The Stunning Models Representing New Standards of Beauty

In every generation, there has existed an overarching standard of beauty that was at the expense of other aesthetics.

When busty Marilyn and Jane Russell reigned supreme, boyish girls everywhere were stuffing their coney bras for cleavage. Only a few decades earlier, women were desperately taping down their breasts for a flapper-friendly, waifish look.

Supermodels and beauty standards of the last century tended to oscillate between the glamazons and gamines and back again.

However, as the 20th Century neared to a close, models like Beverly Johnson and Iman fought to be the first women of colour on the catwalks (or the pages of Vogue) in the late 70s, while further moulds were broken by Ashley Graham as a plus-size model in the noughties and Andrej Pijec (now Andreja) as the first international transgender model in early 2010.

These ‘revolutions’ were at best, anomalies, until now.

The 21st century sees us enter a more inclusive era where a wider gamut of women (and men!) making it big on the beauty circuit represent, nay, celebrate the fact that sexual power, attractiveness and clout doesn’t stop at a certain age, scale, colour… or any other defining parameter. We’ve all heard of the stunning Winnie Harlow, but which other rising stars are making it big on the modelling beauty circuit?

Tess Holliday is an LA plus size model, activist and author that is redefining wearable fashion with her 5’5, size 22 frame, mahogany long locks, and devil-may-care attitude. Meanwhile, Florida native Denise Bidot has walked in New York Fashion week and scored countless fashion campaigns, including appearing in an unretouched Lane Bryant ad.


Dubbing herself the “Melanin Goddess”, Khoudia Diop rose to fame on social media, revered as much for her glistening dark skin as for her fun and playful attitude. The Senegalese model also featured in The Colored Girl Campaign, is adored in Paris and has over 557K followers on Instagram.

NY-native Diandra Forrest grew up being criticised for her skin tone and unusual features, yet now she’s the first albino model to sign with three major international modelling agencies. Diandra has modelled for MAC, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. With Angelina lips, razor cut cheekbones and a beautiful complexion, it is easy to see why major brands are courting her.

As far as modelling longevity goes, not many can top Carmen Dell’Orefice’s reign, who made her modelling debut at age 16, and is still racking up magazine covers at age 83. Proving it’s never too late to show the world you’re fabulous, Daphne Selfe started her modeling career at the age of 86, and her star is only on the rise, touted for her elegance, pristine bone structure and that thick, long mane.

Want to see the stunningly chameleon nature of a model? Look no further than Rain Dove, who looks just as sensual modelling lingerie as she smoulders sporting men’s fashions.

Bosnian -born, Aussie export Andreja Pejic is known as the first completely androgynous supermodel and today, she is one of the most recognisable transgender models in the world. She is signed with every major global agency, including Ford Models (New York), Elite Model Management (Paris) and Storm Model Management (London). Pejic has modelled for Vogue Paris, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs (among others) and is the current face of cosmetics brand Make Up Forever.

Brunette Moffy is the face of Storm Models, the agency that launched Kate Moss. Brunette suffers from strabismus, commonly known as crossed eyes – a feature which has only propelled her success. With her youthful model off duty, fresh faced look, she’s already frequenting edgy publications.

Masha Tyelna became famous by her incredibly beautiful huge eyes. She was discovered in Kiev at age six and has since participated in Paris Fashion Week and worked with legendary brands likes Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Dries van Noten.

“My name is Jillian Mercado, I am 27 years old, live in New York City, I am in a wheelchair and I am fucking beautiful,” – an apt MO for this spunky fashion blogger turned model. Jillian is represented by IMG Models and was the star of Diesel’s ‘We are connected’ campaign. She has been shot by Richard Avedon, modelled for Carine Roitfield’s CR Fashion Book, Beyonce Glamour and Cosmopolitan.

These gorgeous, striking and inspired women are an example of using every asset as a strength – and how much there is to celebrate about ALL our features. What can you rock about yourself right now?