11 Black supermodels who have marked the history of fashion


11 Black supermodels who have marked the history of fashion

Black and mixed women had to fight to establish themselves in the ruthless world of fashion. Often non-existent in magazines or catwalks, black supermodels have changed the dictates and standards of beauty through their beauty and success.

When one comes from a minority background, one has to face discrimination in the face of several difficulties.

  • 1/Discrimination in order to win contracts.
  • 2/ Lack of knowledge of hairdressers for the care of curly and frizzy hair.
  • 3/Absence of black make-up artist
  • 4/ Lack of equipment of make-up artists with beauty products adapted for black and mixed skins.

Although the fashion industry has made great strides in diversity. Magazines seem to be gradually shedding the diktat of beauty from advertisers. We see more atypical faces and women of all skin colors on the catwalks or on the catwalks representing brands. And that many taboos have fallen. There are still a lot of inequalities.

Afroculture.net present to you the black models that have marked the history of fashion.

Naomie Sims 

  • Date of birth: 30 March 1948, Oxford, Mississippi, USA.
  • Date of death: 1 August 2009 in New Jersey, United States
  • Size: 1.78 m
  • Child : Bob Findlay
  • First black Vogue model

Naomi Sims is a top model of the 70s and 80s. In the 1960s, she was the first black Afro-American model to achieve success on fashion shows and magazine covers in the 1960s. She was on the cover of Vogue and Fashions of the Times of the New York Times. Later, she was on the cover of Ladies Home Journal, Life Magazine and the American edition of Cosmopolitan. She passed away at the age of 61 from cancer in New Jersey, USA on August 1, 2009.



  • Date of birth :25 July 1955 in Mogadishu, Somalia
  • Size: 1.75 m
  • Marriage: David Bowie (m. 1992-2016), Spencer Haywood (m. 1977-1987)
  • Children : Alexandria Zahra Jones, Zulekha Haywood
  • Muse: Yves St Laurent
  • She has been on the cover of the magazines: Vogue

Iman Bowie, whose real name is Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, is one of the greatest black supermodels of the 80s. She is also a great businesswoman. Of Somali and American nationality, she has posed for the greatest photographers and has made many magazine covers. Strong of her success, she revises the dictates of fashion where women of color are not enough represented.

She founded her own beauty brand Iman Cosmetics and launched an ethnic clothing line Iman Global Chic. She was married to singer David Bowie from 1992 to 2016. Since the death of her husband, she has said she will not remarry.


Katoucha Niane

  • Date of birth: 23 October 1960 in Conakry, Guinea
  • Date of death: 2 February 2008 in Paris
  • Size: 1.78 m
  • Children : Aiden Curtiss, Aïden Niane, Amy Niane, Alexandre Niane
  • Muse: Yves St Laurent

Nicknamed the “Peul Princess” after her Guinean origins, Katoucha is one of the first black top models of the 80-90s.  She is one of the first models to have paraded on the catwalk. Revealed by Yves Saint Laurent, she posed for the greatest photographers.

Throughout her life, she has fought against excision, which she was a victim of as a child. She recounts her suffering in her autobiography “In my flesh”. A committed woman, she also founded her own association KPLCE (Katoucha for the fight against excision). She died on February 2, 2008 in Paris at the age of 47.


Naomi Campbell

  • Date of birth: 22 May 1970, Streatham, London, United Kingdom
  • Size: 1.78 m
  • Brand ambassadors: Victoria Secret, Chanel, Yves St Laurent
  • She is the second black woman to pose for Vogue Uk.

Nicknamed “the black panther,” Naomi Campbell is one of the most famous and popular black supermodels of the 1990s. She is British of Jamaican origin. She has posed for some of the world’s greatest photographers and has been on the covers of 500 magazines around the world.

Cited as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world, she has worked with some of the world’s greatest designers. Naomie is also known for her strong character. She is the second black woman to pose for Vogue Uk.

She is the first black model to make the front page of Time and Vogue US. On June 4, 2018, she received the “Fashion Icon Award” from the Council of American Fashion Designers (CFDA).


 Tyra Banks

  • Date of birth: 4 December 1973 in Inglewood, California, USA
  • Size: 1.78 m
  • Child: York Banks Asla
  • Muse: Yves St Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana

Discovered on the street, Tyra Banks is a black African-American supermodel, popular in the 90s. She is also a great businesswoman. She has represented many prestigious brands.

