This London girl made the world turn their heads when she appeared in a documentary called The Model Agency in 2011. She’s a little embarrassed about it now, but who isn’t embarrassed by their 17 year old selves?!
She really broke onto the scene when she strutted down the runway for Victoria’s Secret in 2015. Since then she’s teamed up with Rihanna for makeup brand Fenty, walked for Armani and Adidas, and whipped up her own media storm.
Her own media storm, you say?! Right. She was dropped from London Fashion Week because apparently the designer only wanted ‘one black model’. She mentioned she’s also had terrible experiences in Paris, and particularly in Milan, where she’s turned down for castings because of her color. She took to Twitter to show the reality – and colorism, where lighter skinned black people are favored by designers – and it got a load of attention. Good, we say. Time to expose the ugly underbelly of the industry.
But this isn’t a girl who will stay down. She launched her own brand LAPP in 2017, teaming up with Nike, making anti-Trump T-shirts, and bringing her own brand of intersectional feminism to the world through her accompanying blog.
And what’s more, we love the messages she portrays on Instagram. ‘Stop trying so hard to fit into someone else’s idea of what’s hot,’ she encourages us. ‘Nothing beats authenticity.’
This amazing model was born as Chantelle Brown-Young in Canada, 1994, to a Jamaican lineage. As you can see, she has significant depigmentation of portions of her skin. This is because she has the skin condition vitiligo, which was diagnosed at the age of four.
Though we now see this as beautiful, it wasn’t always the case. Heartbreakingly, the young Chantelle was bullied mercilessly by other kids throughout her childhood. Cow, they called her. Zebra. And too many other names to count. The bullying was so bad that she had to move school numerous times. She then dropped out of high school, and considered suicide.
Thankfully, her mental health recovered, and she opened an Instagram account, trying to celebrate her own unique beauty and embrace it. And who should stumble on her account but… Tyra Banks herself! Tyra invited her to compete on America’s Next Top Model, where she showed the world that vitiligo can’t stop her from being drop dead gorgeous.
Following her stint on the show, she strutted the catwalk at London Fashion Week, modelled for Diesel, appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, and the Vogue Italia website. Not to mention shooting campaigns for Sprite and Swarovski!
How could we have a list like this without including Tyra?! Whatever you think of this beauty queen, you can’t deny how much she’s done for models, including women of color, on America’s Next Top Model. She created the show in 2003 as Executive Producer and presented it for 22 cycles. Rita Ora jumped on board to present the 23rd cycle, but Tyra strutted back in for the 24th, and we couldn’t be happier.
Tyra’s a California girl at heart. She was born to a medical photographer and a computer consultant in 1973. But not everyone appreciated her beauty during her youth. She was teased for her looks at a young age and called an ‘ugly duckling’. But she had the last laugh when she blossomed into her beauty and began modelling at age 15.
Her big break was the 1991 Paris Fashion Week, where she strutted her stuff in no less than 25 shows! An illustrious career packed full of magazine shoots and runway appearances followed.
But Tyra didn’t just want to model – she was geared up to hit the screen, too! She started in Fresh Prince of Bel Air alongside Will Smith, and before long she had her own production company, Bankable Productions. She acted in movies such as Love & Basketball and Coyote Ugly, and then turned to creating her own shows. She made a movie called the Clique in 2008, ran The Tyra Banks Show for 5 years – winning two Emmys in the process – and of course created America’s Next Top Model. She’s one of the most powerful and influential black women in television. Hello, Superwoman!
She also lectures on branding at Stanford, and has her own cosmetics line. Is there anything this woman can’t do?!
6 Black Female Models That Do The Sisters Proud Conclusion
These women are incredible, right?! They all show that being a model is much more than looking good and pouting in front of the camera. These women are intelligent, dedicated, entrepreneurial, opinionated, and creative – as well as being beautiful.
We’re so proud of you, ladies. Keep shining!
If you want to discover more sisters to be proud of, check out our favorite black female rappers.