The Other ‘90s Supermodels You Should Know

Photo: ARNAL/PICOT/Gamma-Raphp/Getty Images.
"There will never be anything like the era of the supermodel again," famed photographer Peter Lindbergh once told The Telegraph. And he was right. But if you're anything like us, reliving the runways of way back when has become a hobby, if you will — and, if you close your eyes hard enough, you might just feel like you're in New York, front row at the Todd Oldham show, all over again.
In short: The era of the supermodel was — and will always be — everything.
There was Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy — so famous, they didn't even need last names. Those four, often referred to as the Big Four (or when Cindy was busy, the Trinity), were iconic, gracing the catwalk with their signature walks, fronting campaigns left and right, and even starring in music videos for Michael Jackson and George Michael. But while we're on that subject, do any of these names ring a bell: Carolyn, Nadja, Karen, the other Karen, Tajana, Shalom? Non?
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It's okay if they don't. That's why we compiled the slideshow ahead to remind you that, in addition to the supermodels of the '90s, there were plenty of other women who reached similar heights of fame. They were famous for certain attributes, like their walk, their eyes, or even — like in the case of Kristen McMenamy — their personalities off of the runway — when the cameras turned off and people still danced on tables and got away with it. Of course, we love watching the models of today strut their stuff on catwalks and in campaigns, but, once upon a time, it was supermodels who ruled the world...
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Photo: ARNAL/PICOT/Gamma-Raphp/Getty Images.
Amber Valletta
Not many people can say they have sixteen Vogue covers under their belt (especially landing the first at 16-years-old), but Amber Valletta can — and much more. She's got a slew of editorials and campaigns (think: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Calvin Klein), but even cooler, she's quite the esteemed actress. Nowadays, the model continues to walk the red carpets and film sets of the world, and, of course, is still stomping it out on the runway.
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Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage.
Beverly Peele
You sort of know you've made it — or, at least, can aptly dub yourself a 'supermodel' — when you've graced over 250 magazine covers. And remember George Michael's hit 'Too Funky'? Yeah, she was in that, too. Pretty soon, Peele can be seen in the upcoming series Growing Up Supermodel alongside her daughter, Cairo.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Carla Bruni
It's safe to say Carla Bruni is just as seasoned a singer-songwriter as she is a supermodel. The former First Lady of France (oui) was once considered a mainstay on European catwalks, but nowadays, is prepping for the release of her next album, French Touch. Her signature strut is a must-see.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Shalom Harlow
Ironically enough, most consider Shalom Harlow the "anti-supermodel" — meaning the opposite of the high-glam, conventional sex appeal that came out of the '90s and what would go on to be called the "heroin chic" look by designers. Harlow's career, however, would go on to prove she's anything but; she walked an endless amount of shows and took her editorial appearances to the big screen, appearing in cult classics Vanilla Sky and How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram, too.
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Photo: Foc Kan/Wireimage.
Helena Christensen
Danish legend Helena Christensen may tell you she's more of a photographer than a model, but who could forget her spot in the Miss Universe pageant in 1986? Or her days walking for Victoria's Secret? Or that Duran Duran video? She may be multi-talented, but we'll always consider her one of the most seasoned models (and humanitarians!) in the world.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Eva Herzigová
You may recognize Eva Herzigová as the original face of the Wonderbra. Not much else needs to be said after an accolade like that, but she still boasts quite the résumé. She's landed her fare share of magazine covers, campaigns, and even film roles, but she's also one of the few models who can say they were in the Olympics.
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Photo: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images.
Carolyn Murphy
After being named VH1's 'Model Of The Year' (yes, that was a thing pre-ANTM days), Carolyn Murphy was dubbed a 'modern muse' on the cover of Vogue in 1999, launching her career. She would go on to appear in campaigns for Versace, Estée Lauder, and even Ugg. Hey, they don't call her the blonde Gene Tierney for nothing.
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Photo: PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images.
Yasmeen Ghauri
When she was 17, Yasmeen Ghauri was discovered while working at a McDonald's in Canada. She would go on to become one of the most controversial models (see: her turn in Versace's scandalous 'Bondage' show, and her last-minute dropout of Yves Saint Laurent's show in 1996, which prompted her early retirement), but most importantly, she, being half-German, half-Pakistani, helped inspire designers to use more models of color.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Kristen McMenamy
A poster-child for the '90s grunge trend, Kristen McMenamy got her start in Paris after being told she was too androgynous to make it in America. Like most success stories, that rejection made her want the model life even more, which has resulted in a career that spans decades (she even appeared in Balenciaga's fall campaign just a few years ago). Her daughter, Lily, continues her epic legacy today.
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Photo: Guy Marineau/Condé Nast via Getty Images.
Laetitia Casta
One of the original GUESS Girls (who precedes another model who got her start in the iconic advertisement, Gigi Hadid), French native Laetitia Casta was also known for being one of the original Victoria's Secret Angels. But today, after working for the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld, she's quite the serious actress. Casta has acted alongside silver screen heavyweights like Gerard Depardieu and Richard Gere, and in 2010, portrayed Brigitte Bardot in Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, which went on to win several Cannes and César awards.
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Photo: HOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images.
Nadja Auermann
Once dubbed by Valentino as a Marlene Dietrich lookalike, Nadja Auermann lived up to her comparison — and then some. After appearing in the pages of Vogue Paris, Auermann would go on to cover the international editions of just about every other major fashion magazine. Oh, and fun fact: Auermann once held the Guinness World Record for the longest legs in the world.
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Photo: Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images.
Tatjana Patitz
There will never be another Tatjana Patitz, and most of the industry agrees. Over the past few decades, Patitz has been praised for emotive skills in front of the camera, and, of course, her sultry walk. But it was the January 1990 cover of Vogue that took Patitz from model to supermodel status, as she appeared alongside Campbell, Crawford, Turlington, and Evangelista, lensed by Peter Lindbergh. An avid horsewoman and environmental activist today, Patitz's career lives on.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Karen Mulder
Before formally retiring from modeling in 2000, Karen Mulder was a regular at the haute couture shows. She's one of the only models who can say they appeared on the cover of Vogue twice in the same year, and was an essential member of the supermodel squad, starring in some of the most famous images in fashion history by photographers like Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, and Patrick Demarchelier. Though she focused on her music career post-modeling, no one can forget her role in the Wild At Heart story.
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Photo: Stephane Cardinale/Sygma/Getty Images.
Alek Wek
In the early '90s, South Sudanese-British beauty Alek Wek actually got her start at the London College of Fashion as a fashion business and technology student. After being discovered in 1995 at an outdoor market, she starred in a music video for Tina Turner, and began walking the catwalks of every major Fashion Week shortly thereafter. Wek was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle, and ever since, her achievements in the industry have been celebrated by black women all over the world.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Yasmin Le Bon
The inaugural covergirl of both the American and British versions of Elle, Yasmin Le Bon (née Parvaneh) made a name for herself in the late '80s, early '90s with campaigns for Calvin Klein, Armani, and more. She's, of course, married to Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon, but boasts a rather humble view of herself and the modeling world. Her covers are worth the lengthy Google search, and you may just stumble across her model daughter Amber, too.
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