The 1990s were perhaps the golden years of fashion modeling. Storied publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan were using a new breed of model for their covers; supermodels who were hot in an almost otherworldly sense. The following group of bodacious babes would go on to become the embodiment of this new breed of sexiness. Highly regarded fashion houses, like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, would use these women to create some of the most stunning, envelope-pushing images in the history of advertising.
Aside from this, new outlets emerged to expose the public to these vixens. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and the Victoria’s Secret catalog became important pieces of the modeling world. Prior to the 90s there had already been women considered to be “supermodels” (Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley) but this new class brought a certain attitude and panache that had yet to be seen on runways and in editorials. These models made a lasting cultural impact that extends beyond mere modeling. They moved beyond fashion and, in effect, impacted our cultural zeitgeist forever. These women defined what it meant to be cool, sexy and sophisticated and a lot of this impact is still felt today.
The term “supermodel” gained a certain cultural importance during the 1990s. Models were more present in the media, dating celebrities and popping up in films and on television. In effect, these babes were able to negotiate higher salaries and to ensure themselves a more fruitful life after modeling. Check out the following list to see the Top 10 Sexiest Supermodels of the 1990s.
10. Tyra Banks
After being raised in Inglewood, California, Tyra began her modeling career in 1991 and quickly became one of the most in-demand models of the period. She has appeared on the cover of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Elle while modeling for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren. She is notably the first African-American to have appeared on the cover of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (which she did on two occasions). Outside of modeling, Tyra has a variety of TV credits: from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to MADtv. It seems that television is a comfortable medium for her, as she has hosted America’s Top Model as well as her own program, The Tyra Banks Show. Banks has been romantically linked to a handful of famous men (Seal, John Singleton, Will Smith) but has remained unmarried. Tyra started her program, TZONE, which is dedicated to teaching leadership and life skills.
9. Eva Herzigová
Eva Herzigová is a gorgeous supermodel from the former Czechoslovakia who began her modeling career in the late 1980s in Prague. Herzigová was a fixture of the 1990s modeling world having appeared in the Victoria’s Secret catalog and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. But Herzigová was perhaps most well known for her work as a print model. She has modeled for Guess, Dolce & Gabbana and, most famously, Wonderbra. Her 1994 advertisement for the company featured a black and white photograph of Herzigová in only her bra and panties with the words “Hello Boys” printed next to her. Some deride the ad as chauvinistic and sexist but, nonetheless, the image remains celebrated and iconic to this day.
8. Stephanie Seymour
San Diego native Stephanie Seymour began her career working in Southern California as a model for department stores and newspapers. This humble beginning led to great things, as Seymour embarked on a stellar modeling career. She has been photographed for Sports Illustrated, Vogue and Playboy (on two occasions). Aside from all of this, she was a principle model for Victoria’s Secret’s mail order catalogs during the period. Seymour is also famous for having dated Axl Rose and, consequently, for starring in two Guns N’ Roses music videos (“Don’t Cry”, “November Rain”). After a tumultuous break-up, Seymour began dating billionaire Peter Brant. The couple divorced in 2009 but have since reconciled.
7. Helena Christensen
Helena Christensen began her modeling career after winning the Miss Denmark pageant in 1986 and representing her country in the Miss Universe show. She was a familiar face in American advertising during the 1990s having modeled for powerhouse fashion houses like Versace, Chanel and Prada. Christensen was also a “spokesmodel” for Revlon and starred in the music video for Chris Isaak’s classic song, “Wicked Game” (which was voted No. 13 on a list of the greatest music videos compiled by VH1). After dating Michael Hutchence of INXS, Christensen began dating actor Norman Reedus (better known as Darryl from The Walking Dead). She is currently connected to Interpol singer Paul Banks. Christensen continues to model to this day.
6. Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson is an Australian beauty, widely considered to be one of the most important of the “supermodels.” Macpherson delayed her first year of university in Sydney to work as a model in the United States. Years later, the decision seems to have paid off. Macpherson has been photographed for monolithic fashion publications like Cosmo and Elle (having married the magazines’ creative director at the ripe age of 21). Macpherson also modeled for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition five times, more than any other model in history. Macpherson starred in a variety of movies in the 90s (including the god-awful Batman and Robin) and posed nude for Playboy. Macpherson remains a powerful force in the fashion world as a television host and businesswoman.
