Records show that these first female “supermodels” ranged in looks and heights from 5’5 Twiggy ~ 6’3 Verushka
Verushka’s height is 6’3
Twiggy stands at 5’5
First Japanese “supermodel” Hiroko Matsumoto. Height unknown.
Naomi Sims regarded as the first black supermodel.
In February 1968, an article in Glamour described 19 models as “supermodels,” of whom were: Cheryl Tiegs, Verushka, Lisa Palmer, Peggy Moffitt, Susan Murray, Twiggy, Susan Harnett, Marisa Berenson, Gretchen Harris, Heide Wiedeck, Irish Bianchi, Hiroko Matsumoto, Anne DeZagher, Kathie Carpenter, Jean Shrimpton, Jean Patchett, Benedetta Barzini, Claudia Duxbury, and Agneta Frieberg.
Naomi Sims, who is sometimes regarded as the first black supermodel, became the first African American to feature on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal in 1968
Sports Illustrated editor Jule Campbell abandoned then-current modeling trends for its fledgling Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue by photographing “bigger and healthier” California models and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names.
The first African American model to be on the cover of American Vogue was Beverly Johnson in 1974.
During the early 1980s, fashion designers began advertising on television and billboards. Catwalk regulars like Gia Carangi, Cheryl Tiegs, Carol Alt, Christie Brinkley, Kim Alexis, Paulina Porizkova, Brooke Shields, Heather Locklear, and Elle Macpherson began to endorse products with their names, as well as their faces, through the marketing of brands such as the beverage Diet Pepsi to the extension of car title Ford Trucks.
This is when Supermodels began to make Millions of dollars instead of thousands.
1990 began with a January British Vogue cover presenting five of the top modeling stars of the era hand-picked and photographed by Peter Lindbergh. The five models were Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Tatjana Patitz. In 1990, their status as top models ended and a new era for the “supermodel” began.
These new Supermodels did talk shows, were cited in gossip columns, partied at the trendiest nightspots, landed movie roles, inspired franchises, dated or married film stars, and earned themselves millions. Fame empowered them to take charge of their careers, to market themselves, and to command higher fees.
As the 1990s progressed, the supermodels were joined by Claudia Schiffer and then Kate Moss. They were the most heavily in demand, collectively dominating magazine covers, fashion runways, editorial pages, and both print and broadcast advertising.
Kate Moss credited with beginning the “heroin chic” look.
Emerging in the late 1990s, Gisele Bündchen became the first in a wave of Brazilian models to gain popularity in the industry and with the public. With numerous covers of Vogue under her belt, including an issue that dubbed her the “Return of the Sexy Model,”.
American Vogue dubbed ten models (Doutzen Kroes, Agyness Deyn, Hilary Rhoda, Raquel Zimmermann, Coco Rocha, Lily Donaldson, Chanel Iman, Sasha Pivovarova, Caroline Trentini, and Jessica Stam) as the new crop of supermodels in their May 2007 cover story. They get critisized for looking anorexic.
Again I think they got it right in the beginning. In the 1960’s they had all types of female models from 5’5 – 6’3. They had very skinny Twiggy to larger sized women as supermodels. They all had a different look and I think that’s better than just seeing the same type of models. I think fashion needs to go back to the basics.