When people talk about models, they usually picture a lean-slim figure rocking a designer piece and walking down the runway. But in recent years these stereotypes have been broken to a large extent. The modeling industry has started giving priority to positive body image and diversity.
Here are 15 models that are challenging the stereotypes and embracing the real them.
1. Brunette Moffy.
Brunette Moffy stirred up the modeling world after she was featured on the cover of the POP magazine. What’s so different about her is that she suffers from a condition called strabismus or “cross-eyed.” Despite her condition, she was signed to Storm Modeling agency, the same agency that discovered Kate Moss, Cara Delevigne, Behati Prinsloo, and Cindy Crawford.
2. Halima Aden.
The 20-year-old former Miss Minnesota USA runnerup is breaking the boundaries by becoming the first fashion model to walk the ramp wearing a hijab. Due to this move, she received a national attention and was signed to IMG Models that represent models like Tyra Banks, Priyanka Chopra, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, etc.
3. Ashley Graham.
Ashley Graham is breaking boundaries by being a plus-sized model and appearing on the covers of magazines like Vogue, Ellem, and Glamour. She is also a body activist and has walked a number of ramps till date.
4. Winnie Harlow.
Chantelle Brown-Young, better known as Winnie Harlow first rose to fame after appearing on the U.S. television series America’s Next Top Model. Though she did not win the competition, she won the hearts of many. She has a skin condition called vitiligo that causes depigmentation to parts of her skin. She is signed to Women Management.
5. Andreja Pejic.
In a sea full of female models, Andreja Pejic paves her way as a transgender model. She was born a man with the name Andrej Pejic. The 26-year-old model came out as trans in late 2013. She was the first openly transgender model profiled by Vogue and she also received “Best International Female Model” by GQ in 2016.
6. Sanele Xaba.
The 23-year-old model is South Africa’s first albino male model who drew inspiration from Refilwe Modisellem the first African female model with albinism.
7. Carmen Dell’Orefice.
Carmen Dell’Orefice is the worlds oldest working fashion model at the age of 86. She has been working as a model since 1946 and is active to date. She aspires to enjoy herself, at no-one else’s expense.
8. Melanie Gaydos.
Melanie Gaydos was born with a condition called ectodermal dysplasia, causing her teeth, nails, cartilage, pores, and bones to remain underdeveloped. She also has alopecia and is partially blind but that doesn’t stop her from shining on the cover of magazines.
9. Tess Holiday.
The 32-year-old, L.A. based model is known for her curves and the way she flaunts them. She was the first size-22 model signed by a major modeling agency.
10. Khoudia Diop.
Khoudia Diop is a New York-based Senegalese fashion model. What sets her apart from every other model is the color of her skin. She even nicknamed herself the “Melanin Goddess.”
11. Madeline Stuart.
Madeline Stuart is the first model with Down Syndrome. She is frit om Australia and in order to become a model she lost 44 pounds and attended a photo shoot that eventually led her to gain a large social media following and getting a modeling contract.
Diandra Forrest is the first African-American female model with albinism signed to a major modeling agency. She was also featured on the cover of Ebony magazine’s special edition on black models.
13. Jillian Mercado.
Who said models can only be models if they’re on their two feet? Jillian Mercado is a model with a physical disability and she is in a wheelchair. But that never stopped the 30-year-old from becoming something she’s dreamed of. Today, she is represented by IMG Models agency and has appeared in the editorial features of magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour.
14. Zach Miko.
If you think it’s hard just for the female models, you’re wrong. Male models have to equally face the same criticism. But Zach Miko is here to defy all that. Standing 6.6ft tall, Zach is a plus-size male model signed by IMG Models. And he is the face of Target.
15. Casey Legler.
A former Olympic swimmer turned fashion model, the 40-year-old Casey Legler is the first woman signed to Ford Models to exclusively model men’s clothes. She is also a writer and a restaurateur who has been featured in Vogue, Time, and Le Monde.