25 most influential black female models in the world | What are their countries of origin?

25 most influential black female models in the world | What are their countries of origin?

The global beauty industry has evolved a lot in the past decade when it comes to inclusivity. Women of colour from all the continents have not shied away from proving to the world that black is also beautiful. This article lists the top 25 influential black female models who continue to redefine beauty standards.

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Influential black female models
Famous black models. Photo: @Gareth Cattermole/amfAR, @Christopher Willard, @Alberto E. Rodriguez, @Stefanie Keenan (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks are some of the world’s hot black models who have wowed crowds with their catwalks on international runways. The overwhelmingly positive reception of women of colour continues to be a game-changer in the world of beauty.

Who is the top black female model?

Below are the most famous black models creating airwaves in the global runway industry. The models on the list have walked on major international runways, graced the covers of popular fashion magazines, and done campaigns for some of the world’s greatest fashion designers.

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25. Tomiko Fraser - United States

Tomiko Fraser
Tomiko Fraser was the first Afro-American model to represent Maybelline cosmetics. Photo: Earl Gibson III
Source: Getty Images

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Tomiko Fraser Hines was born on 2nd May 1968 in Bronx, New York. She started modelling at 25 and was the first African-American model to represent Maybelline cosmetics.

24. Emanuela De Paula - Brazil

Brazilian model
Emanuela De Paula from Brazil was one of the highest-earning supermodels of the 2000s. Photo: Fernanda Calfat
Source: Getty Images

Emanuela De Paula was born on 25th April 1989 in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Pernambuco, Brazil, to an African-Brazilian father and white Brazilian mother. She has modelled in major international fashion shows in both Brazil and the United States. By 2009, she was among the highest-earning supermodels.

23. Selita Ebanks - Cayman Islands

Selita Ebanks
Selita Ebanks is a Caymanian supermodel. Photo: Frazer Harrison
Source: Getty Images

Selita Ebanks was born on 17th February 1983 in George Town, Cayman Islands, to a Jamaican father and a Caymanian mother. She made her modelling debut in 2001 and has since walked numerous international runways. Selita Ebanks has also graced the covers of top fashion magazines such as Vogue and Glamour and was a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 2005 to 2010.

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22. Arlenis Sosa - Dominican Republic

Arlenis Sosa
Arlenis Sosa is a Dominican model and current spokesmodel for Lancôme. Photo: Gary Gershoff
Source: Getty Images

Arlenis Sosa Peña was born on 7th May 1989 in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. She has modelled for numerous global fashion designers, including Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Donna Karan, and others. Arlenis Sosa is the current spokesmodel for Lancôme.

21. Danielle Herrington - United States

Danielle Herrington
Danielle Herrington was the third woman to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Photo: Dominique Charriau
Source: Getty Images

Danielle Nicole Herrington was born on 26th May 1993 in Compton, California. She became the third African-American woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (2018) after Tyra Banks and Beyonce.

20. Malaika Firth - Kenya

Kenyan models
Malaika Firth is a Kenyan-British model. Photo: David M. Benett
Source: Getty Images

Malaika Firth was born on 23rd March 1994 in Mombasa, Kenya then moved to London when she was seven. She gained global fame in 2013 when she became the first black model in nearly two decades to participate in a Prada campaign.

19. Maty Fall Diba - Senegal

Beautiful black model
Fall Diba is a Senegalese-Italian model. Photo: Pietro S. D'Aprano
Source: Getty Images

Maty Fall Diba was born on 1st May 2001 in Dakar, Senegal. She moved to Italy when she was 9 and later became a citizen of Italy. She has opened and closed several major fashion shows. Fall Diba has also graced the covers of top magazines, including British Vogue, i-D Magazine, Vogue Netherlands, and Vogue Italia.

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18. Ugbad Abdi - Somali

Somali model
Ugbad Abdi wears hijab on fashion runways. Photo: Rosdiana Ciaravolo
Source: Getty Images

Ugbad Abdi was born in Kismayo, Somalia, and then grew up at a Kenyan refugee camp before relocating to the United States. She opened for Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs during the New York Fashion Week. The Somali model has also been featured in numerous fashion magazines, including the Arabian, American, and British Vogue.

