Glamour Girls “The Big Five and the Insta Famous


Over the years fashion modelling has changed along with the change in technology. Dresses were showcased on mannequins in the beginning  and then it came to live mannequins and slowly it gave birth to models. Modelling was soon established into a career with the development in technology.Each year gave birth to a new model with a different style of hers.

1990’s was the decade for “The Big Famous Five” models .They gave the modelling industry a different status . These models were well known for their unique styles and status and also for their professionalism.

Today’s decade is very much influenced by the technology. Modelling and models have welcomed social media into their lives which has made their lives more public. Body shapes have changed , political as well as social life has been affected.Models are getting celebrity status just by posting pictures on social media.

History of Fashion Modelling

The term modelling had a different meaning from what it has today until the late 19th century.Term modelling was merely used for a portrait .Charles Frederick Worth , the father of haute couture was the first one who introduced the term model for the first time to showcase his designs.Charles wife Marie Augustine Vernet was  the first ever model who showcased his clothing in 1850’s. Before this , designers used mannequins to model their clothing. Mannequins had a very bad reputation ,they were considered prostitutes and had multiple affairs with husbands of the customers and fellow models and also they made connections through their positions and found wealthy husbands for themselves.

In the early 1900’s , models  were not allowed in the polite society.Then gradually with the invention of photography ,photo modelling started ,the industry boomed and modelling as a profession was established .The year 1946 opened doors for those who wanted to build their careers in the field of modelling.Eileen and Gerard Ford invented the first and the most prestigious agencies known as the Ford Agency which gave a lot of opportunities to the young models.Being a successful model meant being famous and known in the fashion community.Models earned $25 per hour which was a lot of money at that time but were not popular outside the fashion community in the 1950’s. In the year 1960 , models were not in an habit of working outside or travelling for work.They were more interested in working wherever  they lived.The year 1970 and 1980 saw better wages and working conditions for models .Models now were also seen in endorsements for hair and makeups.Ford Models supermodels of the world was the first ever modelling competition .These competitions were organised keeping in mind the ways to find a new models. Beverly Johnson in the year 1974 ,became the 1st American-African model to grace the cover of American Vogue.Margaux Hemingway was seen covering the time magazine which solidified the legitimacy of modelling as a profession.

In 1950’s ,models no longer corresponded to high society looks ,the ideal body type was homogenised as the industry for ready to wear started.

1960’s had the trend for more curvaceous and sexier looking models and it was uncommon for the agencies to sign shorter models.1970’s and 1980’s  welcomed black women in fashion.

The Supermodel Era 1990’s.

The 90’s is called as the supermodel era in the history of fashion.The 90’s produced supermodels which were larger than life and are still remembered  for their work and professionalism in the field of modelling.

It produced supermodels like Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell,Claudia Schiffer.They were together called “The Big 5” supermodels of 90’s that are hard to forget.Each supermodel had their own style and grace with which they made others look at them with admiration and interest.

Body shapes-

90’s proved to be the year where the demand was for more curvier and sexier models. Models with a good health and voluptuous bodies were celebrated. Models had flawless bone structure and bikini ready bodies which were their assets and it put them in limelight.This time was for more waiflike models with slighter frames and quirkier looks. Supermodel Cindy Crawford told that size 6 which in size 10 in UK was the normal size for the models of 90’s.It seems that models then at that time did not diet or joined gym or sacrificed food to make them look fit and fine.Supermodels of 90’s were not expected to be size 0 or size 2, but had more busty bodies which also gave them many opportunities. Supermodels had athletic body which was curvy , the were tall and had toned arms.


Models were very professional at that time ,they knew their work very well , after shows they used to get busy in their own lives not giving the outside people any clue about them.Their lives remained a mystery to the public.These models by this time were established as celebrities.People used to admire them a lot and also loved to follow them.Supermodels became the cultural icons and were very much known even outside the fashion community. No doubt the whole fashion scenario was dominated by these models .Coverpages of different magazines were filled with the pictures of these supermodels.They were found almost in every magazines and tabloids.They also graced New Yorks finest runways with their perfect catwalks and their killer good looks.They were fierce, glamorous and diverse.Each of them had their own unique style and were highly appreciated for the same.They carved a name for themselves both on and off the runways and no doubt are still remembered for their styles.

Supermodels were celebrated in the gossip columns of the magazines and tabloids for their recent things and news.The paparazzi were in the search of noting each and every move of these models and documenting whatever they got vigorously.As these models were so famous and were celebrated like celebrities ,people desired a lot and wanted informations about them.They were also clicked by the famous photographers of that time like Peter Lindbergh , Herb Ritts , Annie Leibovitz etc. Photography was very interesting at that time.Capturing models in a unique and interesting manner was the style of 90’s.These supermodels were praised by everyone at that time and were highly admired by the common public.People used to put posters of these famous 5 supermodels on their walls inside their rooms , they were so fond of them.They graced the coverages of popular magazines and were also seen attending the red carpet shows.

