Strike a pose.
The ‘90s was the golden age of supermodels. In this decade, we saw the rise of the “Big Six,” a.k.a. the most bookable names in the industry: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, and Christy Turlington. The way these models (and plenty more) ruled the runways of major fashion houses and were plastered across every magazine cover transformed the modeling industry into an important slice of pop culture.
The model-turned-celebrity formula is still seen today with the new crop of It girls like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Hailey Bieber. It’s about more than just the fashion (though ‘90s trends are decidedly “in” right now), as current models have continued to develop personal brands that secure their longevity in the industry.
Although ‘90s supermodels have recently reentered the zeitgeist thanks to the new Apple TV+ documentary series, The Super Models (set to release on Sept. 20), it can be argued that they never really left. Many of these women are still strutting down the catwalk and acting as the faces of global fashion campaigns. On Sept. 14, a few of the OG Supers — Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista, and Turlington — even walked the runway at Vogue World to kick off Spring/Summer 2024 London Fashion Week.
Now, let’s get into the women who earned the title of “super.” Ahead, we’ve rounded up the top supermodels who dominated the runway in the ‘90s and beyond.
Naomi Campbell is known for her iconic runway walk — there’s even a line in Beyoncé’s “Get Me Bodied (Extended Remix)” about it. After she was discovered at 15, Campbell brought her signature strut to the catwalk for every major fashion brand, including Versace, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Even with her success, the British model faced discrimination in her heyday and was often one of the only Black models in a runway lineup. She’s since advocated for diversity in fashion on both the runways and behind the scenes. Campbell still hits the runway these days and is a mom to two children.
Linda Evangelista famously coined the phrase that she and her colleagues “don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day." The Canadian model was a staple on the high-fashion runway in the ‘90s, walking for brands like Thierry Mugler and Chanel. Evangelista has also appeared on the cover of more than 700 magazines. Her ever-changing hairstyles, which included a platinum-blonde coif and a red bob, gave her an interesting look that designers loved.
In 2021, Evangelista raised awareness about the potential risks of the fat-reducing procedure called CoolSculpting after she suffered horrific side effects. She was still working in fashion up until 2016, when the failed procedure occurred, but has since returned to modeling. Evangelista shares one son with ex-partner François-Henri Pinault.
Christy Turlington was a member of what the fashion industry called “The Trinity” alongside Evangelista and Campbell. She was discovered at 14 while horseback riding, and became one of the most popular cover girls. In addition to gracing the cover of nearly every fashion magazine, the model was featured in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Maybelline, and Versace. She was also a staple on the runway for brands like Ralph Lauren and Dior.
Turlington still works in the fashion industry but has since developed a passion for philanthropy. She runs the organization Every Mother Counts, which works to improve maternal care worldwide, and directed the documentary film No Woman, No Cry. The model is also a mom to two children, whom she shares with husband Edward Burns.
A fashion and pop-culture icon, Cindy Crawford dominated the runway and brand campaigns with her signature beauty mark. The model walked for Hervé Léger, Donna Karan, Versace, and more. She was also the face of various brands, from Valentino and Revlon to Pepsi. Crawford’s iconic 1992 Pepsi commercial, which she recreated in August 2023, wasn’t her only appearance on the small screen. She also brought her modeling expertise to MTV’s House of Style when she hosted the show from 1989 to 1995.
In 1998, Crawford married former model Rande Gerber, and they share two children. While it’s her daughter Kaia Gerber who frequents the runway these days, Crawford still makes the occasional appearance herself.
Helena Christensen’s appearance in Chris Isaak’s music video for “Wicked Game” in 1990, which is now hailed as one of the sexiest videos of all time, jump-started a decade of major moments for the model. She became the face of Revlon in 1992 and appeared in runway shows for Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Givenchy. Christensen is also one of the original Victoria’s Secret Angels and was featured in the brand’s ads and runway shows in the late ‘90s.
Christensen is also an accomplished photographer and was the co-founder of Nylon magazine. She also shares a son with ex-partner Norman Reedus.
Claudia Schiffer was discovered in a German nightclub at 17, but it was her photo session with Ellen von Unwerth in 1989 that catapulted her modeling career. She became the face of Guess and Chanel, which was her first-ever runway show in 1990. Schiffer went on to close several shows as the Chanel bride in some of the house’s most iconic bridal looks. The model also walked for other major designers, including Versace and Valentino, and has appeared on over 1,000 magazine covers.
Schiffer continues to front the campaigns for brands like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Guess. In 2002, she married film director Matthew Vaughn, and they have three children together.