17. Malika Louback - Djibouti

Malika Louback
Malika Louback is the first Djibouti model to feature on the cover of Vogue. Photo: Peter White
Source: Getty Images

Malika Louback was born in 1995 in Djibouti and moved to France for further studies and to launch her modelling career. She has three college degrees in engineering-related courses. Malika is the first model from Djibouti to feature on the cover of Vogue.

16. Sara Nuru - Germany

Ethiopian model
Sara Nuru is a German-based Ethiopian fashion model. Photo: Florian Ebener
Source: Getty Images

Sara Nuru was born on 19th August 1989 in Erding, Bavaria, Germany, to Ethiopian emigrants of the Amhara ethnic group. She won the fourth cycle of Germany’s Next Top Model. Sara Nuru has walked major global runways, including the Berlin, Milan, New York, and London Fashion Weeks.

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15. Khoudia Diop - Senegal

Senegalese model
Khoudia Diop often refers to herself as the Melanin Goddess. Photo: Amanda Edwards
Source: Getty Images

Khoudia Diop was born on 31st December 1996 in Senegal. She often refers to herself as Melanin Goddess. Khoudia gained international fame after being featured in The Colored Girl Project. She has also campaigned for the French-based cosmetics brand, Make Up For Ever.

14. Anok Yai - Egypt

South Sudanese models
Anok Yai is the second black model to open a Prada fashion show. Photo: Mike Coppola
Source: Getty Images

Anok Yai was born on 20th December 1997 in Cairo, Egypt, to South Sudanese parents. Her family relocated to Manchester, New Hampshire, when she was three. She is the first South Sudanese and second black model after Naomi Campbell to open a Prada fashion show.

13. Adut Akech - South Sudan

South Sudanese-Australian model
Adut Akech became a global exclusive for Saint Laurent in 2016. Photo: Victor VIRGILE
Source: Getty Images

Adut Akech was born on 25th December 1999 in South Sudan. Her family relocated to Kenya as refugees before moving to Adelaide, Australia. In 2016, she became a global exclusive for Saint Laurent. She has since modelled for top fashion brands, including Alexander McQueen, Versace, Prada, Calvin Klein and others.

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12. Duckie Thot - Australia

Duckie Thot
Duckie is an Australian-born South Sudanese model. Photo: Alexander Tamargo
Source: Getty Images

Duckie Thot, real name Nyadak Thot, was born on 23rd October 1995 in Melbourne, Australia, to South Sudanese refugees. The Victoria's Secret model has been the global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris since 2018 and has taken part in campaigns for Fenty, Oscar de la Renta, and Moschino.

11. Nyakim Gatwech - Ethiopia

South Sudanese models
Nyakim Gatwech earned the moniker Queen of Darkness due to her dark skin tone. Photo: Paul Archuleta
Source: Getty Images

Nyakim Gatwech was born on 27th January 1993 in Gambela, Ethiopia, to South Sudanese parents and later relocated to the United States when she was 14. She earned the nickname Queen of Darkness due to her dark skin pigmentation.

10. Halima Aden - Kenya

Halima Aden
Halima Aden is the first model to wear a hijab on international fashion runways. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez
Source: Getty Images

Halima Aden was born on 22nd September 1997 in the Kenyan-based Kakuma refugee camp to Somali parents. She relocated to the USA when she was six. Halima is the first supermodel to wear a hijab on international runways and appear on major magazine covers.

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9. Agbani Darego - Nigeria

African models
Agbani Darego was crowned Miss World in 2001. Photo: Lalo Yasky
Source: Getty Images

Asenite Agbani Darego was born on 22nd December 1982 in River State, Nigeria. In 2001, she was crowned Miss World, becoming the first black African to win the crown. She proceeded to model for several top brands, including L’Oreal, Christian Dior, Avon, Sephora and others. She has also graced the covers of top fashion magazines like Elle, Allure, Marie Claire, Essence, and Metropolitan.

8. Waris Dirie - Somali

Somali supermodel
Waris Dirie became a model after fleeing Somali and settling in London. Photo: Florian Ebener
Source: Getty Images

Waris Dirie was born in 1965 in Galkayo, Somalia, to a nomadic family. When she was 13, she fled home to avoid an arranged marriage to an old man. She went to London and did odd jobs while learning English. She was discovered by celebrity photographer Terence Donovan when she was 18 and proceeded to become one of the first African supermodels.

