The story of African Americans in the modeling world is often one of resilience, with a number of black models forging a path for themselves and their communities in an industry that has often stuck to narrow, limited notions of who should be seen and celebrated. Here are some of the models who parlayed their runway and print success into other forms of gainful creativity. Born in London, Naomi Campbell was approached by a scout in the mids when she was a teenager. Campbell has faced a number of public difficulties, including guilty pleas to aggravated assault and substance abuse issues. She has also ventured professionally outside of the fashion world, singing and the occasional acting gig. But, as the exception to the rule when looking at the parameters of this list, it is her decades-long work as a model and appearances related to such that have continued to keep her at the forefront of conversations. In she released the coffee table book Naomi Campbell , commemorating 30 years in the business. With a modeling career that started in New York, Jamaica native Grace Jones eventually made her way to Paris, where she became the hit of the town. Encouraged by model Pat Cleveland, Jones embarked on a singing career.
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Supermodel Adut Akech said she felt disrespected after an Australian magazine published a feature article about her with the image of a different black model. Akech appeared in Who Magazine ahead of Melbourne Fashion Week, but the Australian publication instead printed an image of Flavia Lazarus, another black model, at the show. Akech is one of the fashion industry's most sought after models and has appeared in shows for such brands as Chanel, Givenchy and Valentino and on the covers of the Australian, British, Italian and Korean editions of Vogue. Time magazine named her one of the most influential teenagers in The year-old explained in her Instagram post over the weekend that she had given deep thought about how to approach the situation as it was not sitting well with her. But it was of another black girl," she wrote. Akech fled South Sudan for Kenya where she lived in a refugee camp until age 8 before seeking asylum in Australia in She said that in the Who Magazine interview, she discussed how people view refugees and people of color in general. Who Magazine apologized in a statement, saying it had been given the wrong picture by the agency that set up the interview. Akech said that not only did she feel insulted and disrespected, but she also felt as though her entire race has been disrespected, so she believed it was important to address the issue publicly.
By Raquel Laneri. February 5, pm Updated February 6, pm. What made the show revolutionary were the models: a group of nonprofessionals with unabashedly dark skin and natural, unprocessed, curly hair. They were part of the newly formed Grandassa Models, and they were as unlike any fashion plates as the crowd had ever seen. I think a number of people came to laugh. Yet by the end of the evening, audience members were cheering the models.
If you're in need of a little Black Girl Magic , we've got quite the inspiring list. From trailblazing firsts to impressive cultural shifts, in the past 20 years, these famous African American women like former First Lady Michelle Obama , Serena Williams , Tracee Ellis Ross, Tamron Hall , and Gabrielle Union , to mention a few have made a name for themselves while creating a platform for so many more to follow in their footsteps. And don't worry: We'll be updating this list regularly. Got suggestions? Let us know on Instagram , Twitter , or Facebook! Claim to fame : Writer, producer, transgender rights activist. Why she's extraordinary : Mock, who will be awarded with the Stephen F. With her work on Pose, she became the first transgender woman of color to write and direct a TV episode. She's also a New York Times bestselling author and signed a three year multi-million dollar deal with Netflix in