Archive for the ‘models’ Category

a_cosmetics102Naomi Sims (1948-2009) was a black American supermodel from the 1960s, one of the first. Before there was Naomi Campbell, there was Naomi Sims. In November 1968 she became the first black woman on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal, the first to appear on a mainstream women’s magazine in America. She later went into business selling her own line of wigs and make-up designed for black women and wrote books about beauty and modelling. She died yesterday of cancer at age 61.

She was born in Mississippi but her family later moved up north to Pittsburgh, where she lived in a largely poor white neighbourhood. By 13 she was already 5 foot 10 (1.78 m) . She was picked on and became a loner. Growing up in an age before Twiggy and “Black is beautiful”, she was too tall, too thin and too dark to be considered beautiful. But her upbringing and her Catholic faith taught her to always walk with pride and dignity.

In 1966 she went to New York to live with her sister and study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her scholarship money was not enough, so she turned to modelling to put herself through school.

The model agencies all said no because she was black. So she called fashion photographers herself. One of them, Gosta Peterson, agreed to meet her.  His wife, it turned out, was the head of the fashion pages of the New York Times. In August 1967 she appeared in the Times.

After that success she went back to the model agencies but they still said no! So she talked one of them into letting her use their name and sent her layout in the Times to 100 advertising agencies. To the model agency’s utter amazement the calls started coming in! By November 1968 she was on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal.


life1969Her dark skin worked to her advantage: This was just when “Black is beautiful” was becoming a catchphrase and black tokenism was cutting edge stuff.

Within two years she was in all the fashion magazines. She made anything she wore look great and had her own way of walking down the runway that was beautiful to watch. She modelled for Halston, AT&T, Virginia Slims, Life magazine and others.

In 1972 Hollywood wanted her to star in “Cleopatra Jones”, a blaxpoitation film. When she read the script she said no: she was shocked at how racist it was.

In 1973 she made the cover of Cosmopolitan and then quit modelling.

Four years before she had said, “There is nothing sadder than an old, broke model.” So she went into business making wigs. She found out how to make hair that looked like straightened black women’s hair and then designed wigs in all the latest styles. In the 1980s she branched out into perfume, skin-care and make-up. By the 2000s, however, large white companies started to push her out.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s she wrote five books. One of them,”All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman” (1976),  is still in print.

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FatouN'DiayeFatou N’Diaye (1980- ) is a French actress and model who was born in Senegal. She is not the dancer of the same name. Since 2001 she has appeared in both French film and television. Her best film to date is probably “Nha fala” (2003) though “A Sunday in Kigali” (2006) seems to be better known.

She was born in Saint-Louis in Sengal. Her native language is Wolof. When she was eight she left Senegal with her mother to live in France.

In 1997 at age 17 she was discovered by photographer Oliviero Toscani, who is famous for the United Colors of Benetton ads. He urged her to become a model. She is tall, thin and pretty

She is 5 foot 10 inches tall (1.78 m) and her measurements are 31.5-23-35 (80-58.5-89 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.66.

She did do some modelling, but her heart was set on acting. She wanted to go to drama school,  but then director Daniel Vigne asked her to play the lead in a made-for-television film he was making – even though she had no acting experience!

She spent  a few days with an actress who taught her the tricks of the trade and then did her best.

The film was “Fatou la Malienne” (2001). It was the true story of a woman from Mali who lived in France but was forced to get married. It got her noticed: 8 million people in France saw it.

After that she worked with the famous French actor Charles Aznavour. She loves jazz and he was able to tell her about all the jazz greats that he once knew.

In 2002 she had a small part in “Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre”, starring Monica Bellucci. It was her first experience of a big film production.

In 2003 she starred in “Nha Fala” (“My Voice”), directed by Flora Gomes. It is a Portuguese-French-Luxembourger musical comedy (yes) set in France and Cape Verde.  It is in both French and Portuguese Creole.

She plays a mixed-race character who comes from a family where the women die if they sing. When she leaves Cape Verde for France she promises her mother that she will not sing. Not only did she forget her promise, she became a singer! People were amazed at how well she could sing. She came back to Cape Verde to prepare for her funeral – but she did not die!

N’Diaye says the film is about expressing yourself. Some see it as a metaphor for colonialism, about how trying to be white goes against being your true self – which is why her being mixed-race is important.

In 2006 she played the female lead in a French-Canadian film, “Un dimanche à Kigali” (“A Sunday in Kigali”). It is abouat a man who comes to Rwanda and falls in love with a woman there. Separated by the genocide he tries to find her.