Kate Moss was discovered at just 14 and became known as the “anti-supermodel” due to her shorter height — she stands at 5-foot-7 — and waif-like features. The British model’s campaigns with Calvin Klein are some of the brand’s most iconic (and controversial) ads. She also appeared in campaigns and walked the runway for all the major fashion houses, including Dior, Prada, and Versace.
Moss is still featured in ad campaigns for fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, and founded her own talent agency called the Kate Moss Agency in 2016. Her daughter Lila Moss, whom she shares with ex-boyfriend Jefferson Hack, has followed in her mom’s modeling footsteps.
Tatjana Patitz posed alongside “The Big Six” for their iconic 1990 British Vogue cover, which earned her major recognition. She went on to walk the runway for Todd Oldham, Chanel, Dior, and more. The German model also fronted the campaigns for Salvatore Ferragamo, Vivienne Westwood, and Jil Sander. But Patitiz is perhaps best known for starring in George Michael’s “Freedom! ‘90” music video alongside Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista, and Turlington.
Patitz continued to model for Etro, Jean Paul Gaultier, and more throughout the 2010s before stepping back to raise her son, whom she shares with ex-husband Jason Johnson. In January 2023, the model died from breast cancer at the age of 56.
Before she was the host of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks was the one dominating the runway. She walked for all the major fashion houses in the ‘90s, including Dior, Donna Karan, and Thierry Mugler. Not only was Banks a runway staple, but she also appeared in several Covergirl campaigns and was an original Victoria’s Secret Angel. In 1996, she became the first Black model to land a solo cover of Sports Illustrated and GQ.
Banks transitioned from model to full-on media mogul in the 2000s, starring in films like Life-Size and Coyote Ugly. She also founded a production company called Bankable Productions, through which she created America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. Banks shares one son with ex-partner Erik Asla.
Stephanie Seymour started off the ‘90s with a bang. She was the face of Dior in 1992 and Valentino the following year. The model also hit the runway for major designers like Versace, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, and the list goes on. Seymour was just as popular off the runway and appeared in numerous magazines, including Playboy and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
The former Victoria’s Secret Angel still appears in the occasional fashion campaign but has since launched a lingerie brand called Raven & Sparrow. Seymour has been married to Peter Brant since 1995, and is also a mom to four children. Tragically, their son Peter passed away in 2021, at age 24.
Heidi Klum is a household name that was discovered in 1992 when she won a modeling contest in her native Germany. While she had some recognition in the mid-’90s, her career really took off when she landed the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in 1998. This led to a tenure as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, with Klum appearing in ads for the brand and modeling their lingerie on the runway for over a decade.
Like Banks, Klum made the transition to TV in the 2000s and joined the judge’s table for Project Runway, Germany’s Next Top Model, and America’s Got Talent. She’s also a mom to four children and has been married to musician Tom Kaulitz since 2019.
Kimora Lee Simmons
Kimora Lee Simmons signed an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel when she was only 13 and worked under the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, who regarded her as “the face of the 21st century.” She went on to walk the runway for other major fashion houses, including Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, and Fendi. In 1999, Simmons launched her lifestyle brand, Baby Phat, which became a cultural phenomenon and helped shape Y2K fashion.
Simmons later became the president of Phat Fashions but left the company in 2010. She relaunched Baby Phat in 2019 and has since partnered with various charities. The designer is also a mom to five children, including Ming and Aoki, who are both pursuing careers in modeling.
Carla Bruni was one of the highest-paid models of the ‘90s. She first hit the modeling scene in 1989 and walked for fashion houses like Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood, and Versace. In 1997, Bruni quit modeling to focus on her music career and has since released six albums. She’s been married to the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, since 2008, and they share two children together.
Amber Valletta landed her first Vogue cover in 1993 and began walking for designers like Dior, Chloe, and Versace. In 1999, she was the model who debuted the iconic green Versace dress (you know the one) that Jennifer Lopez later donned for the 2000 Grammys. She also hosted MTV’s House of Style from 1995 to 1996 with fellow model and pal Shalom Harlow.
Although Valletta has continued to model, she transitioned to acting in the 2000s, appearing in films like Hitch and Premonition. She’s also a mom to son Auden, whom she shares with ex-husband Chip McCaw.
Shalom Harlow was discovered at 17 while attending a concert for The Cure. She made a name for herself by walking the runway for major brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Todd Oldham, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Dior. The model has also appeared in numerous magazines and fashion campaigns, including the cover of Vogue’s February 1996 issue.
