9 times models broke beauty norms on the runway and made a statement

Winnie Harlow

This 22-year-old Canadian model took baby steps into the world of fashion with America’s Next Top Model. She lives with a skin condition called vitiligo (also called leukoderma) because of which she was bullied at school. In February 2015, not only did she star in this Diesel campaign but also made her runway debut walking for Desigual. 

Winnie Harlow walks the runway at the Desigual fashion show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015

Jamie Brewer

American actor Jamie Brewer—you know her from American Horror Story—is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to walk the ramp at New York Fashion Week. In February 2015, Brewer walked for designer Carrie Hammer, whose campaign titled Role Models Not Runway Models puts real achievers on the ramp and in her clothes.

Carol Gracias

Gracias is a permanent fixture on the Indian runways and we seriously can’t imagine a fashion week without her. The supermodel proudly wore her baby bump on the runway for designer Gaurang Shah’s Spring/Summer 2016 show. Fittingly she even marked her return to the ramp with an appearance at his show.

D’aww! @carolmgracias walked for @shahgaurang with a proud baby bump. (@manasisawant)

A photo posted by ELLE India (@elleindiaofficial) on Apr 1, 2016 at 12:49am PDT

Freshly-minted mum @carolmgracias returns to the runway with @shahgaurang. #LakmeFashionWeek

A video posted by ELLE India (@elleindiaofficial) on Aug 26, 2016 at 5:34am PDT


Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

One of India’s most vocal transgender rights activists (Tripathi was also the first to represent the minority at the UN in 2008) walked for Reliance Industries’ fashion venture, Ajio.com. It was one of the most inclusive shows in recent times. Tripathi was joined by Suman Sharma (India’s first woman to fly an MIG fighter jet), comedienne Bharti Singh, Bollywood icon Helen and fiercely confident actor Sunny Leone.

laxmi03lfw ajio3  

Denise Bidot and Sabina Karlsson

In 2014, designer Becca McCharen told Fashionista: “I’m so against all white, straight, skinny girl runways.”  The designer behind Chromat has always championed diversity and designed for curvy girls. Her strappy latex bustiers were also a hit with Beyoncé, who included them in her 2014 VMA performance. For her S/S ’16 show, McCharen roped in plus size models Denise Bidot and Sabina Karlsson, to prove that her architectural designs are sexy for all kinds of women.

Diandra Forrest

Forrest is the first albino model to be represented by a big ticket modelling agency. The 26-year-old African-American model, also made headlines when she walked with her seven-week-old daughter Rain for Gypsy Sport, at New York Fashion Week F/W ’16.  

Andreja Pejic

Australian-born model Andrej Pejic was bracketed as an androgynous model up until 2014. The model who was “between genders” underwent surgery, and made her runway debut with Giles Deacon’s FW ’15 show at London Fashion Week as Andreja.

Rain Dove Dubilewski

The American model (who has a degree in genetic engineering) began her career by walking for the Calvin Klein mens’ underwear show! With her 6’2″ frame and androgynous looks, the model also made waves by walking for both menswear and womenswear shows at New York Fashion Week in 2015. 

Lea T

She was born Leandro Cerezo; son of Brazilian football player Toninho Cerezo. The transexual model was discovered by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. She made her runway debut at Brazil Fashion Week in 2011, walking for designer Alexandre Herchcovitch. You’ll also remember her as the model who made headlines by kissing Kate Moss for the cover of Love magazine.  


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