It is easier for a model to be seen than heard, in fact, some people in the fashion industry would prefer it that way. But since the #MeToo movement and the Model Alliance, models have felt safe to speak up for themselves and to demand respect in their roles.
This means the idea of being a model is changing and that is in part thanks to early pioneers like Iman who in 1994 designed a cosmetics line particularly for African American, Asian, Latinx and multi-cultural women.
Before it was possible for models like Naomi Campbell to speak out against racial inequalities in fashion, models like Iman were forced to adjust around the system.
Iman found her own way to support women in fashion and women of color by creating a beauty company, filling a void severely lacking in the market.
Since then we’ve had model disrupters like Tyra Banks, a media mogul and the founder of America’s Next Top Model. Her media platform completely changed how competitive reality shows were structured and her own show, ANTM, currently teaches models how to walk and pose but also how to be brand ambassadors, business people and advocates.
And now there is Gigi Hadid, one of the first models in the industry to receive sponsorship and credit as a partner in fashion not simply as “the face” of the brand.
New “role models” like the women above demand to be seen and heard, they use their platforms to push aside stereotypes of who we think they are and instead they are telling us and showing us who they really are.
Below are four high fashion models who push the limits to be the best version of themselves, breaking boundaries and proving nothing is impossible.