Her next leading part was in “Tropiques amers” (2007), the first French television series about slavery in the French Caribbean. It is a historical drama set in Martinique in the late 1700s.

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Alek Wek

awek1Alek Wek (1977- ) is a supermodel from Sudan. She is known for being dark-skinned with very short hair. She was at her height from 1997 to 2004, though she models even now in her early 30s.

She is a Dinka from southern Sudan, near the middle of Africa. Her father was a schoolteacher; she was the seventh of nine children. Growing up she did not know she was poor and black. Her family was together and she was happy. She did, however, have a skin disease, psoriasis, and thought she was ugly. The doctors could find no cure.

Then the war came.  She saw bodies on the way to the well. When soldiers shot out their front door one night, they knew they had to leave. Her father got hurt and went to Khartoum, the capital, for an operation.

At age ten she talked her way onto a military plane leaving for Khartoum, where her father lay. As she got on board she turned to look and saw the sadness in her mother’s eyes. Soon the rest of her family got to Khatoum, but then her father died of the operation.

Her mother just wanted her children to wake up every morning safe and be able to go to school. So she got Alek to London where one of her older daughters lived. Alek arrived in London in 1991 at age 14.

Soon after she got to London her psoriasis went away.

Four years later while shopping in south London she was discovered by Fiona Ellis, a scout for Model One. She did not take it seriously and, besides, her mother said she should complete her schooling first. She was going to the London College of Fashion at the time.

But Model One kept calling and Wek saw that they were serious.  She had some pictures taken and then offers started coming in. It changed her idea about herself. She talked her mother into it.

She signed with Ford in 1996 and became a fashion model. Whenever someone asked for black models she never went. She found that sort of thinking backwards and disrespectful.

Her big break came when she appeared on the cover of Elle in November 1997. The rest is history. That year MTV named her model of the year. I-D magazine went further and named her model of the decade.

Oprah said of Alek Wek:

If you’d been on the cover of a magazine when I was growing up, I would have had a different concept of who I was.

Although I am glad she is out there helping to stretch people’s idea of beauty, I do not think she is beautiful myself. She is striking  and hard to forget, has a great smile and looks like a work of art, but I would not call her beautiful: No, I honestly do not think it is her dark skin, but her eyes. They seem too squinty or something and for me eyes makes the difference between pretty and beautiful.

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halleHalle Berry (1966- ) is an American actress, the first black woman ever to win an Oscar for Best Actress. In America she is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful black women alive, even now in her 40s. She was Miss Ohio USA in 1986, a Bond girl in “Die Another Day” (2002) and has long been a face for Revlon.

While she is beautiful, I would not go to see a film just because she is in it, like I would with Gabrielle Union.

She won the Oscar for playing the lead  in “Monster’s Ball” (2001), where we see her make love to the white racist prison guard who put her husband to death. Angela Bassett refused the part because of how it made black women look. Berry took it and won an Oscar.

After the Oscar win and her success playing Storm in the X-Men films (2000-2006), she was given the lead in “Catwoman” (2004). Few black actresses are given the lead in any film  aimed mainly at white people, at least not without appearing opposite a white person. Unfortunately, “Catwoman” was terrible – so terrible she won a Razzie Award for it, which she accepted with good grace.

She does not try to just get by on her pretty looks. When she was going to play a crackhead in “Jungle Fever” (1991) she talked to crackheads and went for ten days without a bath. I can still remember her performance.

Apart from the Oscar she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for what I think is her best film  by far: “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999).  She was perfect. She is something of a latter-day Dorothy Dandridge herself.

She has been married twice: first to baseball player David Justice (1992-1997), then to singer Eric Benet (2001-2005). She is now in a long-term relationship with Canadian model Gabriel Aubry, who is white and ten years younger than her. They have a daughter together, Nahla, born in 2008.

Life with Aubry seems to be a happy one, but her past with men has not always been so happy. One boyfriend hit her so hard that to this day she cannot hear well out of her right ear. When Justice asked for a divorce she was in such pain she came close to killing herself – only the thought of her mother finding her body pulled her back from the edge.

She is diabetic, the kind where you need to take shots all the time.

She is 5 foot 5 (1.66m), too short to be a model.

She is named after Halle’s department store in Cleveland, where she grew up. Her mother is white, her father is black. Her father left when she was four. He came back once but then was gone again for the rest of her childhood.

When they moved out of Cleveland to live in the suburbs people called her “zebra” and put Oreo cookies in her mailbox. Her mother told her that when people look at her all they will ever see is someone black: they will not know that her mother is white – nor will they care.


