion designer Valentino once commented on her physical resemblance to Marlene Dietrich. A New York Times fashion columnist, Guy Trebay, wrote of her "ice maiden visage and pole vaulter's legs".-Biography:Auermann arrived in Paris in 1990, signing...

, Helena Christensen
Helena Christensen
Helena Christensen is a Danish fashion model, Victoria's Secret Angel, beauty queen, and photographer. She has also served as creative director for Nylon magazine, designed clothing, and supported funding for breast cancer organizations and other charities.-Early life:Christensen was born in...

, Patricia Velásquez
Patricia Velásquez
Patricia Carola Velásquez Semprún is a Venezuelan actress and fashion model. She is often considered to be the first Latin supermodel.-Early life:...

, Adriana Karembeu, and Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich December 17, 1975)is an American model, actress, musician, and fashion designer. Over her career, she has appeared in a number of science fiction and action-themed films, for which music channel VH1 has referred to her as the "reigning queen of kick-butt".Milla Jovovich began...

.

2000s and present day

Emerging in the late 1990s, Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Caroline Bündchen is a Brazilian fashion model, occasional film actress and goodwill ambassador for the UN Environment Programme.In the late 1990s, Bündchen became one of the first in a wave of Brazilian models to find success...

 became the first in a wave of Brazilian models to gain popularity in the industry and with the public. With numerous covers of Vogue under her belt, including an issue that dubbed her the "Return of the Sexy Model," Bündchen was credited with ending the "heroin chic
Heroin chic
Heroin chic was a look popularized in mid-1990s fashion and characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes, and jutting bones.The look, which promoted emaciated features and androgyny, was an alternative that stood in direct contradiction to the "healthy" and vibrant look of models...

" era of models. Following in her footsteps by signing contracts with Victoria's Secret
Victoria's Secret
Victoria's Secret is an American retailer of women's wear, lingerie and beauty products. It is the largest segment of publicly-traded Limited Brands with sales of over US$5 billion and an operating income of $1 billion in 2006...

, fellow Brazilians Adriana Lima
Adriana Lima
Adriana Lima is a Brazilian model, best known as a Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000, and as a spokesmodel for Maybelline cosmetics from 2003 to 2009...

 and Alessandra Ambrosio
Alessandra Ambrosio
Alessandra Corine Ambrósio is a Brazilian model. Ambrosio is best known for her work with Victoria's Secret and was chosen as the first spokesmodel for the company's "PINK" line...

 rose to prominence; however, this "new trinity" were unable to cross over into the world of TV, movies and talk shows as easily as their predecessors due to their foreign accents. Several seasons later, they were followed by Eastern Europeans barely into their teens, pale, and "bordering on anorexic. They were too young to become movie stars or date celebrities; too skeletal to bag Victoria's Secret contracts; and a lack of English didn't bode well for a broad media career". The opportunities for super-stardom were waning in the modeling world, and models like Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum
Heidi Samuel , better known by her birth name Heidi Klum, is a German model, actress, television host, businesswoman, fashion designer, television producer, and occasional singer. In 2008 she became an American citizen while maintaining her native German citizenship...

 and Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks
Tyra Lynne Banks is an American model, media personality, actress, occasional singer, author and businesswoman. She first became famous as a model, but television appearances were her commercial breakthrough...

 took to television with reality shows like Project Runway
Project Runway
Project Runway is an American reality television series on Lifetime Television, previously on the Bravo network, which focuses on fashion design and is hosted by model Heidi Klum. The contestants compete with each other to create the best clothes and are restricted in time, materials and theme...

and America's Next Top Model
America's Next Top Model
America's Next Top Model is a reality television show in which a number of women compete for the title of America's Next Top Model and a chance to start their career in the modeling industry....

, respectively, to not only remain relevant but establish themselves as media moguls.

Contrary to the fashion industry's celebrity trend of the previous decade, lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret continues to groom and launch young talents into supermodel status, awarding their high-profile "Angels" multi-year, multi-million-dollar contracts. In addition to Klum, Banks, Bündchen, Lima, and Ambrosio, these models have included Karolína Kurková
Karolína Kurková
Karolína Isela Kurková is a Czech model, best known as a former Victoria's Secret Angel, and an aspiring actress. Mario Testino said of Kurková, "The proportions of her body and her face, as well as her energy level, make her a model who could fit almost into any moment." Vogue editor Anna...

, Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr
Miranda May Kerr is an Australian model. She is best known as one of the Victoria's Secret Angels since mid-2007. She is the first Australian to participate in the Victoria's Secret campaign and also represents Australian fashion chain David Jones...

, Selita Ebanks
Selita Ebanks
Selita Ebanks is a Caymanian fashion model. She worked for Victoria's Secret and as a Victoria's Secret Angel from 2005-2008.-Early life:...

