In luxury fashion, the terms “model” and “supermodel” are often used interchangeably, but they represent different positions in the industry. While both programs involve exposure to clothing and accessories, the level of recognition, prestige, and potential income can vary greatly. 

Let’s dig deeper into the details that separate portraits from big pictures.

Defining Models and Supermodels


A model is a person who presents clothing, accessories, or other items in advertisements, commercials, fashion shows, or photographs. Models can work in various categories, such as fashion, retail, fitness, and more. They are usually hired by companies and work on a contract basis. 


On the other hand, a supermodel is a very successful and internationally recognized model. Supermodels are often household names, known for their work with famous fashion houses, top designers, and major publications. They command higher fees and have a reputation beyond the fashion industry.


Models vs. Supermodels: Key Difference

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1. Recognition and Reputation 

Models: While models can gain recognition in the fashion industry, they may not be widely known behind the scenes. 

Supermodels: Supermodels are global icons recognized by people worldwide, often appearing on magazine covers and high-profile campaigns. 

2. Ability to Earn Money 

Models: Models’ salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and type of work. They can be paid a small amount or a large amount to run high-quality campaigns. 

Supermodels: Supermodels command high fees for their work, often earning millions of dollars a year from endorsements, runway shows, and other businesses. 

3. Longevity of Work Quality

Models: A model’s career can be short-lived, and longevity is affected by many factors, such as age, industry trends, and personal branding. 

Supermodels: Often, feature models tend to have long careers that span decades, thanks to their enduring popularity and adaptability to changing fashion trends. 

4. Industry Influence 

Models: Models contribute to the fashion industry by showcasing fashion and trends, but their influence is local or more mainstream. 

Supermodels: Supermodels have a huge impact on the industry, setting trends, influencing consumer behavior, and often acting as brand ambassadors for major fashion houses.


The History of Supermodels 

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The term “supermodel” was coined in the 1940s to describe models who had gained recognition beyond the fashion industry. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that the concept of supermodels truly took off, thanks to a combination of factors, including the rise of fashion magazines, the globalization of the fashion industry, and the emergence of iconic figures who captured the public’s imagination.

In the mid-20th century, models such as Lisa Fonssagrives, Dovima, and Suzy Parker began to achieve fame beyond the pages of fashion magazines. These models were admired for their beauty, style, and elegance, and they helped define the beauty standards of their era. However, the term “supermodel” had not yet been coined, and their fame was largely confined to the world of fashion.

The 1980s marked a turning point for the modeling industry, with the emergence of models who became household names. One of the first supermodels of this era was Janice Dickinson, known for her striking looks and confident demeanor. However, it was the arrival of models like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington that truly defined the supermodel era.

How to Become a Supermodel? 

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Becoming a supermodel is a dream for many aspiring models, but it requires more than just looking good. It takes dedication, hard work, patience, and a little passion to reach the upper echelons of the fashion world. If you’re interested in working as a female model, here are some moves you can make to increase your chances of success: 

1. Get Your Look: Generally, models have a unique and memorable look that sets them apart. While beauty standards vary, clear skin, attractive figures, and symmetrical features are generally considered useful. However, your attractiveness is being valued more in the industry, so embrace what makes you unique. 

2. Build a Strong Portfolio: A portfolio, also known as a book, is a collection of your best photos that showcase your versatility and range as examples. Invest in professional photography and include images such as headshots, full-body portraits, and editorial portraits. 

3. Get an Education: Although not mandatory, taking photography classes or workshops can help you learn important skills like drawing, walking the runway, and working with photographers. Furthermore, understanding the business side of modeling, including contracts and negotiations, can be useful. 

4. Look for a Reputable Agency: Working with a reputable design agency can open doors to opportunities that would otherwise be hard to come by. Research companies in your area or major fashion capitals like New York, Paris, Milan, and London, and submit your resume for consideration. 

5. Network and Build Relationships: Attend industry events, fashion shows, and casting calls to network with industry professionals. Building relationships with photographers, models, and fashion designers can lead to more opportunities and exposure.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Supermodels are known for their commitment to fitness and health. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and take good care of your skin and hair. 

7. Be professional and reliable: Punctuality, professionalism, and a positive attitude are key qualities clients look for in a model. By being reliable and accessible, you can show that you take your job seriously. 

8. Be consistent and flexible: Rejection is normal in the modeling industry, so it’s important not to give up on being consistent. Continue to refine your skills, build your portfolio and look for opportunities to grow and improve. 

9. Consider your brand: A strong online presence in today’s digital age can help you stand out. Consider building a professional website or using social media platforms like Instagram to showcase your business and connect with fans and industry professionals. 

10. Stay informed and adapt: The fashion industry is constantly evolving, so staying abreast of current trends and changes is essential. Be willing to adapt your look and style to meet the industry’s demands.


Notable Supermodels 

Supermodels aren’t just faces on magazine covers; they are images of fashion, beauty, and influence. Not only have they graced the most famous runways and campaigns in the world, but they have also transcended the fashion industry to become cultural icons. Here are some of the most notable supermodels in history, along with highlights of each:

1. Cindy Crawford

Career Highlights: Cindy Crawford rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming one of the most iconic supermodels of her time. She graced the covers of numerous magazines, including Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Achievements: Beyond modeling, Crawford ventured into acting and entrepreneurship, launching her successful line of beauty products and home furnishings.

Legacy: Known for her signature mole above her lip and her all-American beauty, Cindy Crawford remains a symbol of timeless elegance and sophistication.

2. Naomi Campbell


Career Highlights: Naomi Campbell is one of the fashion industry’s most recognizable and enduring figures. She has worked with top designers and appeared on countless magazine covers.

Achievements: Campbell has used her platform to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the fashion world. She is also involved in humanitarian efforts.

Legacy: With her striking features and powerful presence, Naomi Campbell has shattered barriers and continues to inspire generations of models and fashion enthusiasts.

3. Kate Moss


Career Highlights: Kate Moss rose to fame in the early 1990s as the face of the “heroin chic” fashion trend. Despite the controversy, she became one of the most sought-after models of her generation.

Achievements: Moss has collaborated with top fashion designers and brands, and her influence extends beyond the runway with her own fashion lines and fragrances.

Legacy: Known for her waifish figure and rebellious attitude, Kate Moss has redefined the standards of beauty in the fashion industry and remains an enduring style icon.

4. Gisele Bündchen

Career Highlights: Gisele Bündchen is one of the highest-paid models in the world, known for her runway presence and commercial appeal.

Achievements: Bündchen has ventured into philanthropy and environmental activism, using her platform to raise awareness about sustainability issues.

Legacy: With her Brazilian beauty and natural charm, Gisele Bündchen has become a symbol of health, wellness, and natural beauty, inspiring women around the world.


While models and supermodels play essential roles within the fashion industry, supermodels occupy a rarefied position characterized by a worldwide reputation, high earning potential, and enduring fame. 

Models, however, contribute to the industry in various capacities, showcasing designs and trends while pursuing their careers in a competitive and ever-evolving field. Whether walking the runway or starring in advert campaigns, models and supermodels strive to captivate audiences and inspire style fanatics and fashion enthusiats worldwide.