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Yasmin Warsame (1976- ), also known as ياسمين ابشير ارسام, is one of the most successful Canadian fashion models of all time. She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, the same place that Iman is from, but later she fled to Canada. She has grace, class and one of those beautiful, perfect faces. She now lives in New York where she works for IMG, modelling for top designers in both New York and Paris.

Michael Kors calls her the new Iman. Fashion magazine in 2004 named her “The Most Alluring Canadian”.

About black beauty she says:

I believe that “Black beauty” is underrated and isn’t appreciated, so that’s what I want to represent in this modelling industry. I want to inspire young girls and women all around the world to follow their dreams, especially women of colour.

I just love her.

yasmin_warsame1She is tall and thin: she stands 1.78 metres tall (5 foot 10) and her measurements are 81-61-89 cm (32-24-35 inches). She has a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.69, giving her more of an hourglass figure than most fashion models.

She has one of those faces that can look either unmistakably African or like a brown-coloured white woman, depending on how she is made up – which probably matters in something as white as the fashion industry. She is known for her high cheekbones.

Her family left Somalia for Toronto, Canada. There she studied psychology at university and got into modelling. Unlike most models she did not start modelling till her 20s and did not become well-known till after she had already had a child.

yasmin06When she was four months away from giving birth to her son, she was booked to model for the Sears catalogue. Sears said she was too “couture”. So in the summer of 2002 she moved to Paris, the centre of all things couture. There she had only one thing on her mind: “Walking down the runway… and not falling.”

Paris proved to be her big break: there Steven Meisel took pictures of her for a feature in Italian Vogue. From that she went on to model for top designers.

She has also appeared in ads for Revlon, Chanel, Banana Republic (as a token), Neiman Marcus and others.

She has appeared on the magazine covers of Surface, Trace, Canadian Flare, French Revue de Modes, Italian Amica, British, American and Spanish Elle and Italian and American Vogue. Among others. She was in the all-black issue of Italian Vogue in July 2008.

In 2007 she was a judge on “Canada’s Next Top Model”.

One her best moments modelling:

It was when I sent my mum (in Somalia) a large amount of money. I spoke to her and she was almost in tears. That was the moment that made modelling so worth it.

Among her friends are the models Iman, Belinda Baidoo, Oluchi Onweagba and Ubah Hassan.

She says:

I hope my face is not my only fortune…I believe I had a life before modelling and will always have a life after modelling.

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Donyale Luna (1945-1979) was an American fashion model from the 1960s. In March 1966 she became  the first black woman ever to appear on the cover of British Vogue. She also appeared in a number of films by Warhol, Fellini and Otto Preminger.

She was beautiful and troubled, tall and strange. Like a shooting star she was here and then she was gone. She died of drugs at 34.

She was 5 foot 10 (1.78 m) and her measurements were 31-21.5-36 (79-55-91 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ration (WHR) of 0.60. That is extremely low for a fashion model, but this was just before Twiggy changed everything.

She was born Peggy Freeman in Detroit. Her father was a mean man who was murdered when she was 18. She said he was not her true father, but a man who came from Mexico with the name of Luna.

She was discovered in Detroit by photographer David McCabe. Her mother wanted her to stay in Detroit and become a nurse. She went to New York and became a model. When she walked through the doors of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, they called her “an extraordinary apparition”. They put a drawing of her on their cover in 1965. It made her name.

She did not like New York:

There were bad things. People were on drugs or hung up on pot. There was homosexuality and lesbianism and people who liked to hurt.

So in December 1965 she fled to London and Paris, where she made $60 an hour (48 crowns an hour), a good rate in those days.

britvogue1966She was the first black woman on the cover of British Vogue, but her hand covers half her face so that you cannot tell she is black: she could be Italian or Middle Eastern. Reportedly that was done so its regular readers would not be upset.

But it was not just Vogue that had a hard time accepting her race. She did too. She did not like it when people brought up the fact that she was black. In 1968 when asked about breaking down doors as a black actress, she said:

If it brings about more jobs for Mexicans, Chinese, Indians, Negroes, groovy. It could be good, it could be bad. I couldn’t care less.

She lived the high life, hung with the Rolling Stones and discovered LSD. But then she began to act even more strangely. Beverly Johnson said she “doesn’t wear shoes winter or summer. Ask her where she’s from – Mars? She went up and down the runways on her hands and knees. She didn’t show up for bookings. She didn’t have a hard time, she made it hard for herself.” Her modelling days were soon over.