, and Marisa Miller
Marisa Miller
Marisa Lee Miller is an American model best known for her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues and her work for lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret. After a stint shooting with photographer Mario Testino for fashion magazines like Vogue, Miller began working for both companies in...

. Although some, such as Claudia Schiffer, argued that Bündchen is the only model who comes close to earning the supermodel title,

American Vogue
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

 dubbed ten models (Doutzen Kroes, Agyness Deyn
Agyness Deyn
Agyness Deyn is an English fashion model, actress and singer.-Early life:Deyn is from Failsworth in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, Greater Manchester...

, Hilary Rhoda
Hilary Rhoda
Hilary Hollis Rhoda is an American model. She is perhaps best known for her work with the brand Estée Lauder and her 2009, 2010, and 2011 appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.-Early life:...

, Raquel Zimmermann
Raquel Zimmermann
Raquel Zimmermann is a Brazilian model of German descent.-Discovery and modeling career:Zimmermann was discovered by a scouting agency in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the age of 14 and made her way to Japan and on to Paris...

, Coco Rocha
Coco Rocha
Coco Rocha is a Canadian fashion model.- Personal life :Rocha was born in Toronto, Ontario, and moved to Richmond and attended McRoberts secondary school, British Columbia at a very young age. Her family is in the airline industry. Her mother, Juanita, is a flight attendant and her father, Trevor...

, Lily Donaldson
Lily Donaldson
-Career:Donaldson was born in London, and educated at the Camden School for Girls, living in Kentish Town with her parents.Since being scouted by Select Model Management in 2003 at the age of 16 while shopping in Camden, Donaldson has landed campaigns for fashion houses such as Dior, Jil Sander,...

, Chanel Iman
Chanel Iman
Chanel Iman Robinson , known professionally as Chanel Iman, is an American fashion model perhaps best known for her work for Victoria's Secret.-Early life:...

, Sasha Pivovarova
Sasha Pivovarova
Sasha Pivovarova is a Russian model. She is perhaps best known for her consecutive 6-season run with Prada.-Modeling career:As an art history student at the Russian University for the Humanities, Pivovarova never dreamed of becoming a model until friend and photographer Igor Vishnyakov took photos...

, Caroline Trentini
Caroline Trentini
Caroline Trentini , also known as Carol Trentini, is a Brazilian fashion model.- Early life :...

, and Jessica Stam
Jessica Stam
Jessica Stam is a Canadian model. She is considered to be part of the crop of models described as "doll faces" alongside Gemma Ward, Sasha Pivovarova, Vlada Roslyakova, Lily Cole, Caroline Trentini, Devon Aoki, and Heather Marks...

) as the new crop of supermodels in their May 2007 cover story, while the likes of Christie Brinkley, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista returned to reclaim prominent contracts from celebrities and younger models.

Criticism

Criticism of the supermodel as an industry has been frequent inside and outside the fashion press, from complaints that women desiring this status become unhealthily thin to charges of racism, where the "supermodel" has generally to conform to a Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

an standard of beauty
Beauty
Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture...

. According to fashion writer Guy Trebay of The New York Times, in 2007, the "android" look is popular, a vacant stare and thin body serving, according to some fashion industry conventions, to set off the couture. This was not always the case. In the 1970s, black, heavier and "ethnic" models predominated the runways but social changes since that time have made the power players in the fashion industry flee suggestions of "otherness".

The popular media often applies the term loosely to some who fall short of supermodel status. Geraldine Maillet, the celebrated French writer and former model, relates with humour and cynicism the rise and decline of the supermodels in her book Presque Top Model.

See also

  • Sex symbol
    Sex symbol
    A sex symbol is a celebrity of either gender, typically an actor, musician, supermodel, teen idol, or sports star, noted for their sex appeal. The term was first used in the mid 1950s in relation to the popularity of certain Hollywood stars, especially Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte...

  • Superstar
    Superstar
    A superstar is a widely acclaimed celebrity.Superstar or superstars may also refer to:-People:* Warhol Superstar, associates of Andy Warhol* WWE Superstar, the term used to refer to entertainers from the WWE...

  • Body image
    Body image
    Body image refers to a person's perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of their own body. The phrase body image was first coined by the Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Paul Schilder in his masterpiece The Image and Appearance of the Human Body...

  • Physical attractiveness
    Physical attractiveness
    Physical attractiveness refers to a person's physical traits which are perceived to be aesthetically pleasing or beautiful. The term often implies sexual attractiveness or desirability, but can also be distinct from the two; for example, humans may regard the young as attractive for various...

  • Self image
    Self image
    A person's self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others A person's self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change,...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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