We all know about what it means to be a top model. You have to be skinny and you have to be gorgeous. But as the years have gone by this has started to change, bit by bit. For one, there are now plus-size models with lots of curves, such as Ashley Graham, that are in high demand, both on print and on the runway.
There is another trend going on right now as well. A lot of top models are not quite so beautiful as you might expect. In fact, some of them are downright awful looking. I know that might sound horrible, but let me back up a second. These are women that are being paid to be attractive, to make you want to look at them so you will buy whatever product they are hawking. I am not the kind of dude that would go around insulting random women on the street and saying that they were ugly. But this is different. These are women that are being paid millions of dollars to make me want to look at them, and the truth of the matter is, all I want to do is look away. As far as I know "Hey let's hire some chick that is totally repelling" is not the goal of most modeling campaigns.
Some of the women on this list are almost good looking but just have a few odd quirks while others... Well, I hate to say it, but they are super ugly. Hey, please don't shoot the messenger. Anyway, here are 15 top models who are actually ugly.
15 Laura O'Grady
Laura is a model from Ireland, who has had some degree of success; when she was young she was often teased about her large protruding ears, but she never thought of getting surgery for them. Which of course makes sense because most of us don't get surgery for things like that. Of course what does not make sense is that Laura got a job as a top model. Can you picture a bunch of model talent scouts sitting around and going "Okay so we have this one, she has nice eyes and is super skinny, and also she has these freaking enormous ears- I say we sign her!" The thing is, if you check her Instagram she looks quite lovely, but in most of her fashion photos they actually seem to play up the size of her ears.
14 Cierra Skye
Cierra burst on the scene modeling for Marc Jacobs. This is how she is described by one website: "Her beautifully unusual features—extraordinarily high cheekbones, porcelain skin, and mermaid-length hair—are what made her stand out this season. She’s often described as “Renaissance-looking” or “swan-like,” labels that are quickly helping her build her own brand of beauty". Yeah I have to say, I am not buying it. We can go all in on the whole looking like she came from the Renaissance era thing if we want, but in my book being compared to a swan is not a compliment and Cierra is not hot in a way that a model should be. She has the whole unique thing going on, but that does not equal hot.
13 Liza Ostanina
Liza is just odd looking. Check this out: "Liza Ostanina’s unusual, striking beauty, wide-set, icy blue eyes, fair skin and soft freckles, has made her a favorite on the runways of Gucci, Prada, Jil Sander, Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen." Okay, I need to call a timeout. What am I missing here? Her "unusual striking beauty?" I will say one part of that assessment is accurate - the "unusual" part. She says she was surprised when she got her first offer from a big modeling agency, because she did not think that she was pretty. Liza, you are not alone in that, I am pretty surprised. too. Her mother is also a model and Liza was discovered when she was in her early teens, and started modeling in Japan at age 15.
12 Kelly Mittendorf
No, just no. What the heck is going on here? Kelly is a 22-year-old model from Scottsdale, Arizona who has been featured in magazines including Vogue, Vogue Italia, Marie Claire, L'Officiel, Harper's Bazaar, Love, Dazed & Confused, V Magazine, and Elle. So I have to say despite being the one that is writing this article, I do get it. It makes sense in a way. These women all have some sort of beauty, combined with some sort of odd characteristic, that gets you looking at them and going "Hmm, she is kind of hot, but I also don't get what is up with that mouth" kind of thing. But when it comes to Kelly I have to admit, I not only don't want to look, but I am sorry that I did in the first place.
11 Daphne Groeneveld
Daphne is a 21-year-old model from the Netherlands who has already had quite a career and made a lot of cash. It started in 2010 when she was just 15. She has worked for designers such as Anna Sui, Chanel, Dior, Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci, Etro, Fendi, Gucci, Jason Wu, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Shiatzy Chen, and Versace. Daphne falls less in the "ugly" category and more in the "Ummm you look kind of weird" category. She sort of looks like what would happen if Heidi Klum did the deed with an alien from outer space, and also, what is up with that mouth? She is strangely appealing and totally repellent all at once.
10 Julia Zimmer
Julia is a native of Germany who has worked with Vivienne Westwood and Prada. She says of her start in the business: "It came pretty fast...discovered November, first shows during Berlin FW in January that is how NY recognized me and then in April my first Job was the Prada Campaign." Julia does have a unique look, there is no doubt about that. The thing is though, unique is not always a good thing. She looks like half fashion model and half that weird kid in the back of the room that eats paste. It is hard to find what she has been up to over the last year or so when it comes to modeling so it might be possible that her secret was discovered, which is of course that Julia is not that hot. Shhh- don't tell anyone.
9 Issa Lish
Issa is a model of Japanese heritage, but one who is from Mexico. She was discovered when she worked at her dad's sushi restaurant, which was a punishment for her having bad grades. Lish has appeared on the cover of Vogue México, Vogue Italia and Vogue Japan and has done a lot of shows for Prabal Gurung, Céline, and Prada. With Issa it is not that she is particularly ugly, or even all that odd looking, it is just that she is very plain. And before you get all mad at me for pointing that out and judging her for her appearance, she is a model for crying out loud! If a guy is a quarterback and he stinks, then no one would care if I pointed it out. Issa just does not seem to have the look to be a high profile model.