She appeared in some films: “Satyricon” (1969) by Fellini, “Camp” (1965) by Warhol and she played the lead in “Salome” (1972). You can see her on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” for December 12th 1966.

She appeared in Playboy in May 1975 in a picture of her naked taken by her lover, Luigi Cazzaniga. Their daughter still lives in Italy where she is a dancer.

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Jessica White (1984- ) is an American fashion and print model. Tyra Banks has called her “the model of her generation”. Although best known as a swimsuit model in Sports Illustrated, where she has appeared for each of the past five years (2003-2008 – a record for a black model), she is also a serious fashion model, having appeared on the runway for top New York designers like Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Tommy Hilfiger.

She is that black girl in the Robin Thicke music video “The Sweetest Love” (2008).

She is the first – and so far only – black model to land not one but two make-up contracts: first CoverGirl at age 16 and then Maybelline in 2007.

She has also modelled for RocaWear, Sean John, Baby Phat and Victoria’s Secret, among others, and appeared in Harper’s Bazaar (twice), Teen Vogue and King and on the covers of Surface and Trace.

She is 176.5 cm tall (five foot nine and a half). Her measurments are 34-24-34 (86.5-61-86.5 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.71. She is thin with large breasts and long legs.

She grew up in in a rough part of Buffalo, New York. When she was seven her father got very sick and died. By 12 she was drinking and getting into fights; at 13 she began to smoke pot and at 14 she was raped by someone she knew. But that same year she went to modelling school and was discovered two years later. She went to Paris to become a model. Within six months she was modelling for CoverGirl, Chloe (Spring 2001) and the Gap.

jessicawhite32In 2002 she moved to New York and modelled for the top fashion designers there. A year later she was in Sports Illustrated. That made her name.

Even though she was making unimaginable amounts of money, she was spending it even faster and went broke. She did not even have proper shoes for the snow in New York. She became a drunk and got hooked on cocaine too. She was growing up lost:

I felt like it was more important to them for me to make the money and become famous instead of concentrating on the person who had a soul who was lost and needed some help and foundation, and I wasn’t getting it.

In 2008 she moved back to Buffalo. “I never thought I would be back in Buffalo,” she said. “I had decided I was moving to London, marry some English guy and have some cute little biracial babies. It has to be God that I’m back here.”

She still models, but she is proudest of her work with troubled girls, girls who are like how she used to be. She wants to open a halfway house for them.

It was turning to God that got her off of drink and drugs. Now she has a different view of life:

The biggest part is realizing I’m not just here to take pictures – God makes all of that happen – but because I am a Christian, it is to shine and make a statement just for God.

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Robin Thicke - The Sweetest Love

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beverly07Beverly Peele (1975- ), an American supermodel, was one of the top fashion and print models of the early 1990s.

She started modelling on the runways of Paris at age 12. In 1989, by age 14, she had made her first million and became the first black woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. In 1993, at age 18, People magazine named her one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. She appeared on hundreds of magazine covers. All the top fashion designers wanted her.

But then suddenly it all came to end.

Where Naomi and Tyra had wanted to be models since they were little girls, she did not. She said she wanted to be a plumber. So she was not willing to play the game. And when she got pregnant at 18 she had the baby against all advice: they said it would mess up her looks, that she would never work again. Even her mother would not to speak to her (at first). She did not care. The baby was more important.

After she had the baby she came back to modelling, but she failed to make a comeback. In 1997 she went into acting, but with small success.

She is one of the most beautiful black supermodels of all time, but because she rose and fell before the rise of the Web, there are not many pictures of her on the Internet, and what you see are not even her best.

She grew up in suburban Los Angeles but went to the school where her mother worked in South Central.

At 11 her mother made her take an etiquette course to learn “how not to be klutzy”. She learned to walk with grace. That and her long legs helped her to win modelling contests and before she knew it she was on the runways in Paris.

At her height she spent money so freely people called her C-Note. She had a three-floor apartment in New York. Because money came so easily to her so young, she had no idea of money management. She also started doing drugs. She was far from home and growing up too fast. After she had the baby, it was all over.

Ten years later, in 2005, she found a lost credit card in a supermarket and used it to buy a washer, dryer, refrigerator and other stuff for her house. It went to court and in 2006 the judge sentenced her to three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service and, of course, she had to pay back everything – and something else to American Express for their troubles.

In 2006 she went on the “Tyra Banks Show” to warn women of the dark side of modelling.