They certified themselves as celebrities as they did the same things what celebrities did like dating movie stars, hosting TV shows and were all over the magazines.


The supermodels became the icons and also the millionaires of that time.Linda Evangelista very confidently said to vogue that we don’t wake up for less than $10000 a day.Christy Turlington in 1991 signed a contract with Maybelline that gave her $800000 for twelve days of work each year.These Supermodels of 90’s were recognisable all over the world and they also set a new trend in terms of the amount of money they earned .With the rising fame of these supermodels ,their demand also increased which in-turn helped the industry to achieve a new height of wealth , the modelling industry boomed.They were the supermodels because of their market value.

Relation with the designers-

These big 5 supermodels were also seen partying with each other and had beautiful friendship .They were also seen hanging out with every relevant celebrity of that time.

Supermodels also shared a good friendship with the famous designers of that time like Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen,Karl Lagerfeld, Issac Mizrahi and many others.Claudia Schiffer walked her first show for Karl Lagerfeld when he was the designer for channel in 1992 and was his favourite.Naomi Campbell had a great friendship with Gianni Versace , she was deeply saddened when Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997.She also said that Versace’s death has disturbed her a lot sent her in self destructive behaviour.Naomi was also great friends with Yves Saint Laurent.Saint Laurent threatened the industry to pull his advertising if they did not increase their bookings with the black girls and did not give them opportunity.Cindy Crawford was majorly a star in designer Issac’s Mizrahi’s fall 1994 collection runway show at New York fashion week .Cindy was heavily involved in the promotion of the film.Designers at the time of showcasing their collections always picked models rather than any actor.


Its bad that racisms was seen earlier also.I n every field including modelling racism was prevalent. In modelling before the 90’s era ,white models were seen the most .Black models faced racism at that time .But in the 1970’s Beverly Johnson  made her debut in the industry as a black model.She was the first ever African-American model to appear on the cover of US vogue in 1974.She was credited with forcing the modelling industry to welcome the black models for a change.After Beverly ,Naomi Campbell one of the supermodels of the 90’s was the black model who became popular because of her skills in modelling.She has created a place in the modelling industry and is still their in the minds of the people. Linda Evangelista’s words while talking to vogue referring herself and her fellow supermodels that they don’t up for less than $10000 a day became very famous.This resulted in a controversy later that the supermodels were earning such a huge amount by just walking in catwalk shows.

Also modelling in the 20th century was not very much diverse in terms of models.Not only racism was there but also modelling was only for those girls who had a flawless and an athletic body.There was no chance for the plus size girls to pursue modelling like today.Though this supermodels were natural beauties but still they became victims of the idea of false beauty which was often related to fashion.


Technology in the 90’s was not so much advanced as compared to today.Earlier print media was given very much of importance as internet ,social media were not there and also people did not have mobile phones with them.People used to depend only on print media like newspapers, tabloids, magazines ,posters ,advertisements etc for fashion news and gossips.Fashion tv an American channel was later invented in  1997 .It was the for the first time that a fashion channel  can   be seen on television where you could actually see the supermodels on the catwalk shows.

The Big Five Models-

Cindy Crawford

This American model has created a special memory in in minds of the people.At the age of 16 , she was photographed by a photographer and was appreciated. Supertalented and supermodel Cindy Crawford is absolutely known for her supermodel skills in the 90’s.Cindy also has a mole on her top lip for which she is also known – a distinctive feature of hers and is surely emblematic.Cindy is one of the first supermodels from the 90’s who actually did more than modelling in her career.She diversified her career by hosting television programmes like the House of Styles on MTV , acting and making fitness videos like Cindy Crawford : the next challenge in 1993 and also posed for Omega , Revlon and other plenty of magazines like  Vogue, W, People, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Allure. She represented brands like Gianni Versace, Escada, Revlon, and Ink and posed nude for Playboy magazines in 1988.Cindy was there in ‘Freedom 90’ which was George Michael’s video. Her debut in Hollywood was with the film ‘Fair Game’ in 1995. By 2000 , she became the worlds best paid model who earned more than $23 million at that time.

She was ranked no. 5 on the magazine list of ‘100 sexiest stars of the 20th century’ ,’Shape’ magazine selected her as the second most beautiful women in the world, was also listed as the ’50 most beautiful people’ by the People’s magazine.

