Better known as the “Supers,” the models of the 90s were much more than your average 20th-century stars. With the coming of a new century, these girls rose to prominence and opened gates in the fashion industry that had never been touched before. In fact, it would be doing them an injustice by calling them just models; they were much more than that.
For anyone growing up seeing pictures of the likes of Amber Valletta and Carla Bruni every day, you would know that these Supers were at the least celebrities in their own right. They starred in countless films, shined in music videos like the legendary George Michael’s Freedom, hosted their own television shows, and even owned their own restaurant in some cases (let us not just forget Fashion Café).
Nowadays, it’s true that we have our own supermodels like Kendell Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Kaia Gerber, but we have to accept that the 90s presented us with supermodels that were in a class of their own. The modern-day models are undoubtedly following the path in the fashion industry that was laid down, almost three decades ago, by beauties like the Big 6.
When Linda Evangelista spoke these legendary words, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day,” she gave the world such a message, and no amount of time can make us forget just how exquisite were the lives of these stars. Some of them proved so successful that they grew up to be parents to supermodels themselves while others are still awing the world with their ever so mesmerizing catwalks.
It’s no surprise that the models and supermodels of the 90s received the staggering amount of public attention that they did, since that the demand of the time was unparalleled by any previous culture or decade. People wanted models that had endless, appealing, but the curves not too “curved,” perfect brows, pyramid cheekbones, and arresting feminine postures. Given that no fewer than hundreds of competitors rose to the challenge, the world was presented with never-before-seen kind of arresting sights that baffled both men and women alike.
With that said, here are our top 5 picks of all the female models that rose to fame in the 90s.
When only 16 years old, the Canadian star was found by the Elite modeling agency and suddenly noted for her potential. Her French hairstylist Julien d’Ys suggested that she should cut her tresses into a shorter gamine cut. Unbeknown to her, this little shift in her appearance would cause her fashion life to touch the sky. Later, the hairstyle itself gained popularity by being known as “The Linda.”
Her early teens consisted mostly of humble modeling experiences. In 1984, she would leave her motherland, Saint Catharines, Ontario, to travel to New York and try her luck. Slowly but steadily, she earned her way up the ladder to reach her status as a supermodel. She is known for posing for more than 700 magazine covers! She was an inspiration to several experts of her time, including Gianni Versace and Karl Lagerfeld.
In 1991, word got around that she was paid $20, 000 by Lavin – the famous French fashion house – to step on their runways for the spring season, an amount that was more than extravagant.
She was recognized for being the chameleon of the fashion industry, owing to the fact that she has shown off virtually every possible haircut and color imaginable to the mind. Her famous quote, which said that she never wakes up for any amount less than $10,000 a day, has sketched her in the memory of the 90s fans forever.
Hardly requiring any introduction, “Kate the Great” took the world by storm in a way no other model of her time could. When only 16, she was obsessed over by the media thanks to her incredibly waifish bearing, striking looks and 5’8″ frame. She was introduced to the world in the mid-90s when the era of the supermodels was at its peak. She was part of the “Big 6” of her age, considered by some to be the queens of the youth.
The Croydon stunner was discovered at the age of 14, while walking through JFK Airport, by the founder of the model agency Storm, Sarah Doukas. She gained success in every field she tried for and could soon be observed in covers of every magazine and initiating in international campaigns.
Initially, many were of the opinion that her figure was too plain and skinny to consider her as a model. This view, however, was changed as the young beauty embraced her body and gave the world of fashion an entirely new definition, directed by her own unique appearance. She is often quoted as saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
She appeared in virtually every magazine known to the world, besides providing the cover for the British Vogue 39 times. She collaborated with Calvin Klein to reach her supermodel status. She was justifiably celebrated for her distinctly different physique, which contrasted with the classical body shapes of other models of her time.
Claudia Schiffer was born in Rheinberg, Germany, and was the highlight of the 90s by appearing in countless magazines. Originally planning to be a lawyer, her life changed forever when, at the age of 17, she was spotted by a model scout in a nightclub in Düsseldorf. Eventually, she would move to New York and begin her shining life as a supermodel.
According to Glamour, Schiffer has appeared in over a thousand magazines. She has participated in numerous advertising campaigns including Chanel, Giorgio, Versace, Balmain, Armani, Alberta Ferretti, Karl Lagerfeld, Chloé, Bulgari, Blumarine, Escada, Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and several others.
Her graceful 5’11” frame accompanied by dazzling blue eyes and blond hair made her a favorite of diversified commercial brands as well as high-fashion designers. To this day, she continues to stars in several campaigns for Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and more.
If there was ever a model whose career proved a fixed point with the evolution of both the fashion industry and the fans, it was Naomi. She was renowned for her famous catwalks, which she showed off to her audience around Paris, New York, and Milan.
She started her career at just 15 years of age. Her ideally high cheekbones and enchanting almond-shaped eyes were enough to snatch the attention of her audience and raise her to the status of a supermodel. She received invitations by almost every single fashion house to walk their runways.
While riding at the back of her horse, Christy Turlington, 14, was picked as the defining supermodel of not only the 90s but also of the new developing era of fashion that extends up to this day. Early on in her professional life, she gained a reputation for being the politest model in the industry.
She proved herself to be a massive success when she earned $800, 000 in just 12 days, working for Maybelline. In March 1991, she took part in the historical moment of the “supermodel era” when she walked the magnificent catwalk for Versace along with Turlington, Crawford, and Evangelista.