The fashion industry has a history of inclusivity and diversity issues—which are, unfortunately, still prevalent today. And although progress is (slowly but surely) being made to ensure that people of color, and specifically Black people, are represented in all areas of the industry including modeling, someone usually (and unfairly) has to pave the way for others. The following Black supermodels have had many firsts among them (first Black model to open a runway show, first Black model to appear on a magazine cover, first Black model to land a major cosmetics contract—the list goes on), and they’ve all also dominated countless catwalks and campaigns and deserve major recognition.
Of course, you’d have to be living under an actual rock not to know some of the iconic women listed below (*hint hint* Naomi and Tyra), but there are also some rising supermodels who have made names for themselves in an impressively short amount of time. Below, 29 Black supermodels who have changed—and are continuing to change—the fashion and modeling industries.