While Joan Small’s following is a very healthy 1.9m, it’s good old fashioned hard work which has made her so successful (in 2015, she was ranked 5th on Forbes list of the world’s highest paid supermodels).
There’s been a lot of talk about diversity in fashion this year. But for all the small steps magazines have taken ( there has been a 7% rise in non-white women fronting magazine covers) and older women we’ve seen on the catwalk in 2016, it’s hardly progress the industry should be proud of.
Which is why the impeccable CV of supermodel Joan Smalls – Puerto Rican, glossy-haired and impeccably cheek-boned – seems even more remarkable, in context. Smalls has become one of the most recognisable models in the world since she made her debut on the Givenchy catwalk in 2010. She has gone on to walk for everyone from Chanel to Burberry and appear in campaigns for Stella McCartney, Balmain and Versace. And as if you needed further proof of her fashion kudos, she’s appeared in every Victoria’s Secret show since 2011 and was the first Latina woman to be given a contract by Estee Lauder.
Perhaps inadvertently, Smalls has also become something of a spokeswoman for diversity, with her fashion clout now giving her the power to take a stand. “I feel like it has its cycles and it has its moments where you see a lot of diversity which is amazing, and I think that’s how it should be because that’s the world we live in, right?” she tells The Telegraph from the set of the new campaign she is starring in for denim brand Replay. “And then there are moments where you see a lack of it and I feel that sometimes people don’t think about it, or it’s not at the forefront. You know beauty’s everywhere.”
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