We all know models typically don’t have a very long shelf life, I don’t think that’s up for debate. There are, however, a number of exceptions who have transcended the idea that there is an expiration date that is stamped on most models’ foreheads. To be able to withstand the scrutiny of the ever changing fashion industry, these ladies must be confident, unique-looking and original. This short list of girls stands out for the sole reason that they have outlasted their many competitors to succeed against all odds. There might be a lot of girls now who look similar to them, but they were the first, the trailblazers, the originals.
Who can say anything bad about Gemma Ward? She may not be everyone’s cup of tea per se, but she is undeniably magnetic. Discovered in Perth, Australia at the tender age of 15, Gemma was an instant star. Her ethereal face captured the attention of many, especially with her cat-like eyes which are set far apart. Ward was the youngest face ever to grace the cover of American Vogue, shot by legendary photographer, Steven Meisel. In 2007, Forbes named Gemma Ward the 10th most top-earning model of the year. Ward regularly trotted down the runways of labels like Versace, Prada, Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci and uncountable others. Her walk is imposing, and has quite a presence on the runway. Many thought Ward’s career was over following a weight-gain said to be the result of mourning Heath Ledger’s death whom she was rumored to be dating, however she made a comeback playing a mermaid named Tamara in the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It couldn’t be more gratifying to see her back and looking better than ever!
At 16, Lily Donaldson was beginning to take over the world. Lily was scouted by a modeling agent in the Camden neighborhood of London and the rest is history. Following the waif look popularized by Kate Moss in the 90’s, Lily’s rail-thin body and doll-like face were unmistakable and a newer, fresher take on the look. The young model has walked the catwalks of every designer imaginable and 9 years later, she is still a staple in the industry…significantly longer than most model’s shelf lives. Donaldson has been featured in every magazine that comes to mind, gracing the cover of Vogue worldwide and is a favorite in European fashion publications like L’Officiel and Numero. She has been the face of Gucci, Burberry, and Victoria’s Secret. After all these years, now at the age of 25, Lily is still going strong.
Typically just known as Daria, you know she has to be something amazing…after all, who else is just known by their first names? Madonna, Oprah, Cher…the list goes on. Daria is a Ukrainian model who began modeling at the age of 14. After signing with Elite Model Management, Daria booked a campaign for Prada and never looked back. Since then, Daria has been in countless campaigns, such as Dior, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and many others. In 2003, Daria had walked in more shows than any other model that entire year, quite a significant feat! Karl Lagerfeld is a fervent supporter of Werbowy saying, “She is much more than a model, a personality and a unique beauty, a rare mix.” If Karl puts down his oriental fan to give his 2 diamond-encrusted thumbs up, how could anyone else not?
The elfish-looking vixen is a new breed of model. Caroline Trentini revolutionized sex appeal whether you realized it or not. Her look is quintessentially high-fashion but she is still regarded as sexy, prancing down the catwalk of Victoria’s Secret (she is Brazilian after all, it’s in their genes apparently). Discovered at 13 by the same scout who discovered Gisele Bundchen, Trentini relocated to Sao Paulo where her life changed forever. A favorite of designers like Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace and photographers like Steven Klein, Trentini has walked every catwalk you can think of with her sultry strut, seductively slinking down the runway with all eyes on her. She is typically regarded as one of the best runway walkers of the last 10 years, swaying her hips back and forth, a direct opposite of most of the high-fashion models. Trentini hasn’t been seen much lately with the exception of an appearance on the Victoria’s Secret runway every so often, but don’t be surprised if the Brazilian-born beauty has a comeback within the next year or so, her look is timeless and appealing to most!
With her alabaster skin and sharp bone structure, Coco Rocha was an easy choice for model scout Charles Stuart. Coco was discovered at a competition for Irish Stepdancing which she still practices to this day. Like many models get their starts, Rocha was whisked off to New York where she was shot by Steven Meisel. About a year or so into her now highly-esteemed modeling career, legendary designer Jean Paul Gaultier had Coco open his show, Irish Stepdancing down the runway. This moment has now become iconic in the fashion industry. Coco has been the face of countless campaigns and has walked so many runways it’s impossible to count. For a brief time in the late 2000’s, Rocha took a hiatus from strutting the catwalk due to gaining a bit of weight. Rocha became an avid spokesperson against eating disorders, going on many talk shows including Tyra Banks and Anderson Cooper to discuss the views of the industry as an insider. Rocha is back to modeling regularly and is still speaking out against the pressure put on young models to stay thin. Her poise and beauty speaks volumes, thus why she is still a fixture in the industry.