W Magazine has brought 17 iconic models together to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
This month’s special issue features supermodels who, the magazine says, have “transcended the moment from first emerging on the scene to becoming household names, and rising stars at the beginning of incredibly promising careers.”
Multiple covers have been released, featuring Naomi Campbell, Amber Valletta, Iman, Kendall Jenner, Precious Lee, Cindy Crawford, Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Christy Turlington Burns, Shalom Harlow, Alex Wek, He Cong, Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Loli Bahia, Sora Choi and Binx Walton, with them all discussing the industry’s past, present, and future.
In the accompanying interview, Jenner discusses the evolution of modelling and the impact of social media: “I was 14 when I first started modelling, and 16 or 17 when I came to New York and started taking it super-seriously. A lot has happened in 10 years, and the evolution is exciting.
“We’re on social media more than we were five years ago—or even one year ago. And social media has absolutely opened up the fashion world to so many different people and ideas. We’re always expanding into new apps and new platforms and new things. It’s bringing the audience into the whole experience and really pushing people in the fashion world to be their most creative selves, to think, What can I come up with next?”
Crawford adds of whether she has a different approach to modelling at age 56 than she did when she was younger: “Being a model is, in some ways, like being an athlete. It’s a skill, and you get better at it. But, as with an athlete, your physical being changes. I’m aware that I don’t look the same as I did when I was 25, but I bring experience and confidence in front of the camera that I didn’t have then. And I still like what I do. I never thought I’d be working the way that I am at this stage.”
Elsewhere in the issue, Iman talks about shifting the narrative of Black models: “When I arrived in the United States, there was the idea that there could be only one Black model at a time, so it created hostility and competition among us.
“But my friends and I changed that. In Somalia, where I’m from, I never called myself a Black woman, because there was no reason to. The whole country is Black.
“I had an identity based on my worth. I started becoming friends with Black models on purpose. They were the ones who were going to tell me who was the best photographer for us, who was the best hairdresser for our hair, the best makeup artist for our skin. So we became a tribe, and we still are that tribe.”
Hadid also talks about gaining confidence as a model after years of imposter syndrome: “Modelling was always in my stars, and I had to accept that. My mom grew up modelling, and my sister, obviously, is incredibly successful and great at her job.
“At the end of the day, I think we all have this work ethic of wanting to be the best at whatever we do, and I knew that if I worked my butt off, I could succeed in this business. Still, it took a really long time to not have impostor syndrome. To be honest, it’s only been in the past year that I’ve felt confident in my craft. Now I know what I want to do, who I want to work with, and what I like and what I don’t like.”
View all the covers and interviews here.