5. Christy Turlington
After being discovered at a 14, Turlington began a whirlwind career as a supermodel. Turlington has been the subject of upwards of 500 magazine covers. She has also been documented in films such as Unzipped and Catwalk. But don’t think Christy is only eye candy; she graduated cum laude from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Turlington is invested in a variety of business ventures. She has two lines of clothing with Puma and a skincare brand called Sundari. Aside from her business acumen, Turlington has also worked as a journalist in a variety of capacities. She has written for Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and Huffington Post and served as a guest correspondent on The Today Show on NBC. Turlington also serves on the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council.
4. Naomi Campbell
The South London-bred Campbell is perhaps the most infamous of the era. At the age of seven, Campbell appeared in the music video for Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?” By 12, Campbell had also danced in Culture Club’s video for “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” and, by 16, Campbell was featured on the cover of Elle’s British edition. In the late 1980s, Campbell formed a crew with fellow supermodels Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista that would come to be know as the “Trinity.” Campbell had a brief singing career, releasing an album in 1994, and a modest acting career. Campbell is perhaps best known for the tumult that has surrounded the better part of her career. Campbell became addicted to cocaine and was forced to enter rehab in the late 1990s. She has also been convicted of assault on a handful of occasions. Campbell has dated a variety of men, including Robert De Niro and Mike Tyson.
3. Claudia Schiffer
Schiffer is a German-born model that is most well known as the face of the iconic Guess jeans ads of the 1990s. Schiffer was also the Karl Lagerfeld-selected face of Chanel. Her gorgeous, tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed look was perfect for fashion shows for houses like Yves Saint Laurent and Versace. Schiffer continues to do high-fashion modeling for companies like Dolce & Gabanna and Salvatore Ferragamo. Her great modeling career led to a not-so-great acting career that saw her starring in duds like Richie Rich and The Blackout. Aside from modeling, Schiffer became involved with UNICEF and was also a UK Goodwill Ambassador. She has dated Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, illusionist David Copperfield and musician Peter Gabriel, among others.
2. Cindy Crawford
Possibly the best known and successful of the group, Cindy Crawford is the epitome of a supermodel. Crawford is originally from DeKalb, Illinois. After being snapped by a hometown newspaper photographer, Cindy’s fame inevitably began to skyrocket. Crawford was the valedictorian of her high school’s graduating class. This led to a scholarship in chemical engineering from the prestigious Northwestern University. After one session, Crawford decided to forego her education in favor of a modeling career in New York. The result: Crawford became one of the most recognizable faces of the 1990s, appearing on the covers of Vogue and Cosmo, just to name a few. Crawford was a cultural touchstone, appearing in ads (Gianni Versace), films (Fair Game) and TV Shows (3rd Rock from the Sun). Crawford was first married to actor Richard Gere and later to fellow model Rande Gerber. She currently designs a line of home goods for JC Penny and maintains her own furniture line, the Cindy Crawford Home Collection.
1. Kate Moss
Kate Moss is the premier supermodel of the 1990s. Moss began her storied modeling career after being discovered by a talent agent in New York’s JFK International Airport. Her waifish, skinny looks became the preeminent example of the “heroin chic” fad that took hold of the fashion world during the mid-90s. Kate Moss was considered to be the opposite to busty supermodels like Cindy Crawford. Moss gained a great deal of prominence as a result of an ad campaign that she did with Calvin Klein. She rose to great heights within the fashion world, being featured in magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair and being tapped by huge fashion houses Chanel and Gucci to appear in advertisements. A scandal involving cocaine shortly derailed Moss’ career but her image quickly recovered. In 2007, Moss was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People. She has dated rock and roll problem child Pete Doherty in the past but has seemed to settle down with Jamie Hince, guitarist for the British band The Kills. She remains a huge force in the fashion world, earning a great deal as a model and designer.