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell , one of the worlds most renowned supermodel started her career in modelling at the age of 15.She was the first black woman to appear on the cover of French vogue and time magazine at the age of 18.Naomi also diversified her career by introducing singing , acting and many business ventures into it.She worked with some of the big people’s in the fashion industry like Isaac Mizrahi , Calvin Klein, Azzedine Alaia etc.Photographed by famous photographers like Herb , Scavullo , Steven .Her face was beautified when she appeared in American,Italian and British editions of vogue.She was highly praised for her modelling ability her body language and the way she carried clothes.Naomi gave guest appearances in many movies , tv shows like  ‘The Cosby Show’.Along with singing ,acting, modelling she also published a novel ‘The ghost-written Swan’.She also launched a restaurant named the fashion cafe.Naomi earned more than $1 million at that time .

Chrisy Turlington

One of the successful American supermodel from the 90’s.Well known for her work  for Maybelline , Calvin Klein , Georgio Armani and has appeared in more than 300 magazine covers.Christy was 14 years old when she started her career in modelling and was clicked by a photographer. Metropoliton museum of arts declared her as the ‘Face of the 20th century’.She was also in George’s ‘Freedom ! 90’ video.She was a huge fan of yoga and running.She appeared in fashion films like catwalk, unzipped and Pret-a-Porter.Developed women’s clothing line for Puma and also collaborated with Ayurvedic skincare line.

Linda Evangelista

Canadian Supermodel and one of the famous faces from the supermodel era.Linda was noticed in a modelling contest and began her career at the age of 16.Linda achieved special lifetime award at the 1997 VH1 Fashion and music awards.In the MTV’s list of top models of 1990’s Linda was ranked second.She retired from catwalk in 1998 and returned to modelling in 2001.She appeared on the Italian edition of Vogue in 2012.

Claudia Schiffer

German origin supermodel who achieved success in the 1990’s is still there in the hearts of people.Claudia has appeared in more than 1000 covers of fashion magazine.She holds the Guiness Record for the models with the most magazine covers in the world.She was not only a model but also film and television actress, ambassador and spokesperson. At the age of 17 she was spotted and began her career in modelling .She got lucky and was chosen as the face of Chanel.Starred in the campaign for guess jeans and became popular thereafter.She was there for vogue, cosmopolitan and rolling stone’s cover.she was also there in many movies like the black out , Richie rich , black and white etc.

21st Century Insta Models-

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner belonging to the Kardashians family started her career when she was 14 years old.She started her modelling career with the Wilhelmina models.Kendall has walked for worlds top fashion weeks for famous designers like Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg and many others.Before modelling Kendall was seen in a Tv show on E! Reality that was Keeping up with the Kardashians from which she stepped into the world of fame and popularity.Seventeen magazine chose Kendall as its brand ambassador.Kendall with her sister Kylie launched a clothing line named Kendall and Kylie.

Kendall Jenner is right now the highest paid model.She has achieved a place in Victoria Secret’s runway show.Kendall has a very strong friendship bond with Karl Lagerfeld.She is seen walking in every major fashion week and is also seen on vogue coverages .Modelling for Calvin Klein and other famous brands and is also popular for getting most likes on social media for her pictures.She is now not only limited to modelling but is also doing a great job in designing for her own brand.

Gigi Hadid

Guess clothing brand was the first one to launch Gigi Hadid.Gigi Hadid was there in the Tv show “The real housewives of Beverly Hills” from 2012 , which is considered to be the most influential decision of her life.She has also given appearance in the music video “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift which also won the Grammy award.She is also there in music video by Zyan Malik that is “Pillowtalk”.

She received an award “Model of the year” ,first Annual Fashion Los Angeles Award in 2015 .

Cara Delevingne

Cara is one of the stunning models of today. She is seen as the face of well known brands like Burberry, Chanel,Moschino,Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney.In the list of top 50 female models by she is ranked no. 25.In the film “paper Towns” released in 2015 she played the role of Margo , Mermaid in the film “Pan” & Enchantress in 2016 film Suicide Squad.She walked the runways of designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Calvin Klein.

Gisele Bundchen

Gisele made her debut on the runway as a model in 1996 at the New Yorks fashion week.She signed a contract with Victoria Secret earning $25 million and becoming a supermodel.She also became the highest paid model by Forbes earning $47 million in 2014.She has appeared in more than 600 magazine covers and is at no. 2 after late princess Diana for appearing on most of the magazine covers  in the world.She was ranked at no.4 for most powerful person in the fashion industry by NY daily news and many other such rankings has made her what she is today.

Candice Swanepoel

First South African model to work with Victoria Secret.Candice gained recognition after she was hired by Victoria Secret in 2007.She walked for the same in 2012 wearing the most expensive bra.  In top 20 most desirable women list she ranked 20 by Ask Men.Only Victoria Secret angel to get her own feature.