Peele first ran into Tyra Banks years before in Venice. Tyra at the time was 17 and broke in a foreign country. Peele helped her out.

Peele is six feet tall (1.83 metres). In 1989 her measurements were 33.5-22-33 (85-56-84 cm). That gives her a waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio of 0.67, which is on the low side for a fashion model.


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Neferteri Shepherd (1980- ), also known as Neferteri Horn, is an American video vixen, best known as Miss July 2000 in Playboy magazine. She is the best black model to appear in Playboy that I know of.

Here is what we know about her from Playboy (which has not gone metric yet – I added the metric units and the Oxford spellings):

BIRTHPLACE: New Orleans, Louisiana
BUST: 36″ C (91 cm)
WAIST: 23″ (58 cm)
HIPS: 35″ (89 cm)
HEIGHT: 5′ 9″ (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 118 lbs (53 kg)

To become a successful real estate investor and pursue my acting and modelling career.

Genuinely kind, loyal and honest people who know what they want out of life.

Complaining, unappreciative people who are unhappy with their lives and want you to be unhappy too.

The resources to stop violence, especially among America’s youth.

Never let others hold you back from what you want out of life.

Bubble baths, reading and taking naps.

Her measurements give her a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.66 – between Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian. That is low for a white men’s magazine, but not for a black one. The white website AskMen.com puts it this way:

Here we go: booty, booty, curves, hips, and booty. Booty. Exquisite and natural breasts. And booty. … the waist to hip to behind ratio that has us in a state of awe.

She does have a great body, but there are plenty of black models who have more amazing bodies – but they rarely cross over into white magazines.

But the best part of her beauty is not her body but her eyes!

I have never met her, but I knew someone who did. He said she was sweet and just like a living Barbie doll.

She has modelled not just for Playboy but also the Hawaiian Tropic, Venus Swimwear, Baby Phat and Shirley of Hollywood. She has appeared in Stuff, Maxim and Black Men magazines.

She has done some acting, but mainly in bit parts. She played a receptionist once on the television show “The Parkers”. That sort of thing. That is pretty common for models. Her biggest part was probably in the 2003 Trina film, “A Miami Tail” (A remake of Aristophanes’s “Lysistrata” set in Liberty City).

Lately she has been a television host on UPN’s “Big City” and Starz’s “The B Side”. She has also been in an Arby’s ad.

She has been in the music videos of 50 Cent and Usher.

She was born in New Orleans, lived in Boston but grew up mainly in Oakland. A day after she turned 18 she tried out for Playboy in San Francisco. Later she went to Los Angeles to pursue acting, where she lives now.

According to Google Insights she seems to have something of an overseas following in Poland and Italy.

She says:

I have majestic dreams of going on safaris in Africa. I would love to go there to learn my heritage and discover the roots of my unique name.

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Garcelle Beauvais (1966- ), also known as Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, is an American television actress and former model. She is best remembered for playing Fancy on “The Jamie Foxx Show” in the late 1990s. She was also assistant district attorney Valerie Heywood in “NYPD Blue”. In 2007 she appeared in Playboy magazine and had twins – all at the age of 40!

She had her twin boys in October 2007: Jax and Jaid. She also has an older son, Oliver (1991), from her first marriage.

Some commenters at Bossip.com did not like how white her twins look. Since they are test tube babies, it is possible that they are not hers by blood. Assuming that they are, they might get darker as they get older.

They were delivered early because she started having headaches that would not go away. The doctors said she had pre-eclampsia, which could have killed either her or the babies. After they were born, she lost her baby fat almost right away. She says it is because her shoot for Playboy forced her to get into shape before she was expecting the twins.

She started in film, not television. She was even in “Coming to America” (1988) as a rose bearer. I remember her in the water tower scene in “Wild, Wild West” (1999). But she has never had a lead in a film that made it big. Her success has come instead in television:

  • 2005: Nora Gage in “Eyes”
  • 2001-2004: assistant D.A. Valerie Heywood in “NYPD Blue”
  • 2000: Ms Maya Bradley in “Opposite Sex”
  • 1996-2001: Francesca “Fancy” Monroe in “The Jamie Foxx Show”
  • 1994-1995: Cynthia Nichols in “Models Inc”

Her break came with “Models Inc”, but she is best remembered as the female lead in “The Jamie Foxx Show”. In 2008 it is still on American television in endless reruns.

She was born in Haiti to a well-to-do family, the youngest of five sisters and two brothers. Her parents split up when she was young. At seven her mother brought her to America. Garcelle went to boarding school in Massachusetts while her mother studied to be a nurse in New York. At 16 the family moved to Miami where she acted in high school plays.