In addition, Tyra is the first woman of color to represent a world-renowned Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand. She is named one of the 50 most beautiful and sexy women in the world. In 1993, she appeared in the famous “Prince of Bel Air” series with Will Smith. 

.Since 2005, she has stopped her modeling career and devotes herself to her own television shows such as America’s Next Top Model, The Tyra Banks Show. In 2008, she received a BET Award in 2008 for her entire career.


Noémie Lenoir

  • Date of birth : 19 September 1979 , Les Ulis
  • Size: 1.76 m
  • Children :Kelyan Makélélé, Tosca
  • Ralph Lauren, Elle, L’Oréal, Calvin Klein, Vogue

Noémie Lenoir is a French supermodel, very popular in the 2000s. Her exotic beauty has made the reputation of the beautiful mixed race woman. She has worked with some of the greatest names in fashion. She has done many fashion shows and magazine covers. Later, she became an actress and has been in many movies. Today, she is much more discreet and takes care of her two children.


 Liya Kebede

  • Date of birth: 1 March 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Wedding: Kassy Kebede (m. 2000)
  • Children : Suhul Kebede, Raee Kebede
  • Gucci, Donna Karan, Dolce&Gabbana, Chanel, Chloé, Vogue

Liya Kebede is a famous supermodel of the 2000s. She was spotted by Tom Ford, the artistic director of the house of Gucci. She is one of the highest paid models in the world. And she is one of Victoria Secret’s “angels”. She has been on the cover of Vogue many times. In 2003, she became the first black woman to appear as the face of the Estée Lauder brand, and to walk the runway for Chloé.

A committed activist, she founded Liya’s Kebede’s foundation to help women in the Third World. In 2006, she was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the World Health Organization.

A talented actress, she played the role of the famous model Waris Dirie in Sherry Hormann’s film Desert Flower.


Alek Wek

  • Date of birth: 16 April 1977 in Wau, South Sudan
  • Size: 1.80 m
  • first black mannequin to make the cover of Elle US. 

With his shaved hair and beauty, Alek Wek is a black Sudanese top model of the 90s. At the age of 14, she fled southern Sudan with her family to escape a civil war and settle in the UK. She was spotted on the street by a modeling agent. Wek quickly stood out from the other models and walked the runway for the biggest names in fashion. In 1996, she was named model of the year by MTV. In 1997, she also became the first black model to be featured on the cover of Elle US. On the strength of her success, she has defied European beauty codes, which often judge her with stereotypes that are too exotic or wild.

On the humanitarian side, she has also become an ambassador for Médecins Sans Frontières in Sudan and supports UNICEF.

Chanel Iman


  • Date of birth: 1 December 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • Size: 1.78 m
  • Wedding: Sterling Shepard (m. 2018)
  • Children :Cali Clay Shepard, Cassie Snow Shepard
  • first Métis woman to march for Gucci.

Chanel Iman is a top model of the new generation. She has posed for the greatest photographers and has been on the cover of many magazines. She is one of the angels of the Victoria’s Secret brand. In addition, since 2005, Chanel is the first Métis woman to model for Gucci. She participates in many fashion shows in the United States and Europe.

Joan Small

  • Date of birth: 11 July 1988 in Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  • Size: 1.79 m
  • first latina supermodel to represent the cosmetics brand Estée Lauder

Joan Small is a Puerto Rican supermodel and rising fashion star. She has paraded and posed for the biggest brands such as Gucci, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs. In addition, she has been on the covers of Vogue Italy and Germany, GQ, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2010, she became one of Victoria’s Secret’s “Angels” and has been on the runway for the lingerie brand every year since. In 2011, she became the first Latina supermodel to represent the cosmetics brand Estée Lauder.

Jourdan Dunn

  • Date of birth: 3 August 1990 in Greenford, United Kingdom
  • Size: 1.83 m
  • Child : Riley Dunn

A rising star in modeling, Jourdan Dunn is a British top model who is an essential part of the fashion world. She is one of the models of the new generation. At the age of 16, she was spotted by the Storm agency in a London shopping centre. She is the first black model to run for Prada since Naomie Campbell in 1997.

Jourdan has worked for prestigious brands and has been on the cover of magazines: Vogue Italy, I-D, Vogue UK and Elle French in 2008. In the same year, she was named “Model of the Year” at the British Fashion Awards. In 2012, she became one of Victoria’s Secret’s angels.


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