10 Models Changing the Face of Fashion


Thanks to the models making industry-wide diversity and inclusivity their mission. Meet them, below!

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Ashley Chew

Last September, Ashley Chew made a splash when she was photographed at New York Fashion Week carrying a tote bag painted with the words "Black Models Matter," which she designed to draw attention to the lack of diversity on the runways. She gave fashion heavy-hitters like Zac Posen, J. Alexander, Iman, and model-slash-activist Bethann Hardison totes of their own, and the resulting Instagrams caused #BlackModelsMatter to go viral.

Where to Follow Ashley: On Instagram at @ash_chew, and at ashleybchew.com

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

Clémentine Desseaux

One of France's few "curvy" models, Clémentine Desseaux rose to fame when Christian Louboutin posted an Instagram video of her wearing the brand's red lipstick. This summer, she struck another pose on the platform when she was chosen as one of the five models for Instagram's #RunwayForAll campaign, and she spent last month launching the All Woman Project, an editorial, video, and social media initiative designed to challenge preconceived notions of beauty.

Where to Follow Clémentine: On Instagram at @bonjourclem, @allwomanproject, and through the hashtag #iamallwoman. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

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Maria Borges

Angolan model Maria Borges walked the Victoria's Secret runway last year in the standard Angel uniform of teeny tiny lingerie, sky-high stilettos, and catwalk-spanning wings, but one thing was different—her hair! Borges bucked the brand's whole loose barrel waves look, and wore her hair short, natural, and curly, becoming the first Victoria's Secret model ever to do so.

Where to Follow Maria: On Snapchat at @MariaBorges28, on Instagram at @iammariaborges, and on Twitter at @iammariaborges. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

Lineisy Montero


Not that fashion month is a competition, but if it was, Lineisy Montero totally would have won last September. The Dominican Republic native walked in 68 shows—and snagged the opening spots at Derek Lam, Jason Wu, Joseph, Koché, and Paco Rabanne—making her the most in-demand model of the season. We're only one quarter of the way through this fashion month, and Lineisy has already lent her strut to major players like Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Rag & Bone, Jason Wu, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Where to Follow Lineisy: On Instagram at @lineisymontero.

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

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Precious Lee

This year, model Precious Lee booked a spread in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, and starred in Lane Bryant's gorgeous "This Body" campaign shot by Cass Bird. "Being black and being plus is something that is a rare combo within this industry at this level," Lee told Elle back in February, "and I feel like it's important to continue to excel and progress so there can continue to be more and more and more."

Where to Follow Precious: On Instagram and Twitter at @PreciousLeeXOXO. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

Pooja Mor


India has the second largest population in the world, and yet, you'd be hard-pressed to find the country represented on the runways. Pooja Mor is one of the rising stars changing that. The model, who holds a degree in engineering, got her start in Indian beauty pageants before giving the fashion industry a try. Mor made her runway debut at Louis Vuitton's 2015 cruise show, and since then, she's walked for Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, and Topshop, to name a few.

Where to Follow Pooja: On Instagram at @poojamor.

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

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Winnie Harlow

It's been a busy year for Winnie Harlow (born Chantelle Brown-Young). The America's Next Top Model alum landed a spot in Beyonce's visual album, Lemonade, starred in a Swarovski campaign, and covered Wonderland magazine's summer 2016 issue. But while Harlow has broken barriers in an industry that hasn't been accepting of models with vitiligo in the past, she doesn't like being called "brave." "If someone without vitiligo has confidence they aren't deemed 'brave,'" she wrote on her Instagram this week. "Because I don't look like you it's so incredible to be confident? I don't want to look like you, I'm gorgeous."

Where to Follow Winnie: On Snapchat at @winnieharlow6, and on Instagram at @winnieharlow. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

Philomena Kwao

British Ghanaian plus-size model Philomena Kwao is the founder of The Lily Project, a charity where children and teens can ask questions online about issues in their lives, and mentors on the other side of the screen can dish out advice. On another, slightly shallower note, we know it's a model's job to wear clothes, but Kwao can really, really wear clothes. Her Instagram is an endless stream of style inspo, and everything from the way she knots her shirts to her knack for putting together unexpected color combos is worth copying.

Where to Follow Philomena: On Snapchat at @ThePhiles, and on Instagram at @philomenakwao. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

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Hari Nef

Last year, Hari Nef became the first transgender woman to sign with modeling agency IMG Worldwide—just two weeks after graduating from Columbia University. Since then, she's walked the runway for Adam Selman, VFiles, and Gucci Menswear, landed a role in Amazon Prime's Transparent, and, most recently, covered British Elle's September 2016 issue—all the while being an outspoken advocate for trans visibility.

Where to Follow Hari: On Instagram and Twitter at @harinef. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

Marquita Pring

Hot off the heels of an appearance in Cosmo's September issue, Marquita Pring spent the past week modeling for Christian Siriano and Tome. "Thank you for embracing diversity and designing an incredible collection that has something for every woman!" she said of Siriano in a recent Instagram post. "We need more inclusivity in this industry and you have done a brilliant job representing such a wide range of women."

Where to Follow Marquita: On Instagram at @marquitapring. 

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

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