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16-03-2005
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windowshopping
 
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What Makes a Supermodel?
There has been some heated discussion on other threads as to whether or not Janice Dickenson was the "first" supermodel. But to answer that, 2 questions must first be asked.

1. What is a Supermodel?
2. How does one define success in the industry???

Most people would relate the word supermodel with the faces of Linda, Christy, Cindy, Claudia & Naomi. In the early 90's this group of elite models became household names and made modelling main stream.

Hence, my early definition of being a supermodel was being able to be identified as a model by first name only ie. Linda, Christy etc. To be recognized by first name in a competitive field of thousands is truly an accomplishment. But my definition has to change in light of "reality tv" where average joes are now celebrities. If I say Adrianna, Joanna or Eva, most people would know whom I am talking about, but they are far from being supermodels.

As well, the crowd from these pages are quite fickle and harsh in terms of defining a successful model. There seems to be a hierarchy in the modelling world:
1st tier High fashion/Runway
2nd tier Sports Illustrated/Victoria's Secret
3rd tier Commercial

There seems to be a bias that runway fashion is the only type of modelling that defines success of supermodel-dom. I question if one can make hundreds of thousands doing any type of modelling, are they not successful???

Take Tyra Banks for example, not high fashion, but still very successful and well known in pop culture. She's probaby making more money than all of us here, yet doesn't qualify to be a supermodel because she isn't high fashion??

Can someone please help explain to a layman the questions I pose?? Thanks

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16-03-2005
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I think that a supermodel is someone who can both do high fashion and commercial. e.g. Gisele.

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16-03-2005
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I found these definitions on the web:

From the American Heritage dicitionary : An extremely successful and internationally famous fashion model.

From Wikipedia : A supermodel is a highly paid fashion model in an elite group with a worldwide reputation. The term first gained currency by analogy with Andy Warhol's "superstars" of the 1960s, and, like "superstardom", it has been inflated to include almost anyone who finds steady access to work, uncommon in the highly volatile fashion industry. The term emerged in the 1970s, though a number of models had become famous in their own right as far back as Dorian Leigh in the late 1940s. Probably the first model whose name and face were familiar to those outside the fashion industry was Suzy Parker in the 1950s.

Supermodels are, almost by definition, sex symbols. Supermodels of today are globally famous, and parlay their celebrity into product endorsement deals and often into acting careers. Supermodels who have made the switch include Milla Jovovich, Elle Macpherson and Rebecca Romijn.

According to Forbes magazine, as of 2004, the five highest-paid supermodels in the world were, in descending order, Milla Jovovich, Gisele BŁndchen, Heidi Klum, Caroline Murphy, and Tyra Banks ([1] (http://funreports.com/2004/07/22/55166.html)).

In the past many supermodels were female. However today more and more male models are also becoming famous. The world's most famous and highest paid male supermodel is Marcus Schenkenberg.

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16-03-2005
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FC5
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Probably more relevant is whether Joe Public, not fashionistas and board addicts , knows who they are for what they do - modelling - (therefore not reality TV).

Which means after that late 80's and early 90's 'don't get out of bed for less than $10K' group you have very few who really count. Kate - undoubtedly. Giselle, just. And, IMHO that's about it.

Because what happened after that was that celebs overtook models (the difference between celeb and supermodel gets a bit messy). Actresses on Vogue covers, singers landing major campaigns - footballers wives and big brother...

Besides, even in its heyday, supermodel was never a particularly liked term within the industry. From an agency boss: "we created our own monsters" and one well known designer is quoted "I wonder, were they goddesses or monsters?"


Last edited by FC5; 16-03-2005 at 11:46 AM.
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16-03-2005
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this is tricky. if you look at models.com, they list 15 "celebrity models with public recognition" (http://models.com/model_culture/50topmodels/index.cfm), which i suppose they take to be supermodels. of course kate, naomi, claudia, gisele, and linda belong on that list, but i seriously doubt the average american knows who karen elson or stella tennant are, even though they have been prominent in the fashion world for at least 10 years. and about liya kebede and angela lindvall being on that list, forget it. i surely don't consider them SUPERMODELS.

