The term “supermodel” is generally applied to any fashion model with the highest pay scale and who has several international projects in her kitty. Supermodels are celebrities in their own way and only work for the top brands. Invariably, a supermodel is one who’s got her own personal brand and getting associated with a company gives the firm more repute than the model itself. In fact, some supermodels even have their own sub-brands or brand line. Simply put, supermodels are the top earners in the modeling industry. They don the front pages of famous beauty and fashion magazines and work with the best fashion designers and photographers.

Naomi Campbell appeared on the British Vogue cover in 1987, making her the first black girl to take the coveted space since 1966. Image credit: Flickr
Naomi Campbell appeared on the British Vogue cover in 1987, making her the first black girl to take the coveted space since 1966. Image credit: Flickr

A supermodel can be a female or male, but the term is usually identified with a female model. Also, the first model to be called a supermodel is female. The popular female supermodels are Cindy Crawford, Twiggy, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss, to name a few. The male supermodel list includes Marcus Schenkenberg, Tyson Beckford, Mark Vanderloo, Hoyt Richards, etc. Gaining “supermodel” status requires a lot of hardship and dedication and with the increasing number of models, the competition is only getting intense. However, looks, style and overall personality are the most vital to a supermodel.

History

It’s believed the “supermodel” term came into existence during the 1940s, but it gained increased prominence only during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Lisa Fonssagrives is considered the first supermodel ever – long before Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and the likes made their presence felt. Born on May 17, 1911, Lisa was the biggest fashion model in the ‘40s. However, she wasn’t a household name and was only known within the modeling circles. Suzy Parker, during the 1950s, was the first supermodel to have become popular among the general public.

Not Necessarily the Most Coveted

Supermodels don’t run behind modelling assignments. Under normal circumstances, work contracts come their way. However, there are brands and fashion designers who deliberately choose not to work with these top models. They do so fearing the model’s “supermodel” status may eclipse the actual design or product and not garner the necessary market attention it deserves. Most brands also opt for unknown or less popular models to avoid the costs and high maintenance associated with supermodels.