The journey to super model status is a long and windy road. Being discovered, signed and added to a popular agency's roster, doesn't guarantee your success—luck, timing and the relevancy of your look do. And for colored faces, the odds of winning are even slimmer. But there's something about the silhouette of a lithe brown beauty cascading down a designer runway, decorated in couture fashion, that certifies why we deserve a permanent spot on the catwalk. We applaud designers like Hermès, Bottega Veneta and Naeem Khan for sprinkling their F/W 2012 presentations with brown and yellow faces—the runway has not seen this much diversity since the seventies—hopefully the multicultural trend is here to stay. Veronica Webb, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Alek Wek, paved the way for the new brown girls to shine, meet 12 ethnic models you need to know now!
"If my mother wasn't behind me, I would not be this far in my career."
Known For: Pout, Hair, Legs
Designer Runways: Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy
Editorials: Vogue, Times T Style, i-D
Hometown: New York, NY
"What you see in your mind go for it. Don't be scared...just feel it."
Known For: Gaze, Height, Lips
Designer Runways: Proenza Schouler, Hermès, Lanvin
Editorials: V, Harper's Bazaar, Lurve
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas via Khartoum, Sudan
"I couldn't live without sunshine. It makes everything better."
Known For: Hair, Eyes, Curves
Designer Runways: Diane Von Furstenberg, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Vivienne Westwood
Editorials: Teen Vogue, Face of Ralph Lauren, Benetton and H&M
Hometown: Turks and Caicos
"I never really developed a serious interest about it until America's Next Top Model. Seriously, that’s when it all changed for me."
Known For: Lips, Skin, Facial Structure
Designer Runways: Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Emanuel Ungaro
Editorials: W, Numero, Wonderland
Editor's Pick: This striking face is currently on our radar. Diandara's full lips and stark beauty captivate us each time we spot her Albino canvas in a new editorial. Memorize the face and name.
“Coming all the way from Africa to model in New York is a dream come true. I feel so lucky!”
Known For: Smile, Legs, Walk
Designer Runways: Issey Miyake, Giambattista Valli, Tracy Reese
Editorials: Biba, Elle, Interview
Hometown: Burkina Faso, Africa
"Always try to go to the moon, and even if you can't do something, you will fall in the stars."
Known For: Hair, Legs Skin
Designer Runways: Rachel Roy, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang
Editorials: Love, Zink, French Vogue
Hometown: Toulon, France
"I look at myself as any other model. But yes, sometimes I'm looked upon as an exotic thing that's landed on their shores."
Known For: Hair, Skin, Pout
Designer Runways: Stella McCartney, Carolina Herrera, Hermès
Editorials: L’Officiel, Dazed & Confused, Allure
Hometown: Bangalore, India
"Designers are really understanding the value of having the African girls in a show. I mean, they're gorgeous."
Known For: Legs, Smile, Skin
Designer Runways: Maison Martin Margiela, Valentino, Chloé
Editorials: French Revue de Modes, The Age, Vogue
Hometown: Tonj, Sudan
"I love Oscar de la Renta. He shows the elegance of women."
Known For: Legs, Hair, Skin
Designer Runways: Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Rent, Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Editorials: Flare, Deustch, Time Magazine's Style & Design Issue
Hometown: Montecristi, Dominican Republic
"Shooting with Karl Lagerfeld...was really fun. It was like hanging out rather than working."
Known For: Eyes, Legs, Lips
Designer Runways: L'Wren Scott,Paul Smith, Naeem Khan
Editorials: Russian Vogue, Elle, i-D
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
"Before I became a model, nobody call me Rose Cordero. They just say black Rose."
Known For: Hair, Legs, Gaze
Designer Runways: Alexander Wang, Rodarte, Burberry
Editorials: V Man, Teen Vogue, W
Hometown: Dominican Republic