Name: Ataui Deng
Her Impact: At the age of 16, Ataui Deng debuted on the runways for the spring Jeremy Laing, Kai Kuhne, L’Wren Scott, Proenza Schouler and Zac Posen New York shows in 2008. To date, the stunning superstar has graced runways all over the world. She’s also appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue and Lurve magazines.
Name: Yasmin Warsame
Her Impact: Discovered in Toronto in 1997, Yasmin Warsame began her journey into an enviable and impressive modeling career. She has been featured on the covers of Vogue Italia, American Vogue, American and British Elle, and Amica and Surface magazines. She has also walked the runway for major fashion houses including Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. Additionally, Yasmin landed advertising campaigns for Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada, Hermès, Shiseido, Chanel, GAP and H&M.
Name: Ajak Deng
Her Impact: Angelique “Ajak” Deng was introduced to the fashion world at the age of 19. In 2010, she immediately secured contracts with industry legends such as Chloe, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier and Lanvin. She continues to work steadily, securing major fashion shows and editorial spreads in magazines such as Vogue and W magazine.
Name: Liya Kebede
Her Impact: Liya Kebede got her big break when she signed an exclusive contract for the Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. Another marked career achievement for the elegant Ethiopian beauty was gracing the cover of Paris Vogue and having the entire issue dedicated to her.
She has appeared on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French and Spanish Vogue and has been featured in ad campaigns for a host of designers and cosmetics brands including Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Revlon, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada and Louis Vuitton. In 2003, she was became the first Ethiopian spokesmodel for Estée Lauder cosmetics.
In 2005, she was appointed as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
Name: Alek Wek
Her Impact: Alek Wek has modeled runway and/or print campaigns for major fashion and cosmetics brands such as Issey Miyake, Moschino, Victoria’s Secret, Clinique, Chanel, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Armani, Fendi and Christian Dior. She has also made the covers of Elle magazine, i-D Magazine, Canadian, German and Japanese Vogue, Cosmopolitan magazine, Glamour magazine, Forbes Magazine Africa, and Ebony magazine.
Alek’s beautiful African features and deep midnight skin flew in the face of the conventional European beauty standard that continues to dominate the fashion industry as a whole. When she was discovered in London in 1995, Black women with features that are the literal antithesis to white standards were rarely used in fashion, if at all. Alek changed the rules in how the world perceives beauty.
Name: Atong Arjok
Her Impact: In 2006, Sudanese stunner Atong Arjok landed her first big break as spokeswoman for Sephora cosmetics. Her career has been filled with highlights such as appearing in Allure, Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle magazine. Atong has also modeled on the runway and in advertising campaigns for myriad brands such as Diane von Furstenburg, Philip Lim, Target and Kenneth Cole.
Name: Betty Adewole
Her Impact: Smoldering supermodel Betty Adewole started her impressive career in London and received her first big break when she made the cover of Arise magazine. Since then, her career has blossomed with seeming nonstop fashion shows and photo shoots all over the world. Betty has walked the runway for designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Prada, House of Holland and Narciso Rodriguez.
The 21-year-old Nigerian-British model is the new face of Tom Ford Beauty’s Spring/Summer 2014 Ad Campaign.
Name: Flaviana Matata
Her Impact: In 2007, Flaviana won the beauty queen title of Miss Tanzania and went on to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant that year. She placed sixth and was the first contestant from Tanzania to compete at a Miss Universe competition, and the first contestant to compete with a shaved head.
Since her placing in the Miss Universe competition, the fabulous Flaviana Matata has graced the runways for major designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Tracey Reese. In March 2011 she won the Model of the Year award by Arise magazine at Lagos Fashion Week. Her striking image has been featured in Dazed & Confused, Glass Magazine, L’Officiel and i-D magazines.
Name: Grace Bol
Her Impact: Grace Bol was born in Sudan, but moved to Kansas City, Mo., when she was a child. In an interview with New York magazine, she said that she decided to pursue her modeling career in New York City when a talent scout in the mall said her look was too “high fashion” for local casting.
She moved to the Big Apple to pursue her dreams in 2009. Apparently, she made the right decision. Grace has walked the runways internationally for illustrious designers such as Givenchy, Maison Martin Marigela and Vivienne Westwood.
Name: Herieth Paul
Her Impact: Herieth Paul has burned runways across the globe for major fashion brands including Diane von Fürstenberg, Lacoste, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Armani and Cavalli.
Since landing a modeling contract with a major New York City agency in 2010, Herieth has appeared in editorials for Vogue Italia magazine, i-D , Wonderland and Teen Vogue. She has made the covers of Vogue Italia and Canadian Elle. She has also has appeared in beauty campaigns for cKone and Tom Ford.
Name: Nyasha Matonhodze
Her Impact: Shortly after signing her modeling contract, Nyasha debuted at the spring Louis Gray show in London; also walks for Loewe, Jonathan Saunders, Emanuel Ungaro, and Louis Vuitton in 2009. She has since walked the runways for Halston, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Emanuel Ungaro, Loewe and Louis Vuitton shows in New York and Paris.
Nyasha also appeared in editorials for magazines such as W, Teen Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Name: Rebecca Ayoko
Her Impact: In the 1980, a model scout discovered Rebecca Ayoko while in Paris. The Togo-born model caught the attention of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and became one of his leading models and muses. Rebecca’s career spanned throughout the 1980s and 1990s as she modeled for leading houses in Europe and the U.S. such as Geoffrey Beene and Oscar de la Renta.
In 2012, she published her autobiography, “When Stars Become Black.”
Name: Minah Ogbenyealu Bird
Her Impact: Minah was a Nigerian model and actress in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. After appearing in such films as “Percy’s Progress,” “The Stud” and “The London Connection,” she vanished from public view in the late 1970s. The stunning starlet passed away after suffering an apparent heart attack in 1995.
Name: Waris Dirie
Her Impact: Waris was discovered by a photographer who secured her as the cover model for the 1987 Pirelli Calendar. From there, her modeling career skyrocketed. She appeared in advertisements for top designers such as Chanel, Levi’s, L’Oréal and Revlon. She also starred on the runways of London, Milan, Paris and New York City, and in fashion magazines such as Elle,Glamour and Vogue.
In 1997, she became a U.N. ambassador for the abolition of female genital mutilation. In 2010, Waris was appointed Peace Ambassador for the Year of Peace and Security by the African Union. She is also a best-selling author. Her titles include “Desert Flower,” “Desert Dawn,” “Letter to My Mother,” and “Desert Children.”
Her Impact: Fashion icon Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid landed her first modeling assignment forVogue magazine. She became a muse for many exclusive designers such as Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake, Donna Karan and Yves Saint-Laurent. She was the first Black model to appear on the cover of German Vogue.
Iman found great success as an internationally celebrated supermodel for almost three decades, but her accomplishments did not stop at the end of the runway. Not only is the legendary beauty an established actress, but she also owns a cosmetics collection for women of color called “Iman.” Despite her hectic schedule, she has managed to find time to work toward fighting AIDS in Africa as a global ambassador for the Keep a Child Alive campaign and for I Am Africa.