10 Top British Models
Britain has a rich history of providing the world with unique and talented models. Let’s take a look at our most iconic British exports ahead of the launch of the brand new series of Britain's Next Top Model on Thursday 14th January at 9pm exclusive to Lifetime. Sky 156 | Virgin 208 | BT 329 | TalkTalk 329
28 years after she was discovered, ushering in the grunge era and defining waifish chic, La Moss is still the iconic British model. It’s not easy to weather nearly 3 decades of fashion without falling out of favour, but Moss makes everything she does look effortless. Even a drugs scandal and a tumultuous relationship with musician Pete Doherty haven’t tarnished her cool. How does she do it?
Fierce, fiery and fabulous, the statuesque Naomi Campbell is one of the original trinity of supermodels, reaching dizzying heights of fame in the ‘80s. She landed her first Elle cover before she’d even turned 16; was the first black cover girl for British Vogue in over 20 years, and the first black cover girl ever for French Vogue. She might have a reputation for being terrifying, but you don’t get anywhere by being nice, darling.
Part of the rising generation of models and young stars whose worth is defined by the size of their Instagram following (24.7 million at last count, in case you were wondering), Cara Delevingne has reached stratospheric levels of fame. Kooky and beautiful but somehow relatable, Cara really is the girl everyone wants to be best mates with. She has recently called acting her first love, and 2016 will see her move into the Hollywood big leagues, with no fewer than five films lined up for release. Plus, eyebrows. Eyebrows.
Runner-up in Britain's Next Top Model’s Cycle 2, back in 2006, Abbey Clancy is the show’s most famous product, becoming a household name as both a model and a TV personality. With legs for days and a natural talent for ballroom, she danced her way to victory on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, and now she’s returning to her home turf as the new host and judge for Britain’s Next Top Model, passing advice to a new generation of hopefuls in that lovely Liverpudlian lilt.
Born Lesley Hornby, Twiggy came of age and of career in the 1960s, the decade which created her iconic look. With her pixie face, doe eyes and waifish figure, she still defines London’s swinging sixties, the years that saw hemlines and rock stars rise while inhibitions fell. Who hasn’t mimicked the model’s dramatic thick-lashed eye make-up and mini-skirted shift dresses? And after she quit modelling, Twiggy went on to have career in singing and film, the latter earning her two Golden Globe Awards in one year.
Born in South Sudan, Alek Wek and her family fled to London in 1991 to escape their country’s brutal civil war, where she was spotted 4 years later. Her successful career has seen her being hailed as a beauty inspiration for black women across the world, in an industry which can conform to rather narrow standards of beauty. Wek has also spent her adult life raising awareness of the plight of refugees worldwide, working with the U.N., UNICEF, and World Vision, among others.
Ethereal and titian-haired, Lily Cole sprang onto the fashion scene with her first British Vogue cover aged just 16. And as if carving out a distinctive career as a model wasn’t enough, Cole also graduated from Cambridge with a double first and has gone on to be a successful businesswoman and actor. Her environmentally-friendly knitwear company, The North Circular, combines two of her passions, while in late 2015 she gave birth to a daughter, Wylde. Because when you’re a top model, you can’t call your child something like Mary or Rachel. They won’t allow it.
Dunn, who was discovered in a London Primark in 2006 (another reason to go to Primark!), has always been vocally critical about the lack of black models in high fashion. After her first, hugely successful, season in 2007, she said to the media, “London's not a white city, so why should our catwalks be so white?” In 2014 she became the first British black woman to make Forbes’ list of highest-earning models (the list only began after Naomi Campbell’s highest-earning days were over), putting her alongside Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne.
She may have come to our attention as one of the hosts of the famously irreverent Popworld on Channel 4, but Chung had been working as a model long before that. She took a brief break from modelling when she became disillusioned with the industry, but after her rise to fame through TV, fashion came calling again. Her coltish beauty and distinctive personal style has seen her be adopted as a muse by several fashion designers, and she has even reached that coveted accolade - having a Mulberry bag named after her.
Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, Jodie Kidd is tall even for a model, so it’s no surprise that she made a splash when she started her fashion career aged 16. But she’s far from being a one-trick pony (horse pun). Kidd is a keen showjumper and polo player, and has also carved out a career as a race car driver and TV personality. There were even rumours that she would be appearing in the new series of Top Gear. Which would be a vast improvement on the previous scenery.
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