Through The Decades, These Latinx Trailblazers Have Redefined Modeling

Caribbean, Central American, and South American models have spearheaded the industry since the 50s but have often slipped through the minds of many, with little to no representation of the range of diversity that comes from the region. Continuing our Models Through The Decades Series, we are highlighting Latinx model trailblazers who’ve showcased noticeable milestones throughout the eras and may or may not be on your radar. Whether you’re on Fashion Spot engrossed over model history, or interested in learning something new, this continued series highlights how these pillars of model history started in the industry, climbed to notoriety, and some of their major claims to fame.

The 00’s

Izabel Goulart
Brazilian model Izabel Goulart was scouted while shopping for groceries at age 14 by a hairstylist that suggested she should be a model, soon after, she moved to São Paulo to start her modeling career, and then France to further her career. Goulart went on to walk for Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Valentino and appeared in over 10 Victoria’s Secret shows as an angel from 2005-2016.

Sessilee Lopez
MODELS.com’s Model of the Week in April 2004, Afro-Dominican model Sessilee Lopez-Holmes first made an impact when she appeared with Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, and Jourdan Dunn on the viral Vogue Italia All Black issue in July 2008. Born in Philadephia, she has also collected covers for i-D and Numero and walked the runways of Victoria’s Secret, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Lanvin, and Zac Posen.

The 90’s

Lujan Fernandez
Argentinian-born model Lujan Fernandez was a local TV star before becoming a worldwide model. Fernandez was discovered on an Uruguayan beach at 14 years old and moved to NYC to accelerate her modeling career, eventually gracing the covers of Vogue Paris and Harper’s Bazaar. The model also walked for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Chloe and Perry Ellis while featuring in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues from 1999-2001.

Roberta Close
Brazilian-born Roberta Close was the first trans-intersex woman to feature in a Playboy Brazil editorial, but before that, she participated in beauty pageants, and eventually gained the title of “the most beautiful model in Brazil”. Close went onto walk for Mugler, Guy Laroche, and Jean Paul Gaultier and later published an autobiography in 1998 while starring in 3 movies.

Brandi Quinones
Nuyorican, Afro-Cuban, and Sicilian model Brandi Quinones was a runway trailblazer in the ’90s walking for Chanel, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, and Prada. Raised in the South, Brandi’s big break came when she was 14 and got picked up to model in the ’92 Versace campaign. She received her first Vogue cover in 1994 and appeared on covers for Elle US and Elle UK.

The 80’s

Tharita de Oliveiro
Born in San Luis, Maranhão in Brazil, Tharita de Oliveiro’s career began as a finalist in the beauty pageant Miss Rio. After a stint of modeling furs in Argentina, Tharita moved to Paris and began working for Madame Grès, who she had met through a mutual friend. Often photographed by Guy Bourdin, she was also a top runway model and worked frequently with Yves Saint Laurent. Through her good friend Jerry Hall, Tharita aligned with the London music scene and was involved in the recording of Roxy Music’s album, Avalon. After modeling Tharita turned to acting and currently owns a swimwear company in France.


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