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16-03-2005
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I think the "real" supermodels are : Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Gisele Bundchen.

The rest, I don't really consider supermodels, I mean, Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Karen Elson, Eva Herzigova, Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede, Angela Lindvall all did high fashion, but they're not internationally known, they're far from being household names.

And then, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford..... Milla Jovovich, Adriana Lima, never really did "real" high fashion, so I can't really consider them Supermodels.

I don't know if you understand what I mean....

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16-03-2005
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weird weird..when i think of the term 'supermodel', i think of claudia schiffer ..she was so tall, gorgeous, rich and famous, my idea of a supermodel when i was a kid

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16-03-2005
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If you take Gisele, who is the only supermodel right now in my opinion... she started out with a really interesting look, perfect for high fashion. So she's done high fashion, and is brilliant at it. She started working with Victoria's Secret, and was commercialized... remember how her hair used to be darker, her skin paler? Now she had commerical appeal, and could still walk at Paris hc... ontop of that all, she had her relationship with Leo, which I honestly think helped her become a star. So I think for a girl to become a supermodel she needs the ability to work high fashion, commerical appeal, and a celebrity relationship to get her in the tabloids (don't shoot me, but I really think it's true!)

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16-03-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clementine
So I think for a girl to become a supermodel she needs the ability to work high fashion, commerical appeal, and a celebrity relationship to get her in the tabloids
Not shooting you, but the first two are requirements for any modelling career at the top level, the latter is a bit close to the realityTV syndrome of being famous for being famous, not for being a model and therefore not really a defining feature.

Personally, I'd be quite happy for the term to drop from use...

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16-03-2005
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Clementine:
"So I think for a girl to become a supermodel she needs the ability to work high fashion, commerical appeal, and a celebrity relationship to get her in the tabloids (don't shoot me, but I really think it's true!)"

I agree with your celebrity relationship idea, but say more of a tabloid appeal than just the relationship. Cindy, Gisele, Kate, Naomi, Claudia, if needed, you can match some of their past or present relationships with the model. Leo, Gere, Usher, etc., but you can also attach some of their past "tabloid appealing stuff." (10K, airplane, drugs) with the model as well. I'm a big fan of Liya's, but it has become apparent that she may not have what's "required" to become a true supermodel, and those "requirements" have nothing to do with her appeal, look or modeling skills. I would assume she's private considering we never hear anything about her (strike one), and being married to a 48 year old hedge-fund manager (strike two) doesn't exactly have the appeal of a fling with Usher or Leo.

What makes a supermodel? The same thing that makes a diva. It, unfortunately, seems to have little to do with their "field" and how well they are in that field, but rather with everything else they do and what we know about them.


Last edited by kashmir; 16-03-2005 at 04:54 PM.
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16-03-2005
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confidence

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16-03-2005
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JHB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimkhuu
I think the "real" supermodels are : Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Gisele Bundchen.

The rest, I don't really consider supermodels, I mean, Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Karen Elson, Eva Herzigova, Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede, Angela Lindvall all did high fashion, but they're not internationally known, they're far from being household names.

And then, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford..... Milla Jovovich, Adriana Lima, never really did "real" high fashion, so I can't really consider them Supermodels.

I don't know if you understand what I mean....
Lady, let me tell you that you're are soooooooooo wrong ,how old are you?, 15?.

Claudia Schiffer never did "hig fashion" uh? ,well, you don't know ANYTHING about fashion!, do you know how many VOGUE US covers Claudia Schiffer got? , I mean, it seems as if you really don't know who Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford are and how they changed the fashion world forever, shame on you.

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16-03-2005
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The 8 million dollar mark?

and visibility and staying power too.

For me, the supermodels in existence right now are Gisele, KK, and Liya (because she's a U.N. Ambassador)

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16-03-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHB
Claudia Schiffer never did "hig fashion" uh?
she replaced Inez (sp?) as the Chanel no. 5 girl in 1989. i heard of her even in the philippines. and she and kate moss were the supermodels before gisele stepped in.

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16-03-2005
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^Kimhuhu knows her fashion!

But Claudia has done a little high fashion. She's just more known for her Guess work.

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