8 Magdalena Frackowiak
In a list of top models who are not so hot looking, some are going to be less ugly than others. Magdalena is a Polish model who has worked for Christian Dior, Lanvin, Balmain, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Prada, Givenchy, Versace, Etro, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Chloé, Karl Lagerfeld, Balenciaga, MaxMara, Blumarine, and Paco Rabanne. She also is a jewelry designer. Now when it comes to her looks, she is not really what one would call ugly, but her cheekbones are kind of odd, and let's face it, her face is shaped funny. I know that sounds mean, but hey, at least I didn't say she was really ugly. See, I can be nice.
7 Damaris Goddrie
Okay, I have to say that I just don't see it. According to Damaris she had to beat modeling scouts off with a stick and says: "I was scouted a few times by different agencies. It was only when I was scouted three times by the same agency that I decided to take modeling seriously." She has worked for Vogue Italia and Garage Magazine among many others. When it comes to Damaris it is not that she is totally unattractive; it is more that she just is not super hot. Isn't that what models are supposed to be though? Super hot? When it comes to being a top model it seems that women should actually be smoking hot, and not just kind of cute, quirky and a bit exotic looking. But hey, that's just my opinion, I guess.
6 Lindsey Wixson
Lindsey began her modeling career in 2009. She started by hitting all the New York agencies. IMG models and numerous other top agencies rejected her because they thought her looks were not right to be a model. The looks they are talking about include her puffed up lips, her odd little pout, and the gap between her teeth. She has worked with Chanel, John Galliano, Versace Vanitas, Miu Miu, Jill Stuart and Alexander McQueen. So while apparently IMG was not correct about her career trajectory, in my opinion they were right about her looks. I mean, what is going on with her mouth? Does it look like that all the time, or is she doing it on purpose, and if it is on purpose, for the love of God, why?
5 Alek Wek
Alek lived in South Sudan before she moved to Great Britain. She started modeling in 1995 when she was 18. She and her family went to Britain in 1991 to escape the civil war in Sudan. She signed with Ford Models in 1996 and was in the Janet Jackson video "Got 'Til It's Gone." In 1997 MTV named her model of the year. Now it isn't that Alek is ugly, and of course I find her story amazing, and inspirational even. But let's face it, she is kind of odd looking. I get that an odd looking model that is as striking as her is going to turn some heads, and certainly she has a frame that is made for modeling, as she is 5' 11", but let's not kid ourselves; Alek leans more towards the ugly duckling side of things then towards beautiful.
4 Iekeliene Stange
Iekeliene is a Dutch fashion model who originally was scouted in Rotterdam. She has appeared in runway shows for Chloé, Chanel, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Dior, and Kenzo. It is not that she is ugly per se, it is more just that she is very odd looking. Like if she were a space alien, she would be the very hottest one of the group. But the thing is, she is not a space alien; she is a top model. Like many others on this list I can get why she gets hired for runway work; she has the body for it, and you are going to look at her when she struts down the catwalk. But with that said, if you saw her working the cash register at Arby's, you wouldn't even think twice about her. Context is everything, and Iekeliene is equal parts gorgeous and ugly.
3 Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds
Esmeralda is a model from Pennsylvania, who has worked with Vogue, Dolce & Gabbana, and Yves Saint Laurent. She recently wrote a piece about struggling with anorexia in which she says: "Almost a year ago I entered Evergreen Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado, considered by many as the premier facility for eating disorders in the United States. But never in my anger, did I blame fashion for what I’d done to my own body. Modeling wasn’t what made me sick." It was very brave of her to share her experiences, but this post has nothing to do with her weight. But it does have to do with her face. While certainly not unattractive, Esmeralda has the kind of looks that just don't scream out "top model."
2 Molly Bair
Molly is without a doubt one of the oddest looking models on this, or any other list. She has done runway work for Miu Miu, Fendi, Moschino, Prada, Vera Wang, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Balenciaga, Sonia Rykiel, DKNY, Michael Kors and many other designers. During her adolescence, other kids made fun of her. She was super thin, 6' tall, and had a strange face. She told CNN: "I would never think that a girl who spent most of her childhood with a unibrow, glasses and a Yoda shirt would be in Vogue Italia." In the same interview she said she was going for an "alien-rat-demon-goblin-gremlin sort of vibe". See now- Molly gets it. Finally there is someone on this list who I don't have to worry about being all bummed out if she reads this.
1 Lily McMenamy
Lily McMenamy is not the first odd looking model in her family. In fact her mother, Kristen McMenamy was a top model in the '90s who was known for being unconventional and androgynous. Lily says her mother is her favorite model, and that she has been a huge influence on her. While a lot of folks seem to think her looks don't qualify her to be a top model, the work she gets says otherwise. She has worked for Chanel and Louis Vuitton as well as many others. It seems that if you want to be a top model you can be one if you are ugly. You may not be able to do so if you are totally gorgeous. But if you can combine being totally gorgeous with being kind of ugly, it seems like you are going to make a lot of money. Lily is proof positive of this.
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