In the world of catwalks, haute couture, and stick-thin walking mannequins with legs that go on for miles, the general perception of everything that’s connected to this field is that it’s all about glamour and beauty. The public always expects models to be flawless, whether it’s on photoshoots or on the runway. But of course it’s not all that. Not at all.
Many models, especially those who are just starting out, have to put up with meager paychecks and payments in kind—not really anything that will help put food on the table. They’re pressured to look good at all times and to stick to a certain weight range. Yes, they may seem like they’ve got it all together while they’re strutting the runway. But they have their faux pas moments too, like when they trip and fall. The downside about live shows is a mistake can’t be undone. The models can either die of embarrassment and leave the industry with their tail between their legs; or pick themselves right back up, hold their head up high, and laugh at themselves for being imperfect human beings just like everyone else.
12 Jessica Stam
Canadian model Jessica Stam is part of the elite crop of models from the “doll faces” category. She was in the top 15 highest earning supermodels in the Forbes 2007 list, earning an estimated $1.5 million in that year alone. She has walked hundreds of catwalks, but probably the show that garnered her the most attention was when she fell during the Chloe Fall 2006 fashion show in Paris. Stam was shown to have been wearing absurdly high heels that got tangled when her feet crossed each other. She fell headfirst to the floor.
11 Kamila Wawrzyniak
It’s a shame that Kamila Wawrzyniak has not exactly joined the ranks of elite supermodels because she’s got a pretty magnetic presence on the catwalk. Instead, she’s most famously (or infamously) known for being a klutz when she tripped and fell during the Vivienne Westwood Spring 2007 show. Her initial stumble brought her down to her knees. She graciously picked herself back up and even fluffed her hair with an air of unfazed self-confidence. Unfortunately, she didn’t quite recover because she wobbled and fell a second time.
10 Nina Porter
It’s challenging enough being a runway model as an adult. But when you’re a 16-year-old thrust into the fashion world, the experience can be quite daunting. Teenage schoolgirl model Nina Porter was given the much-coveted task of closing Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2011 show and she knew it was going to be a huge notch on her fledgling career. But the young Porter’s heels were apparently too high for her comfort and she fell to her knees as she wore the final outfit in the collection.
9 Tiiu Kuik
Her name is as uniquely beautiful as her looks, so it’s no wonder that Estonian model Tiiu Kuik was discovered by a model scout at the tender age of 13 at a random grocery store. She has modeled for big brands such as Gucci, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton, successfully strutting down the cat walk for these top designers. But it was during the Oscar De La Renta 2004 fashion show that Kuik had the misfortune of tripping over the hem of her flowy pants as she walked the runway and stumbling to the floor.
8 Lindsey Wixson
Back in 2011, then 17-year-old American model Lindsey Wixson was the fashion world’s latest up-and-coming. She is most known for her distinguishable “rosebud pout” lips and has modeled for top fashion houses like Chanel, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen. But Wixson’s name was indelibly placed on the fashion map when during Naomi Campbell’s Fashion For Relief fund-raising show, the teenager fell not once, not twice, but three times as she walked towards the backstage area.
7 Milana Bogolepova
The higher the heels of the shoes, the more difficult it is to walk. Throw in an ultra-thin heel and it’s an accident waiting to happen. Such was the case for model Milana Bogolepova during the Dior Resort show in 2008. The blond, blue-eyed Russian model was wearing sky-high heels to accentuate the beach cover up and bikini bottom she was touting and the shoes caused her to stumble not just once, but twice as she made her way down the runway, which wasn’t straight, but curved, making it more of a challenge to walk on.
6 Elise Crombez
Discovered in 1999 when she entered a fashion contest, Belgian model Elise Crombez has had a prolific career as a supermodel. She has modeled for top fashion houses like Prada, Versace, and Armani. But it was her stint at the Proenza Schouler Spring 2007 show that garnered her the most attention. Crombez infamously fell in the middle of the runway, her too-high heels causing her to lunge forward and fall. She picked herself back up with poise, freeing herself of the offending shoes and waking the rest of the runway in bare feet.
5 Monika Jagaciak
Her initial presence in the fashion world caused a lot of controversy when she landed a job to walk the runway for Hermes in 2007 at the young age of 13. Polish model Monika Jagaciak went on to model for Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, but it was during her stint at the Herve Leger runway that Jagaciak embarrassingly fell on her butt while wearing a short, tight skirt. Many blamed the towering-high platform shoes.
4 Iekeliene Stange
During her days as a multimedia design student in a Rotterdam college, Iekeliene Stange was scouted to be a model and her life was never the same again. She has appeared as a print model and in the runway shows of such famous designers as Chloe, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs. It was during the Marc Jacobs Spring 2007 show that Stange became the victim of circumstance, as she walked a runway wearing slippery-soled shoes. In frustration, she simply kicked off her sandals and continued her strut barefoot.
3 Karen Elson
It’s rare to find a runway model who also happens to be a musician, but such a paragon exists in the person of Karen Elson. The British 36-year-old was a model before she was a singer-songwriter and guitarist, having been discovered at 16. With her fiery red curls and alabaster skin, Elson certainly makes heads turn wherever she goes, but especially during the Zac Posen Fall 2008 show. Elson stumbled on the runway while wearing a wide-skirted gown and crazy-high platform heels.
2 Lara Stone
Being hailed as one of the highest earning models by Forbes is no mean feat. But getting to the top was all about hard work and determination for Dutch model Lara Stone. Having been discovered at the young age of 12, she made her catwalk debut for Givenchy and for a time modeled exclusively for Calvin Klein. She recounted her embarrassing experience of falling during Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring 2007 show, saying she’ll never forget the incident.
1 Naomi Campbell
Yes, even one of the top supermodels of the world has her cringe-worthy moments. English model Naomi Campbell was on top of the world as one of the most in-demand models in the 1980s and 1990s. But for all her experience in the hundreds of cat walks she’s taken over, Campbell was still victim to a blunder. During the Vivienne Westwood show in 1993, she appeared on the floor wearing outrageous 12-inch high platform shoes. With shoes that insane, she predictably stumbled and fell flat on bum.