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The Most Iconic Supermodel the Year You Were Born

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Throughout the years, the face of the modeling industry has changed.



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Today, more plus-size and diverse models are walking the runway than ever before, signaling how the body-positivity movement has impacted fashion.

We decided to look back at some of the most famous models throughout history and the impact they had on the industry. We also determined the year in which they were arguably at the top of their game.

From Twiggy in the ’60s to Gisele Bündchen in the ’90s and 2000s, these models have certainly left their mark.

1950: Jean Patchett was a leading model throughout the 1940s and 1950s.


Jean Patchett.

John Rawlings/Condé Nast via Getty Images

She was said to have defined the era when it came to beauty.

1951: Mary Jane Russell appeared on the cover of many issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

mary jane russell

Mary Jane Russell.

Genevieve Naylor/Corbis via Getty Images

According to The New York Times, she achieved success despite being shorter than other models at only 5 feet 6 inches.

1952: Georgia Hamilton appeared on the cover of Life magazine.

georgia hamilton

Georgia Hamilton.

Ted Croner/Condé Nast via Getty Images

She was a popular fashion model during the 1940s and 1950s. 

1953: Cherry Nelms was one of the favorite muses of photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe.

Cherry Nelms model

Cherry Nelms.

Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images

She was a top model during the 1950s.

1954: Sunny Harnett was a model frequently photographed by Richard Avedon during the height of her modeling career in the mid-1950s.

Sunny Harnett model

Sunny Harnett.

Joseph Leombruno/Condé Nast via Getty Images

She was also frequently photographed by Edgar de Evia.

1955: Dovima was a well-known American model during the 1950s and even appeared as a model in the Audrey Hepburn film, “Funny Face.”



Anthony Calvacca/New York Post Archives via Getty Images

A Richard Avedon photograph of Dovima with elephants at a Paris circus in 1955 is one of the most famous fashion photographs of all time, according to Time 100 Photos.

1956: Evelyn Tripp was well known during the 1950s and 1960s.

Evelyn Tripp model

Evelyn Tripp.

Karen Radkai/Conde Nast via Getty Images

According to The New York Times, she was known especially for her remarkably high cheekbones.

1957: Suzy Parker was an American actress and model.

suzy parker

Suzy Parker.

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She was reportedly the first model to earn $100,000 per year, which would be $922,000 today, according to Vanity Fair.

1958: Marilyn Monroe is one of the best-known actresses of all time.

marilyn monroe niagara

Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in front of Niagara Falls.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

However, she also modeled throughout her life.

1959: Dolores Hawkins was a singer and model who appeared on a number of magazine covers during the late 1950s.

Dolores Hawkins

Dolores Hawkins.

Stephen Colhoun/Condé Nast via Getty Images

She appeared on Glamour, Vogue, and Mademoiselle.

1960: Sondra Peterson was so popular during her career that she was featured in the May 1960 issue of Seventeen in an article titled, “How to Look Like Sondra Peterson.”

sondra peterson

Sondra Peterson.

Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images

She was signed with Ford Models.

1961: Dorothy McGowan appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Glamour during the 1960s.

dorothea mcgowan

Dorothy McGowan.

Vogue/Conde Nast

She was also photographed by Richard Avedon. 

1962: Brigitte Bardot was an actress and part-time model who gained fame.

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot.

Hulton Archive via Getty Images

According to Biography, Bardot was known for portraying more sexualized characters during the height of the sexual revolution.

1963: The daughter of a German resistance fighter, Veruschka reportedly used modeling as a way to escape her tumultuous childhood.

Veruschka model


Henry Clarke/Conde Nast via Getty Images

Veruschka had “seemingly endless limbs and torso, more willowy than a summer river bank” and “a face that could vacillate between little girl lost and imperious Romanov princess,” according to The Rake.

1964: Tania Mallet is an English actress and model known for playing James Bond’s love interest in the 1964 film, “Goldfinger.”

Tania Mallet model

Tania Mallet.

Larry Ellis/Express via Getty Images

Mallet appeared in the third “Bond” movie, widely considered one of the best.

1965: Jean Shrimpton is regarded as one of the most notable supermodels in history.

Jean Shrimpton

Jean Shrimpton.

Popperfoto/Getty Images

… and as one of the most defining faces of the decade.

1966: Twiggy gained her famous nickname from her thin frame, and she quickly became a household name during the swinging ’60s and mod era in London.



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“I had a look — I can see that now — but I don’t think I was beautiful,” Twiggy told the Guardian in 2009, “Much too thin.”

1967: Pat Booth was an English model.

Pat Booth model

Pat Booth.

McKeown/Express/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

She stood out for her more “punk” look during the late ’60s.

1968: Naomi Sims has been called the first Black supermodel, largely in part to her landing the cover of Ladies Home Journal in 1968.

Naomi Sims model

Naomi Sims.

AP Images

Sims’ appearance on the cover was a “consummate moment of the Black is Beautiful movement,” reported The New York Times in her 2009 obituary.