At 17 Beauvais came to New York to become a model, where she signed with Ford Models. You saw her in print ads for Avon, Mary Kay and Clairol and in catalogues for Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. I remember her from those days: there are only so many black models in those catalogues. She has also done some fashion modelling for Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi.

In the 1990s she was in television ads for Diet Coke and American Express.

Although she was born in Haiti, she has American Creole roots: her family came to Haiti from New Orleans after the civil war. They did not mix much with the Haitians.

She speaks French, Haitian Creole and English. She learned English at seven from watching “Sesame Street”.

She has married twice. Her first husband, of six years, was Daniel Saunders, a producer. In 2001 she married Mike Nilon, an agent.

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Brittany “Bre” Scullark (1985- ) is an American fashion model for the Ford modelling agency. In 2005 she came in third place on season five of Tyra Banks’s television show “America’s Next Top Model” (ANTM). In 2008 you sometimes see her on the “Tyra Banks Show”, as beautiful as ever. What eyes! And what amazing cheeks!

“Bre” (sounds like “Bree”) is what her friends have long called her.

After the show she landed a print modelling contract for Dark and Lovely hair colouring, appearing on their boxes. She has modelled for Prada, Valentino and Nicole Miller. She has been in television ads for Target, Old Navy and Pantene and is a spokesmodel for Ambi Skincare.

Magazines she has appeared in, among others: Vibe (June 2006), Essence, ElleGirl, CosmoGirl (June/July 2008), Hype Hair, Mahogany, Cover and Six Degrees.

You can see her in the music video “Change Me” by Ruben Studdard.

She has also been a television presenter on the show “Certified” for Music Choice. She is good on camera – or maybe it just seems that way to me because I am so taken by her beauty.

She is from New York, growing up in Harlem, which she has seen go from crack to Starbucks. She goes to the Abyssinian Baptist Church.

She had always wanted to be a model, but she never thought it would come to pass. But then one day she went down to Macy’s to try out for “America’s Next Top Model”. She and 2400 other women! That night she slept on cardboard on the pavement to keep her place in line. The next day she tried out. They kept calling her back and calling her back and then they sent her to Los Angeles: she had beat out 36,000 women all across the country for a place on the show!

Although she came a long way on the show, the judges felt that Nicole Linkletter and even Nik Place were better (but where are they now?). She was CoverGirl of the Week twice. Twiggy was one of the judges.

On the show she is probably best remembered for the Stolen Granola Bar Incident. She accused Nicole of taking her Granola bar. To get back at Nicole she emptied her Red Bull drinks and refused to pay for them. Looking back she now thinks the television producers took her Granola bar to set her off.

She says the show was a very humbling experience. Tyra Banks taught her how to handle herself as a young woman. The show changed her life, almost overnight, making her name as a model.

Her two heroes are Jesus and her mother.

She likes gopel music and hip hop, particularly Lil Wayne and T-Pain.

She has a butterfly tattoo above her left breast.

Some on the show said she was too short. She is 5 foot 8 or 172.5 cm, which is at the low end for models.

She says that if you want to model, do not let your skin colour or shade or your size stop you.

She says:

Succeed in stepping stones, never expect longevity in this career overnight, or it wouldn’t be well deserved.

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Rosina Ferrara

Rosina Ferrara (1861-1934) was a beauty from the island of Capri off the coast of Italy. You see her picture in art museums all over the world because artists loved to paint and draw her, especially Frank Hyde and John Singer Sargent. For them she had an exotic beauty, one that reminded them of the women in ancient Greek art.

She had light brown skin, black curly hair and eyes like a panther. She looked like she was part Arab and part Greek. Some say that on her mother’s side she is related to Barbarossa, the Turkish pirate. She came from the town of Anacapri where the people are markedly Arab-looking.

Charles Sprague Pearce, a painter from Boston, said of her:

the tawney skinned, panther eyed, elf-like Rosina, wildest and lithest of all the savage creatures on the savage isle of Capri

Capri is a beautiful island near Naples. In the 1800s artists and writers loved to go there to do their work. The island was not only famous for its beauty, but also for its beautiful women, who looked exotic to the French, British and Americans. In the French imagination it was the sort of place where you might fall in love with a fisherman’s daughter (and later leave her).

And on that beautiful island of beautiful exotic women, some said that the most beautiful of all was Rosina Ferrara.

