Many of us love looking at models. They make the clothes in our catalogs that much more appealing. They wear some of the most unique clothes out there while they walk down the catwalk. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion show is one of the biggest events of the year. And I’m pretty sure all you guys love looking at these gorgeous ladies as well.
Modeling has been around for centuries. Up until the 1800s, the term model was used for people that posed for portraits. After the invention of the camera, the term was used to refer to people that posed for magazine advertisements. One of the first modeling agencies was Ford Models, founded in 1946 by Gerard and Eileen Ford. Models were not really a part of pop culture at that point, though. They were only known in the fashion industry. Some models made $25/hr, which was a lot for the time.
Nowadays, modeling is a pretty huge profession. Many people start off as models and later get into acting or singing. You can find models for just about anything and in just about every shape, size and color. Today, I present for you the top 13 most beautiful black models. I’m including models from all ages and eras and I’m also considering those ladies that started out as models and are more famous for their singing and acting now.
This lovely lady is David Bowie’s widow, Iman. She was married to the late singer for 23 years. She was born Iman Abdulmajid in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1955. She was the producer and host for Project Runway Canada. She was also a judge of The Fashion Show from 2009 – 2011. She even has her own action figure based on her character, Martia, from the sixth Star Trek movie. She also speaks five languages: Arabic, English, French, Italian, and Somali.
12. Tyra Banks
Let me get another obvious choice out of the way. Tyra Banks is well known for America’s Next Top Model and her talk show. She was the first African-American model to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in the winter of 1997. She wore a red/pink polka-dot bikini. She tried to have a singing career, but she didn’t get very far with that venture. She has done a bit of acting as well. She was on one episode of Glee. She was one of the dancing bartenders in Coyote Ugly. She did a Disney Channel movie with Lindsay Lohan (before the drugs). It was called Life-Size, and Lohan’s character accidentally turned her doll into a real person (played by Banks.)
11. Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is a lovely British model. She studied at the London Academy for Performing Center where she was discovered at the age of 15. She was the first black female on the covers of French Vogue, British Vogue, and Time magazines, according to IMDB. She teamed up with fellow models Elle MacPherson and Claudia Schiffer. She has done some acting as well. Most recently, she has been on eight episodes of Empire. She was even on two episodes of American Horror Story. In 2005, she appeared on the Tyra Banks show and settled their rivalry. She is the daughter of Valerie Campbell, a Jamaican dancer.
10. Jessica White
The beautiful Jessica White was born in 1984 in Buffalo, New York. She was discovered at the age of 16. She had a bit part in the movie, Big Mama’s House 2 in 2006. She was also in music videos for Jay-Z, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Trey Songz. At least she wasn’t in that horrible video for “Blurred Lines!” In 2008, she had a bit part in the Young & The Restless. She has walked the runway for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, and Marc Jacobs.
9. Philomena Kwao
Philomena Kwao was born in London to Ghanaian parents. She has modeled for many international companies such as Torrid, Lane Bryant, and others. She began her career in 2012. She isn’t just a pretty face. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in International Health Management. She was scouted at a modeling competition with Cosmopolitan UK, Models1, Evans and others all while pursuing a demanding degree. She signed with Ford Models in 2013, and she moved to New York City. Currently, she is signed with Models1 in the UK and JAG Models in the USA.
8. Chanel Iman
Chanel Iman is a beautiful model of Korean and African-American descent. She started with Ford Models at the age of 13. She appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue, Elle, and other teen magazines. As an adult, she was in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She has also modeled for brands such as GAP, Express, Ralph Lauren, and DKNY. She was also a guest judge on the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model in 2009. She has also been featured in editorials such as Allure, Pop, V, and Vogues.
7. Noémie Lenoir
Noemie Lenoir is a French model/actress. She is best known for appearing in magazines such as Elle and Sports Illustrated. She also modeled with Gucci, L’Oréal, Next, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, and Marks and Spencer. She grew up in a “ghetto” (her word, not mine) just outside of Paris. She was discovered by Ford Models in 1997 when she was only 17 years old. She was featured in Rush Hour 3 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
6. Bre Scullark
This beautiful lady was on America’s Next Top Model. Brittany “Bre” Scullark is an American model born in 1985 in Harlem, New York. As a child, she competed in local swimming competitions in elementary school. She won many medals from it. She was the 5th candidate on the 13th cycle of America’s Next Top Model. She caused some drama on the show when another contestant took her energy bar, so she took the other candidate’s energy drinks. It caused a big feud, and they didn’t speak to each other for a long time afterward. They were paired together at a modeling event in 2011, where they reconciled.
5. Tanisha Harper
Tanisha Harper is a Tokyo-born, African-American model. She was discovered at the age of 15 at a shopping mall, in Arizona, where she was living at the time. She has appeared in advertisements and catalogs for brands such as L’Oreal, Smashbox, MAC Cosmetics, Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, and Tommy Hilfiger. She competed on the sixth season of Project Runway. She started her acting career in a soap opera, The Bold and The Beautiful. She has also appeared in ABC’s Ugly Betty and she even had a featured role in the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
4. Beverly Johnson
This is the gorgeous Beverly Johnson. She was born in 1952 in Buffalo, New York. She was the first black model to grace the cover of the American Vogue in 1974. In 1975, she was the first African-American model to be on the cover of Elle, a French magazine. She had her own reality show Beverly Full House which aired on Oprah Winfrey’s television network. While she was a student at Northeastern University in criminal justice, she tried her hand at modeling. After this she earned herself a project with Glamour and from then her modeling career started taking an upward turn.
3. Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna is no longer with us, but she did some great work in the 1960s and 1970s, so I thought she deserved a place on my list. In 1966, she was the first African-American to appear on the cover of Vogue. She was born Peggy Ann Freeman in 1945 in Detroit, Michigan. Unfortunately, her career declined in the ’70s due to her drug use and eccentric behavior. She was deemed too difficult to work with when she was high. She passed from an accidental heroin overdose in 1979 at the age of 33. She left behind an 18-month-old daughter named Dream.
2. Jourdan Dunn
This is the lovely Jourdan Dunn, a British model born in 1990. In 2014, she became the new face for Maybelline New York. She made it onto the Forbes list of the richest models with a net worth of $4 million. She was the first African-American model to be featured on that list. She has been on said list for the last seven years. She appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2012, 2013, and 2014. She was discovered in 2006 and was signed by the London Storm Model Management agency. She appeared on runways for Polo, Ralph Lauren, and Marc Jacobs just one year later.
1. Yasmine Arrington
Yasmine Arrington is a wonderful plus-sized model. She is also a motivational speaker. She was born in 1993 in Washington, D.C. Her father was in and out of prison while she was growing up. She studied Communications and History at Elon University in North Carolina, and she is a graduate student at the Howard University School of Divinity. She started the foundation ScholarSHIPS to help students with incarcerated parents be able to attend college. They seek to defy the shame and stigma of having a previously incarcerated parent. They hold College Life Conferences with training on topics such as financial literacy, how to build credit, and sexual health.