Harlow put modeling on the back burner to focus on an acting career in the 2000s. Along with co-hosting House of Style with Valletta, she starred in How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days and Vanilla Sky. In 2018, she made a grand return to the runway to walk in the Versace show.
Alek Wek was discovered in an outdoor market in London and signed to Ford Models in 1996 after appearing in a Tina Turner music video. She went on to walk for many notable designers including Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Thierry Mugler. Wek broke barriers in the industry, and, in 2004, became the first Black model to close the Chanel show.
Wek continues to work in fashion, and released an autobiography, Alek: My Life From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel, in 2008.
Despite her parent's disapproval, Yasmeen Ghauri pursued a career in modeling after she was discovered at 17 while working at a McDonald’s. She booked jobs with Dior, Chanel, and Jean Paul Gaultier and became known for her distinctive hip-swiveling strut on the catwalk. The Indian-German model also became the first South Asian woman to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel and appear on the cover of Vogue.
In 1997, Ghauri retired from modeling to focus on her personal life. She’s married to Ralph Bernstein, and they share two children.
Beverly Peele began modeling for small brands before taking to the runway, walking for brands like Paco Rabanne, Dior, Chanel, and Fendi. The model was also featured in ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Versace, and more. In the mid-’90s, Peele retired from modeling to care for her daughter Cairo, whom she shares with former partner Jeffrey Alexander.
In addition to Cairo, Peele has three other children. In 2017, she and her family appeared on the Lifetime show Growing Up Supermodel, which showed Cairo’s journey to becoming a model.
Nadja Auermann was discovered in a cafe in Berlin and went on to work with some of the most iconic photographers and designers in fashion. The German model walked for Dior, Anna Sui, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, and more. Known for her long legs, the German model also appeared in campaigns for numerous brands like Chanel and Prada.
Now, Auermann mainly stays out of the spotlight and is a mom to four children. She made a few returns to the runway in recent years, walking for Moschino in 2019 and Balenciaga the following year.
Kristen McMenamy is known for her unconventional and androgynous appearance, which initially made it hard for her to book jobs. By the ‘90s, she found her niche, and walked for all the major fashion houses, including Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Anna Sui, and Versace. The model also worked with some of the most well known fashion photographers like Juergen Teller and Steven Meisel.
In 1998, McMenamy stepped away from modeling to raise her family. She is the mother of four children and has been married to art dealer Ivor Braka since 2016. The model returned to the fashion industry in the 2000s and most recently walked the Valentino show in January 2023.
Known as “The Body,” Elle Macpherson's modeling career took off thanks to her numerous magazine spreads, including five Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and the May 1994 issue of Playboy. She also walked the runway for brands like Donna Karan, Tom Oldham, and Chanel.
Macpherson continues to model regularly and has created several businesses over the years, including a line of beauty products called Elle Macpherson – The Body. She is also a mom to two sons whom she shares with her former partner Arpad Busson.
Milla Jovovich started modeling at 12 when Herb Ritts photographed her for an issue of Lei. She graced numerous catwalks for brands like Jean Paul Gaultier, Todd Oldham, Fendi, Miu Miu, and more. She was also simultaneously building an acting career and is best known for her roles in The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil franchise.
Jovovich has continued to model and act throughout the years and is a mom to three children, whom she shares with her husband, filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson.
When Eva Herzigová was 16, she won a modeling contest in Prague. This jump-started her career and led to her working with brands like Thierry Mugler and Oscar de la Renta. But her modeling reached new heights in 1994 when she appeared in the “Hello Boys” campaign for Wonderbra. She gained worldwide popularity and continued to walk the runway for every major fashion house, including Dior, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Herzigová has continued to regularly work in fashion and is currently an editor-at-large for Vogue Czechoslovakia. She also shares three sons with Italian businessman Gregorio Marsiaj.
Karen Mulder was one of the first Victoria’s Secret Angels and an original Guess girl. Her career began at age 15 when she won a modeling contest after seeing an ad for it in the newspaper. Soon after, Mulder started modeling for every major fashion house, like Valentino, Dior, and Ralph Lauren. The Dutch model has also graced the cover of Vogue nine times and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit twice.
In 2000, Mulder quit modeling and has since spoken out about her struggles with mental health stemming from working in the industry.
Laetitia Casta gained recognition in 1993 after appearing in a campaign for Guess. She then became the face of L'Oréal Paris and a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1996 to 2000. The French model was also a force on the runway and walked for brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood, and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Casta has also appeared in numerous French films over the years while continuing to model regularly. She is a mom to four children and has been married to French actor Louis Garrel since 2017.
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