She was discovered by the French artist Chatran when she was about age 14. She became a model for Edward Vaux and then the British artist Frank Hyde.

Sargent arrived in Capri in 1878 when she was 16 or 17. He went to visit Frank Hyde, telling him what kind of model he was looking for. He showed her Rosina:

When he saw her he was so fascinated with her that he made three studies in profile of her, all of which he painted in my studio.

Sargent would go on to paint her 12 times during his year on Capri. Sargent tends to make people taller and thinner than they are, but he is good at catching their mood.

Sargent did not pay her for modelling, by the way. Instead he gave her a sculpture he made of her.

In addition to Chatran, Vaux, Hyde and Sargent, she has also been painted by George Randolph Barse (husband), Alfred Stevens (lover), Charles C. Coleman (good friend), Jean Benner and Charles Sprague Pearce (that painter from Boston). Many of these paintings are in private collections.

In 1883 she had a daughter, Maria Carlotta. No one knows who the father was. Some say it was a prince. She was famous enough and beautiful enough where that would not be out of the question.

In the middle 1880s she was the mistress of Alfred Stevens, a Belgian painter.

In 1891 she married an American painter, George Randolph Barse, and went away with him to live in America, in upstate New York in Katonah. She died of pneumonia at age 76 in Flushing, Queens in New York City.

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Vanessa Simmons (1983- ), an American model and actress, is the oldest daughter of Reverend Run of Run DMC. She has appeared on MTV’s “Run’s House” since 2005. She is a Girl Scout role model and yet one of the hottest women in the world according to Maxim magazine!

Angela Simmons is her younger sister; hip hop mogul Russell Simmons is her uncle.

She lives in Los Angeles with her sister. In 2007 they started a line of shoes, Pastry Footwear. Pastry shoes are sneakers that are decorated like cakes – sneakers designed by girls for girls. Her father and uncle helped them to get started in the business: Pastry is a part of her father’s Run Athletics.

But her dream is to be an actress. She has been acting since she was 12.

In 2007 she was Lola on the television soap opera “Guiding Light”. She says, “The opportunity just sort of came along.”

In 2008 she was Little T, a female rapper, in the off-Broadway play “The Actor’s Rap” by J. Kyle Manzay. It is a comedy about rappers taking over the acting world, where name counts for more than talent. Hmm. She said her character is the opposite of how she is.

She loves acting:

Acting makes me feel free. I can’t explain the feeling I get, like the adrenaline rush when I’m actually doing it and then when it’s all over I feel just like yelling! It’s so much fun! It’s always been like that for me. When I get scripts and go to auditions and being on the Guiding Light set is just this dream come true and so amazing. I can’t explain it.

She yet to land a good part in a film. She is very serious and hard-working, but some say she cannot act!

She was also a fashion model for the Ford modelling agency. She is 1.71 cm tall (5 foot 7), which is a bit short for a model.

In 2006 Maxim magazine said she was the 82nd hottest woman in the world, putting her ahead of Carmen Electra and Amerie. Maxim called her “absurdly hot … with tremendous moral fiber”.

She understands how fortunate she is, that not everyone has the chances she does.

She says she is just like she is on “Run’s House”.

Boyfriends: She does not talk about her love life, but others do. Some say she has been with Carl Cupid and even Bow Wow, her sister’s one-time boyfriend.

What kind of men does she like? Those who make her laugh, who support her in her dreams, who do not mind being a homebody with her – and help her learn her lines!

She comes from Jamaica, Queens in New York, but by the time we saw her in “Run’s House” she was living in the suburbs in New Jersey in one of the biggest houses on the east coast.

She says: “Expect a ‘no’ but never accept a ‘no'”. And: “Remember put god first anything is possible for you.”

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Ki Toy Johnson (1983- ) is an American video vixen, best known for being the leading woman in OutKast’s music video, “The Way You Move” (2003). She is the one in the black bikini at the beginning and the end dancing with Big Boi. She has been in King, XXL, Black Men, SSX and Smooth magazines.

She won the Ki Toy Johnson vs Buffie the Body contest put on by XXL. In 2004 her name was put up for Vibe magazine’s Video Vixen award. AskMen.com called her “one of hip hop’s best booty shakers”.

Seeing her can make a man walk again: she says that one man was told by doctors he would never walk again after an accident. But then four years later he saw her in “They Way You Move” and started walking again.

She had a Wikipedia article, but it was removed in June 2007 because she was not “notable” enough.

She has a pretty face, a thick figure and a nice round bottom. She is 5 foot 2 (1.57 m) and 135 pounds (61 kg). Her  measurements are 36-22-36 (91-56-91 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.61.

