19 models who made history for H&M, Sports Illustrated, and more

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Jennie Runk made history for H&M.
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Vicenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

The fashion industry is notorious for its rigidity.

But every now and then, a model redefines the industry.

These models proved that you don’t need to look a certain way to be featured in a major campaign or to strut the runway.

In fact, these models owned who they are – and still do.

See who these history-making women are.


Plus-size model Jennie Runk appeared in an H&M campaign in 2013 with little fanfare, proving that the brand didn’t discriminate between sizes.

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YouTube

Source: Business Insider


Neelam Gill was Burberry’s first ever Indian model to star in a campaign.

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Burberry

Source: Elle


Mariah Idrissi made history when she wore a hijab earlier this year in an H&M campaign. She was discovered on Instagram.

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Youtube/H&M

Source: Business Insider


Ashley Graham broke ground as the first ever size 14-16 model to appear in Sports Illustrated. She appeared in ad for Swimsuitsforall.

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Courtesy of swimsuitsforall

Source: Business Insider


Robyn Lawley is size 12, and she appeared in Sports Illustrated the same year that Ashley Graham’s ad did. This caused some controversy, as not everyone considered her to be truly plus size. She also has appeared in Ralph Lauren campaigns.

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Sports Illustrated

Source: Business Insider; Business Insider


Tess Holliday was the biggest model to ever be signed by a major talent agency. She is a size 22. She celebrated the news on Facebook with her followers.

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Facebook/Tess Munster

Source: Business Insider; Facebook


Tyra Banks was the first-ever African American model to appear on the cover of the iconic Victoria’s Secret catalog and on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She made history in 1996 when she appeared on both covers — as well as on the cover of GQ.

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Sports Illustrated

Source: People


In 1974, Beverly Johnson was the first African-American model to appear on the cover of Vogue.

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Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Source: Vogue


Whitney Thompson won America’s Next Top Model in 2008 — and she was plus size.

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Facebook/Whitney Thompson

Denise Bidot went unretouched in an ad campaign for Swimsuitsforall.

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swimsuitsforall/YouTube

Source: YouTube


Emme is known to many as the first plus-size supermodel. She’s currently changing the fashion industry by launching Fashion Without Limits, a program at Syracuse University to teach young designers how to craft clothing for larger bodies.

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Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Jamie Brewer walked the runway for Carrie Brewer at this past February’s New York Fashion Week — making her the first model with Down Syndrome to walk the runway during the iconic week.

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Brian Ach/Getty Images

Source: Time


In the same Carrie Hammer show, Danielle Sheypuk also broke ground. She was the first model in a wheelchair to appear on the runway during New York Fashion Week.

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Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


Transgender model Andreja Pejic made history as the first ever transgender woman to be the face of a major makeup brand. She told Vogue earlier this year she would participate in a Make Up Forever Campaign, and, when the campaign photos broke, it was proof that beauty norms are evaporating.

The world is as diverse as the 40 shades of @makeupforeverofficial Ultra HD foundation 🙂 wearing @ralphlauren

A post shared by Andreja Pejic (@andrejapejic) on

Source: Vogue


Hari Nef was the first ever transgender model to sign with major modeling agency IMG.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Source: Vogue


Iskra Lawrence has appeared unretouched in Aerie campaigns alongside other gorgeous models who forwent Photoshopping. Lawrence has continued to break ground by becoming a National Eating Disorder Awareness ambassador. She also created the NEDA Inspires seal, a seal of approval that indicates body-positive content.

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Aerie/Ali Mitton

Source: Business Insider


The New York Times called Naomi Sims a “pioneering cover girl.” She was the first African-American woman to appear on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal back in 1968.

Source: New York Times


Veronica Webb was the first black model to land a contract with a major makeup company. She signed with Revlon in 1992.

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Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Source: Huffington Post


Jordan Tesfay was Cover Girl’s first ever plus-size model.

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Cover Girl

Source: JordanTesfay.com