7. Oluchi Onweagba - Nigeria

Oluchi Onweagba
Oluchi is a Nigerian model based in New York City. Photo: Shawn Ehlers
Source: Getty Images

Oluchi Onweagba Orlandi was born on 1st August 1980 in Lagos, Nigeria but is now based in New York City. She has graced the covers of top international magazines, including Elle, Italian Vogue, and Pop. The Victoria's Secret model has also walked runways for global brands like Gucci, Christian Dior, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, and others.

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6. Jessica White - United States

Jessica White
Jessica White is Victoria's Secret model. Photo: Amy Sussman
Source: Getty Images

Jessica White was born on 21st June 1984 in Buffalo, New York. The Victoria's Secret model has walked major runways for some of the biggest designers, including Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta. She has also worked with Covergirl and graced several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues.

5. Alek Wek - South Sudan

Supermodel Alek Wek
Alek Wek is a South Sudanese-British supermodel. Photo: Emma McIntyre
Source: Getty Images

Alek Wek was born on 16th April 1977 in Wau, South Sudan and belongs to the Dinka ethnic community. Her family migrated to Britain in 1991 to flee the civil war in her country. Alek is one of the first dark-skinned African supermodels to grace international fashion magazines and walk global runways. In 2013, she was appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

4. Chanel Iman - United States

Beautiful black model
Chanel Iman is Victoria's Secret Angel. Photo: Stefanie Keenan
Source: Getty Images

Chanel Iman Robinson was born on 1st December 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia and has African-American and Korean roots. The Victoria's Secret Angel started modelling when she was 12 years old.

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3. Jourdan Dunn - United Kingdom

Jourdan Dunn
Jourdan Dunn is an English model. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto
Source: Getty Images

Jourdan Sherise Dunn was born on 3rd August 1990 in Brent, London and has Jamaican, Syrian, Lebanese, and Grenadian roots. In 2014, she became the new face of Maybelline New York and has walked numerous runways for many fashion designers.

2. Tyra Banks - United States

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks was the first African-American to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Photo: Christopher Willard
Source: Getty Images

Tyra Lynne Banks was born on 4th December 1973 in Inglewood, California. She was the first Afro-American model to grace the covers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and GQ. The former Victoria's Secret Angel was among the highest-earning models in the early 2000s.

1. Naomi Campbell - United Kingdom

Black supermodel
Naomi Campbell is one of the five original black models. Photo: Gareth Cattermole/amfAR
Source: Getty Images

Naomi Elaine Campbell was born on 22nd May 1970 in Streatham, South London, to a Jamaican mother. She is one of the five original supermodels and has been on the covers of over 500 magazines. Naomi became the first black model to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, Russian Vogue, and French Vogue and has walked numerous runways for top designers.

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Are there any black Victoria's Secret models?

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has featured numerous black models since its inception. Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Joan Smalls, Oluchi Onweagba, and others have walked the runway for the clothing and beauty retailer.

Who is the highest-paid African model?

Candice Swanepoel from South Africa is the highest-paid African model with an approximate net worth of $25 million in 2022. The Victoria’s Secret Angel is of Afrikaans descent.

Who is the No 1 female model in the world?

Kendal Jenner is one of the most sought-after models and also the highest-earning, with a net worth of $45 million. In terms of beauty, Bella Hadid was named the most beautiful woman in the world in 2022. The Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi found that she had the perfect face.

The listed black female models are a great inspiration to girls across the world to be comfortable in their own skin. Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and colours.

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Alice Wabwile avatar

Alice Wabwile (Lifestyle writer) Alice Wabwile is a multifaceted content creator and Project Assistant at AfDAN, boasting over four years of experience. Holding a BCom degree from the University of Nairobi School of Business, she has cultivated a dynamic skill set through roles such as her tenure at Strathmore University's Data Science Department, where she contributed significantly to research. Recognized for her exceptional talent, she clinched the Writer of the Year Award. Beyond her professional endeavours, Alice is an engaged member of the Rotaract Club of Kabete. For inquiries, reach out to her at alicenjoro01@gmail.com

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