1969: Cristina Ferrare signed with Eileen Ford when she was 20.

Cristina Ferrare model

Cristina Ferrare.

Getty Images

She graced the covers of multiple magazines.

1970: Karen Graham was the exclusive face of Estée Lauder for 15 years.

Karen Graham, Vogue

Karen Graham pictured for Vogue.

David Bailey/Conde Nast via Getty Images

This made her the first model to win a beauty contract, Estée or otherwise.

1971: Before she was a musician, Grace Jones walked runways.

grace jones

Grace Jones.

Keith Hamshere/Getty Images

She secured a modeling contract aged 18 and made waves after moving to Paris in 1970.

1972: Marisa Berenson appeared on the covers of Vogue and Time magazine.

marisa berenson

Marisa Berenson.

AP Images

Yves Saint Laurent even dubbed her the “girl of the ’70s,” according to the Telegraph.

1973: Lauren Hutton signed her million-dollar contract with Revlon in 1973.

Lauren Hutton model

Lauren Hutton.

Bob Stone/Conde Nast via Getty Images

It was the biggest contract in modeling history, according to Interview Magazine.

1974: Before she was an actress, Rene Russo was a successful model who appeared on the cover of Vogue nine times.

Rene Russo model

Rene Russo.

Francesco Scavullo/Condé Nast via Getty Images

According to the publication, Russo “stood for a sexiness that was both accessible and aspirational.”

1975: Cheryl Tiegs made the cover of Sports Illustrated three times, including in 1975, which made her the “Golden Girl of the ’70s.”

Cheryl Tiegs

Cheryl Tiegs.

AP Images

Her most iconic photoshoot was yet to come, in 1978.

1976: The iconic poster of Farrah Fawcett in her red bathing suit was released in 1976. It sold 20 million copies, making it the best-selling poster of all time.

farrah fawcett

Farrah Fawcett.

AP Images

The swimsuit is now in the Smithsonian, according to the Chicago Tribune.

1977: Jerry Hall was, and still is, a successful model and tabloid fixture.

jerry hall

Jerry Hall.

Art Zelin/Getty Images

At the time, she was dating Mick Jagger and regularly seen at New York City hotspot, Studio 54.

1979: During her short life, Gia Carangi appeared on many magazine covers, including Cosmopolitan and Vogue in 1979, and was one of the first openly LGBTQ models.

gia carangi

Gia Carangi.

Andrea Blanch/Getty Images

Sadly, she died just a few years later in 1986 at the age of 26 due to AIDS-related complications. Angelina Jolie played Carangi in the 1998 film “Gia.”

1981: Iman remains a household name to this day.



Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

She was at the height of her modeling career during the early 1980s.

1982: Renee Simonsen was chosen to represent Denmark in the 1982 Eileen Ford Supermodel contest and won.

renee simonsen

Renee Simonsen.

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Simonson appeared on the cover of Vogue five times.

1983: Christie Brinkley was well known throughout the ’70s and ’80s.

christie brinkley 80s

Christie Brinkley.

Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images

She was loved for her sporty, girl-next-door look — and her marriage to rock star Billy Joel.

1984: Carol Alt appeared on over 500 magazine covers throughout the 1980s.

carol alt

Carol Alt.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Her covers included Vogue, Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Mademoiselle, Elle, and Cosmopolitan.

1985: By the mid-1980s, Beverly Johnson was a household name after breaking boundaries in the ’70s.

Beverly Johnson model

Beverly Johnson.

Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

In 1974, Beverly Johnson became the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue.

1986: Janice Dickinson has been called the first official supermodel after she coined the phrase during an interview.

janice dickinson

Janice Dickinson.

Harry Langdon/Getty Images

New generations may know Dickinson best as one of the original judges on “America’s Next Top Model.”

1987: Elle Macpherson solidified her place as an icon after appearing for the second time on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue in 1987.

elle macpherson 80s

Elle Macpherson.

Ron Galella/Contributor via Getty Images

She’s famously known as “The Body.”

1988: Paulina Porizkova made headlines after signing what was then the highest-paying modeling contract.

paulina poriscova

Paulina Porizkova.

Marty Lederhandler/AP Images

The contract was $6 million per year as the face of Estée Lauder.

1989: Kathy Ireland’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover remains one of the magazine’s most-sold issues to date.

Kathy Ireland, 1983

Kathy Ireland, pictured in 1983.

Harry Langdon/Getty Images

The cover, not pictured, was taken in 1989.

1990: Christy Turlington shot to fame after appearing in Calvin Klein’s Eternity campaign the year before.

Christy Turlington

Christy Turlington.

Peter Kramer/AP Images

“Oh gosh, it’s so funny. But there’s nothing that hasn’t happened before, guys. In the ’80s we were all doing the ’60s. In the ’90s, we were doing the ’70s,” Turlington told Elle, regarding the resurgence of ’90s fashion.

1996: Tyra Banks made history as the first Black model to be on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover alongside Valeria Mazza.

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks.


The next year, she would be the first Black model to land a solo cover.

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