Some of the biggest and most well-known supermodels the world has ever seen came out of the 80s and 90s. These ladies did not have to speak a word, read a script, or send out resumes upon resumes in order to make it in the fashion industry. In fact, many of them were discovered simply because they were in the right place at the right time — with the right look, of course!
Some of the supermodels on this list were lucky to be discovered before they even had to worry about an income. A few were already in college with different plans for life before modeling was even a thought in their heads. A handful had to try to break into the industry a few times before finding success. But most of them, as you will see, seemed destined to become the fashion and beauty icons of their era.
Scroll through this list of the most famous supermodels of the 80s and 90s, and discover what they’re up to today!
Birthday: May 22, 1970
Hometown: Streatham, South London; Spent some of her youth in Rome, Italy
Her big break: 15-year-old Campbell was shopping in Covent Garden in London when she was discovered by Beth Boldt, who was the head of the Synchro Model Agency. Naomi landed the cover of British Elle Magazine hardly a year later.
At 50 years old, Campbell still looks absolutely stunning! She’s now a model, actress, entrepreneur, brand influencer, and even a singer.
Birthday: June 1, 1973
Hometown: Bergisch Gladbach, West Germany
Her big break: Klum hit the modeling jackpot when she was 19: She enrolled in a national beauty contest and won in April of 1992. The prize? A modeling contract worth $300,000 from the CEO of Metropolitan Models New York.
Heidi Klum is still one of the most recognizable faces in the world at age 47. She’s had enormous success as a model, actress, and TV personality, of course, but she’s also a very talented painter. And although her high-profile marriage to singer Seal ended in 2014, Klum has found love again with Tom Kaulitz of Tokio Hotel, a German rock band. The two have been married since 2019.
Birthday: February 2, 1954
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Her big break: Brinkley graduated from high school in 1972 and moved to Paris to study art. A year later, American photographer Errol Sawyer saw her in a post office, took her first modeling photos, and introduced her to the right movers and shakers. In the blink of an eye, she was back in California and had signed onto three national ad campaigns.
Christie Brinkley went on to have a long modeling and acting career, as well as find success as a photographer and illustrator. Parks and Recreation fans might recognize her as Jerry Gergich’s wife, Gayle Gergich.
Birthday: May 19, 1948
Hometown: Spanish Town, Jamaica; Family moved to Salina, NY when she was 13
Her big break: After suffering through a strict and abusive upbringing, Grace attended Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY, where she majored in Spanish and fell in love with 1960s counterculture. When she was 18, she signed a contract with Wilhelmina Modelling Agency. In 1970 she moved to Paris, where they loved Grace’s boundary-breaking, androgynous and bold appearance.
Grace is just as delightfully wild now as she was when she stepped into the modeling and music scene throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. She’s still unafraid, unapologetic, and fearless about her look and her sound. Grace continues to perform and model to this day at age 72.
Birthday: May 10, 1965
Hometown: St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Her big break: Evangelista went to modeling school at the age of 12. A rep from Elite Model Management spotted her at a beauty pageant in 1981, kicking off her career when she was just 16. When she was 19, EMM moved Linda to Paris. It wasn’t long before she was an internationally known high-fashion supermodel.
How is it possible that Linda looks almost exactly the same now as she did in her heyday as a supermodel? 55-year-old Evangelista was one of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s. She chose to retire from modeling in 1998, but she still works in the industry every now and then. She also has one child.