Top 5 Alt Models Challenging Your Notions of Beauty
This day and age, fashion moves at a lightning fast pace. The industry is expanding, allowing for non traditional ideas of beauty to enter mainstream designers and fashion outlets. This year alone we’ve seen trans models Hari Nef and Andreja Pejic both signed to major campaigns, and we love it. Watching beauty standards become more inclusive across the board, the next chapter in fashion history will be all about breaking the mold, and so the Milk Made team has put together our Top 5 Alt Models Challenging Your Notions of Beauty!
This Canadian model proves that skin can be its own work of art. Diagnosed with Vitiligo, a rare skin condition that occurs when the pigment cells don’t function at all or die, Winnie Harlow has always had a distinctive look about her. In 2011, she uploaded a YouTube video, ‘Vitiligo: A Skin Condition, not a Life Changer,’ causing so much exposure that Tyra Banks picked her to compete in America’s Next Top Model. Even though she didn’t win, Winnie went on to walk for Desigual’s NYFW show and model for Diesel’s SS15 campaign. She challenges us to expand our definition of what we deem aesthetically-pleasing, beautiful skin.
Since she was young, this LA-based model has always had the industry tell her that she’ll never find a place in the industry. Under 6 ft. tall and a size 22,Tess Holliday doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a model. However, this hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her, now successful, career. The women behind the #effyourbeautystandards has been working to make the industry more inclusive for years. In January, she was signed by MiLK Management, making her the first model of her size to be signed by a major agency. Going from being told that she’d be lucky to do catalogue work to being on the cover for People Magazine, she’s cracked open the rigid frame of the female model. Tess has also become another kind of model, the kind that inspires young women to accept their bodies.
The ambitious 18 year old with Downs Syndrome has been making waves in trying to kickstart her modelling career. She’s already aggregated 300,000 fans on her Facebook page, which states, “Madeline would like to be a model, modelling will help change societies [sic] view of people with Down Syndrome, exposure will help to create acceptance in life.” Struggling with her weight when she was younger, Maddy (as many refer to her affectionately), got in shape and now promotes confidence and is ready to challenge the fashion scene. While she hasn’t been signed yet, we’re waiting for to get the next big Vogue cover!
Last year, a new Diesel campaign, curated by Diesel creative director Nicola Formichetti, introduced Jillian Mercado to the public. Although she is well known in the fashion world as a blogger and editor at We the Urban magazine, Jillian had thus far been an unknown figure to those outside of the fashion and blogging circles. Although disabled by muscular dystrophy and confined to a wheelchair, she has been an unstoppable force in everything she does. While attending Fashion Institute of Technology, she completed internships at Veranda magazine, Allure, and with the society photographer Patrick McMullan, among others. Her website, Manufactured 1987, is an essential resource for fashion news and interviews. With a successful career as a blogger and editor, her new foray into modeling is serving as an inspiration for disabled models everywhere.
Claiming to be the world’s first in anything is a tough call to make nowadays, but Shaun Ross seems by all accounts to be the world’s very first albino model. And does he ever own it. Ross grew up in the Bronx where he led a childhood full of ostracism and bullying due to his skin color. Things turned around rather quickly when he was discovered on Youtube in videos demonstrating his frenetic dance moves, and subsequently signed to his first modeling contract at the ripe age of 16. Now 24, Ross has one of the most impressive resumes in the business, appearing in music videos for Beyonce and Katy Perry, landing covers on Italian Vogue and Paper Magazine, and walking runway shows for Alexander McQueen and Givenchy. It’s a quintessential Cinderella story, and Ross has officially blazed the trail for any model with a nontraditional skin tone.