She says that what you see is what God blessed her with, maintained through exercise.

Women come up to her all the time and ask how she keeps her figure. She says exercise. She shows them how she does her squats. She says, “Even though you have a big butt, if you don’t do your squats, it’ll sag.”  She exercises five days a week, leaving Wednesday for rest and Sunday for church. She gets up at six in the morning to work out at the gym. On Saturdays she speed-walks five miles round Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Because of her amazing body people wonder if she has ever been a stripper, a hooker or a porn star. She has never been any of those things nor does she ever hope to be. She is nothing like that. She has a degree, goes to church and helps children.

Her bottom grew out before the rest of her body, so in high school she was called Duck Booty.

She has done some acting. She was on a television show with Trina, “With Friends Like These” (2005), which never made it. She was in “Beauty Shop” (2005), starring Queen Latifah, and a few other films. She was also in an ad for Boost Mobile.

She was born in Peoria, Illinois, went to high school in Natick, Massachusetts and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

She got an accounting degree at Clayton State University near Atlanta. She applies her accounting to two companies she owns with boxer Vernon Forrest: First Class Enterprises, a construction company, and Destiny’s Child Inc, which helps those who suffer from autism and schizophrenia to live as independent a life as possible.

She has a 13-year-old foster child.

Her sister has two of Big Boi’s children.

She was once a commentator on WAEC, a Christian talk radio station in Atlanta.

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Brazilian models

Not only does Brazil have its own fashion industry, some Brazilian models are among the top supermodels of the world. Of the five top paid models in the world in 2007, three were Brazilian:

The best paid:

1. Gisele Bundchen (1980- ): $33 million (2.6 million crowns), the top paid and richest model in the world. She is worth about $150 million (12 million crowns) and has appeared on over 500 magazine covers. She left Victoria’s Secret in 2007. From Rio Grande do Sul. She is German on both sides of her family. 1.80 m. WHR 0.67.


4. Adriana Lima (1981- ): $6 million (a half million crowns). Spike TV in America says she is the hottest girl on the planet. More on her below. She is from Salvador, Bahia. She is part Swiss, black and native Indian. 1.78 m. WHR 0.69.

5. Alessandra Ambrosio (1981- ): $6 million. People magazine says she is one of the 100 most beautiful people in the world. From Rio Grande do Sul. She is part Italian, part Polish. She has wanted to be a model since she was eight. 1.78 m. WHR 0.67.

Kate Moss of Britain is #2 and Heidi Klum of Germany is #3.

Here is who I think are the most beautiful Brazilian models, of the ones I know of. Some no longer model, but they have all modelled at some point:

The most beautiful:


1. Taís Araújo (1978- ), from Rio, became the first black actress to appear as a main character in a telenovela on Brazilian television. She is a presenter on the television show “Superbonita”, about how to be beautiful! More.

2. Adriana Bombom (1974- ) is a Carnival queen from Rio. She she was once one of Xuxa’s helpers. What a body! More.

3. Ildi Silva (1982- ) is a television actress from Bahia. She was discovered on the streets of Salvador and became a model. More.


4. Rojane Fradique (1986- ) is a fashion model from Bahia in the north where most people are black. She is tall (1.82 metres), extremely thin but looks like a work of art. In 2003 she placed second in Brazil in the Elite Model Look contest and 15th worldwide. More.

5. Raica Oliveira (1984- ) is a model from Niteroi, near Rio. She now lives in New York with her mother. She has been on the runway in Paris and Milan and in many fashion magazines and makeup ads. She is friends with fellow Brazilian models Adriana Lima and Ana Beatriz Barros.


6. Adriana Lima (1981- ) She has modelled for Victoria’s Secret and Maybelline. She is friends with Raica Oliveira. More.

7. Fernanda Tavares (1980- ) is a supermodel from Natal.

8. Camila Pitanga (1977- ) is a Brazilian model and television actress from Rio. Best known in Brazil as Bebel on the telenovela “Paraíso Tropical”. Ildi Silva, listed above, plays a secretary on the same show. Her father is black, her mother is white.


9. Lucy Ramos (1982- ) is a model and television actress. She is best known for her role in the show “Sinhá Moça”. She was born in Recife in Pernambuco. More.


10. Marina Montini (1948-2006) was a beauty from Rio in the 1960s and 1970s. She was so beautiful that men painted pictures of her, especially Di Cavalcanti. Her heavy drinking brought her to an early end at age 58.

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