Today , the fashion industry has changed all its dynamics.Fashion modelling today is a complete change when compared with earlier.Technology plays a very important role  in every field  .Models are seen grabbing everyones attention on social media .This shows how much technology and social media has helped everyone to think differently and not in a stereotypical way like earlier. Unlike earlier, fashion modelling is welcoming different types of models today . Models belonging to different age groups , different sizes, heights and shapes all can be seen there in this industry. Since this is  the digital age , social media plays a very important role in making models the celebrities of today.

Models like Kendall Jenner ,Gisele Bundchen, Candice Swanepoel, Gigi Hadid are highly popular amongst the the public because of their profiles on social media and are also called the Insta models of today.Modern day models are a brand with a voice and identity of their own.


Models of today , don’t have a laid back attitude at all when it comes to being social.These models are present on social media sites like Instagram , snapchat , twitter and participate really well by posting their pictures , their thoughts , their current ventures etc.They are more involved with their fans as compared to earlier.Fans are able to see their model celebrities pictures and read their captions as well as can interact with them through these sites.They also posts pictures with their pals and other fellow models which shows that they interact with each other and share a good bond.They posts pictures of their recent shoots, their pictures with their famous family members and also of their holiday trips.Models like Gigi Hadid is seen active on twitter as well where she also promotes brands and the current happenings in her life.Models by doing this make their fans know about them and also gives them a chance to interact with them.


Many have criticised these Insta models that they get the title of a celebrity by only clicking selfies and posting them on social media.People very well know the power of nepotism in this industry and don’t feel shy in commenting on it.Nepotism can be clearly seen in fashion industry.Kendall Jenner ,Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin all are in someway or the other related to nepotisms.They use their parents name or relatives name to enter into the industry.Majority of celebrity kids who are making their place in the industry are offspring of atleast one white celebrity .


Fashion modelling industry has opened doors for kinds of models.Gone are the days when only sexier and models with curves were mandatory on runways.Today the industry also welcomes plus size models.Models with dark complexion, short heights, belonging to different age groups are also seen today.

Todays models are shrinking and have not got the curves which the supermodels had in the 90’s. Supermodels of 90’s Cindy Crawford says “Is much harder to be a model today”. “It is so hard to for models to get a job today , you have to sing & act too. There does not seem to be as much work specifically just for models . I also think when I was modelling , size 6 (UK size 10) was a normal size and now its like size 2 (UK size 6) 0r 0 (UK 4) ” (Georgina 2011).

Today models for obtaining a perfect figure undergoes lots of surgeries.


Brands are now looking for models who can represent their products well by relating to them.Brands are now choosing models depending on their product whether young or old ,dark or white ,short or tall.Brands are also relating models to them as these models have a huge amount of followers  on social media.Models posts content related to these brands which helps the brand in getting known as people value these posts.Before brands engage with these models they sure whether the model can generate sales according to their budget or not.


Today models are engaged in social media .Social media in return helps them in earning as much as possible.Its very widely seen that models are promoting brands on their Instagram or twitter accounts.These brands are in return paying them a huge sum of money per post.Models like Kendall Jenner charge up to $300,000 for Instagram and Facebook posts.The average value per post to Instagram for average female models is $1,245.51. Male models are charging $704.02 per post to Instagram on average.No doubt the models of today are earning more as compared to earlier.


With the advancement in technology , the whole dynamics of fashion has changed.Social media has helped a lot in changing the culture of fashion modelling.Earlier in the 20th century , models remained known only in the fashion community and gradually started coming in magazines and tabloids and much later on television.Print media was the only thing through which people could get aware of these  models, their prowess on the runways ,their styles etc.

Rise in technology is gradually resulting in the death of print media.The 21st century models are also called the Insta models because of their presence on social media.Today you can not think of becoming a supermodel if you are not on social media.Models like Kendall , Gigi , Cara etc keep on posting their supermodel pictures on these sites.Because of this people know them now and with this type of popularity these models are no more just models but celebrities of today.Kendall Jenner has grabbed the position of queen of Instagram.Due to this , models get exposed to big pay cheques and international fame.Modern models are more celebrated today than in the past as they are becoming more and more famous through social media.Their social media presence is making them popular amongst everyone as today everyone is using smartphone and is their on social media.Maybe this is also the reason why models today are also interested in acting.As their career in a way is more diversified .Their availability on these sites is also the reason why media gets information about them and how they get to know what is happening in these models lives.Today what the media puts out for us is what we get to know.

Body shape has been a big issue in fashion modelling. Earlier the models had curvy and sexier looking bodies. Their bodies were athletic and arms were toned . The supermodels of those times did not go to gym or did not diet for accuring perfect body. They had natural bodies and were appreciated for the same.

Today the models undergo so much just to have a perfect body for modelling . The undergo lots of plastic surgery , do not eat properly and also engage in drug activities . Due to this there healths deteriorates.

Now fashion houses like LVHM and Kering have banned zero size and underage models as it was giving a bad impression.


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