They use their success and notoriety to make change in the world, but who are they?
We live in unprecedented times. In an age where young women are at risk of becoming marginalized, it seems the only choice is to speak up for ourselves. But who can we look to for examples of hope and advocacy?
There’s always a silver lining to injustice – a boom in awareness and a zeal for real change. The number of people feeling inspired to get involved and fight for what they believe is right is climbing. The new generation of models is no exception. This group of young women uses their voices for good. Perhaps we can learn something from their outspoken enthusiasm.
Gone are the days of the beautiful stick figure. Social media has given rise to a new generation of catwalk stars who know that using their voice is just as important as knowing how to pose. They spark change by using their notoriety as models to bring awareness to the issues they care about.
From protesting slave labor and campaigning for diversity to speaking out against climate change, these women are doing their best to raise awareness of important issues, fight for justice, and engage their community in the process.
HERE ARE 5 MODELS TO INSPIRE US THIS FALL:
1. Imaan Hammam
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, diverse representation is finally at the forefront of fashion.
African-Arabic model and activist Imaan Hammam helped to ignite the conversion within the fashion industry by speaking out. You'll find her helping wherever she can – volunteering as an ambassador for She's The First, a non-profit that promotes equality and education for girls - or by marching in Dam Square, Amsterdam for Black Lives Matter. Showing us that it's not only about giving money; it's about offering your voice and a little bit of your time.
Driven by her personal experience with the Beslan school siege, where more than 300 people were killed, Natalia Vodianova founded the Naked Heart Foundation in order to support the families of disabled children and train educators in her homeland of Russia.
Apart from creating the Naked Heart Foundation, this model activist also co-created Elbi, an app that serves to spread philanthropy across the globe.
This model isn’t afraid to use her voice! As a Korean American, Jeannie Jay Park knows how it feels to be marginalized. Working in the fashion industry for almost a decade, she is familiar with the xenophobic attitudes towards the Asian American Pacific Islander community. But, as recent events have created a surge in violence and vitriol against the Asian American community, this model uses the opportunity to stand up and speak out as an advocate. In fact, she lent her presence to New York City’s Women’s March and gave a speech about what it means to disrupt the model minority myth.
4. Brana Dane
Of Danish and Turkish descent, model and activist Brana Dane is outspoken on a range of social and political issues – environmental conservation and fair wages for garment workers all over the world, to name a few. She even gave a keynote speech for New York City’s Earth Day in Union Square and led a viral social media campaign calling for environmental improvements within the fashion industry. In 2020, this cover star advocated for the oppressed Uyghur people in a fashion week protest of human rights abuses, and in 2022, she again spoke out against abuses in the fashion industry on Swiss news. This model shows us that it’s cool to care!
Colombia graduate Cameron Russell gave one of the most successful TED talks of all time in 2013. She gave the candid truth about the image-making industry. From airbrushed photos to objectification, we got a whole new appreciation for the modeling industry. Since 2013, this model has founded a community for fashion insiders, aptly named The Model Mafia, has organized a climate march in DC, and has consistently shared her political opinions on her popular social media. The daughter of Zipcar founder Robin Chase, this model has no problem standing up for her beliefs!
Overall, these models have transformed their role beyond mere aesthetics, becoming influential voices for causes that resonate with them and creating a positive social impact through their online and personal presence.
Kelly Campbell is a passionate wordsmith with a flair for storytelling and a pen that expertly weaves fact with narration. With a degree in the social sciences and experience writing for some of the top publications, Kelly is on her way to becoming a top voice in the arts, fashion, and culture.