From Maison Margiela Mutiny, photo by Craig McDean

Hanne Gaby Odiele: After publicly revealing in 2017 that she was born intersex, Hanne Gaby has continued to advocate for the rights of intersex youth by partnering with InterACT. Through her media profile, Hanne Gaby seeks to bring awareness to the underrepresented issue of unnecessary surgery and physical and emotional harm inflicted upon children born with intersex traits.

Photo by Kreg Holt

Sara Ziff: Model and the founder of nonprofit Model Alliance, Sara Ziff rolled out the RESPECT program - a call to action signed by over 100 models that calls on brands, publishing companies, and agencies to sign a legally binding agreement to uphold enforceable standards against harassment. She also championed the Talent Protections Act in California, which requires agencies to provide educational materials on sexual harassment prevention, retaliation, and eating disorders to artists, including models.

From @Naomi

Naomi Campbell: Naomi bookended this year with her own Fashion for Relief annual charity event that raised funds for both Save the Children and Time's Up and her recent hosting of the Global Citizen festival in Johannesburg that aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

Photo by Marcin Kempski

Anja Rubik: Anja has been advocating for important issues in her birthplace of Poland, mainly through her nonprofit foundation, Sexedpl, that is focused on the sexual education of Poland’s youth. Alongside a published book, #sexedpl, Anja frequently uses her platforms to campaign for more progressive thinking towards sexual health in Poland.

Photo by Bjorn Iooss

Liya Kebede: Ethiopian-born supermodel Liya Kebede has focused her philanthropic output on health and development programs in Africa. The Liya Kebede Foundation (LKF) works to establish better access to life-saving maternity care while the Kebede Family Foundation, which she established alongside her husband Kassy, has donated funds to causes such as Lung Transplant Project, World Orphans Foundation, and Center for Global Development. In 2018, Liya continued to raise awareness and funds through lemlem, her ethically handcrafted clothing brand, collaborating on collections with accessories designer Pierre Hardy and the late Sonia Rykiel.

From @halima

Halima Aden: As a Somali refugee raised in the USA, Halima has first-hand experience with the adversities faced by children who have been forcibly displaced by conflict in their homeland. As an ambassador for UNICEF, Halima is raising funds through PopSockets, as well as advocating for the rights of fellow Muslim women, and partnering with Microsoft’s #digitalpeacenow campaign to take a stand against geopolitical-motivated cybercrime and cyberattacks.

from @nyledimarc

Nyle Dimarco: Born deaf, DiMarco has used his visibility as the second-ever male winner of America’s Next Top Model in 2015 to serve as an advocate for deaf causes ever since. Besides working as a spokesman for various deaf organizations and helping to spearhead the #DeafTalent movement calling for deaf actors to play deaf roles, he is also the founder of the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which aims to improve education for deaf children across the country.

from @cameronrussell

Cameron Russell: Since starting a movement by sharing dozens of stories of sexual abuse and misconduct she received through Instagram or marching for the climate, Cameron Russell has continued to grow the ranks of her Model Mafia, an activist group she created with Áine Rose Campbell. The new mother doesn’t shy away from challenging the status-quo on social justice, the environment and other important topics.

Photographed by Nadine Ijewere at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Doutzen Kroes: The Dutch supermodel’s Knot On My Planet initiative, alongside the Elephant Crisis Fund seeks to end the slaughter of elephants. Through Doutzen’s efforts the initiative has continued to partner with luxury brands and influential top models in order to raise $6.7 millions towards conservation.

from @simon.nessman

Simon Nessman: Long one of the industry’s top faces, Nessman put modeling on hold a few years ago and relocated to Vargas Island off the British Columbia coast to establish an ecological field station to allow scientists, students, and outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to get closer to nature. A longtime advocate for environmental awareness, he has turned his personal retreat into a center for research, mindfulness, and appreciating the Earth.

From Naked Heart Foundation

Natalia Vodianova: Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova connects charity work to technology with the launch of her app, Elbi, that connects people to charities around the world that they can donate or volunteer with. Her Naked Heart Foundation has fundraised close to $60 million and hopes to end abandonment of special needs children.

UNHCR/B. Sokol

Alek Wek: Suspiria star and South Sudanese icon Alek Wek has had a busy year but that doesn’t mean she didn't have time to give back. She campaigns as an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for human rights with a focus on refugees, women and children, as a former refugee herself. She continues her ambassador work with the H&M Conscious Foundation and also raises awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Photo by Magda Zofia

Karlie Kloss: The ever hard at work household name has long used her Kode with Klossy, which teaches girls to code, to support a non-profit that is dedicated to educating and inspiring girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math called STEAM.

From @jillianmercado

Jillian Mercado: Advocating for inclusivity in fashion, Jillian Mercado has transformed the industry with her sheer presence. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when she was a teen, the wheelchair-bound model has challenged the status quo landing major milestones like a Teen Vogue cover and an Oil of Oilay beauty campaign all while using her platform to champion disability rights at the United Nations.

from @gigihadid

Gigi Hadid: Gigi is not just one of the biggest players in fashion but she put that star power to good use becoming an ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund. Since witnessing the work UNICEF does, Gigi channeled her influence to raise awareness and charity to aid the refugee crisis in Bangladesh and ongoing conflict and natural disasters globally.

Nothing is more important than giving back to the community and during the past year, these models have inspired us all by advocating for change on important issues near and dear to them. Devoting their time, energy and celebrity to causes big and small, these inspiring women and men are actively working towards making a brighter future.

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