You’re ambling up the local high street minding your own business, when out of nowhere a stylish stranger stops you, tells you how absolutely stunning you are, then reveals she’s a big time model agent. Cue the clothes, the covers, the champagne-soaked parties and the glamorous jet set lifestyle, you big beautiful supermodel you.
While for most of us that’ll forever remain a fantasy, for a chosen few it actually happened. From Naomi to Erin, let’s take a look at how some of the world’s most iconic supermodels were discovered.
Naomi Campbell was dabbling in showbiz long before finding fame as a model. As a child, she starred in the music video for Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”, before tap-dancing in the music video for Culture Club’s “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”. Despite her credentials however, she was discovered at 15 in the proper cliched way: while window-shopping in Covent Garden.
Bold, edgy, and effortlessly rock and roll: Miss Moss epitomizes all things London. So it might be surprising to learn she was actually discovered in New York. Her family were at JFK airport returning home from a family holiday, when legendary agent Sarah Doukas spotted a 14-year-old Kate waiting in a queue, and the rest is fashion history.
During her sophomore year in high school, Cindy Crawford received a call asking her to model for a clothing store – unfortunately it was just a cruel prank. The year after that prophetic event however, she actually DID model for a local clothing store, before entering Elite Model Management’s “Look of the Year” contest aged 17. Whilst she didn’t win, the agency took her on and started representing her.
Most people know Tyra as a TV personality, but it was her modeling that put her on the map. Instead of waiting to be discovered, she actively chased her dreams, being rejected by several modeling agencies – because they “already had a black girl”. She had the last laugh, though, becoming one of the world’s highest earning models.
Born and raised in the West Midlands to a Catholic family, Erin O’Connor’s upbringing was a world away from high fashion. That all changed however during a school trip to the Birmingham Clothes Show, where she was spotted by a talent scout. Fast-forward a few years and she was modeling for everyone from Dior to Versace, with notoriously hard-to-please Karl Lagerfeld describing her as “one of the best models in the world”.
As a teen Linda started taking modeling classes in her Canadian hometown, which eventually led to professional modeling work in Japan aged 16. After a “nightmare” trip, she returned home jaded before being convinced to enter the Miss Teen Niagara Pageant in 1981. Whilst she didn’t win she was spotted by a representative of Elite Model Management, and soon moved to New York to pursue her dreams. Around 700 magazine covers later, we’d say she pretty much achieved them.