Is The Age of the Supermodel Officially Over?

by Erin Mayer

When you hear the word "supermodel," who do you picture? In a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, Cindy Crawford claimed the heyday of modeling is over and that supermodels as we know them have ceased to exist. I respect her opinion, her having been among the first-name-only ladies to dominate the landscape in the '80s and '90s, but I'm not sure I agree.

“I feel like I lived through the heyday of modeling," she said. “Models are not really getting covers now, and they’re not getting the big cosmetics contracts and that’s where the money is. It’s actresses and singers and reality TV people.” While Hollywood actresses and big-name pop stars have increasingly nabbed major magazine covers and ad campaigns in recent decades, perhaps making it harder for models to break into the big-time, I'd argue that we're actually living in a period of supermodel revival.

I agree with Crawford that the early '00s were lacking in any serious modeling culture. Sure, there was Gisele, there was Gemma, both of whom made it big. Crawford believes these are simply "one-offs," but today's models-of-the-moment (Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, and Gigi Hadid come to mind) have serious cult followings that indicate they might have staying power.


Sure, the models who make it today can't simply rely on major runway spots and Vogue covers to bolster their success. They can't exactly make broad claims like "we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day," (h/t Linda Evangelista) without sounding ridiculous and out of touch. Instead, ladies like Kendall and Cara capitalize on social media (they have 17.5 million and 9.1 million Instagram followers, respectively) to showcase their glamorous friendships and rich inner lives, and draw on their diverse talents to cultivate broad fan bases.

Randy Brooke/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The modeling world is different now, that's for sure. You need more than a pretty face to skyrocket to stardom, but in some ways, hasn't that always been true? The age of the supermodel is far from over. In fact, I think it's just beginning.

Images: Getty Images