First it was Victoria’s Secret regular Candice Swanepoel – the leggy blonde jetted into SA last year to front the Woolworths Studio W collection.
Now the store has announced that Joan Smalls, currently the eighth-highest-paid model in the world, is in the country for three days to shoot a similar campaign. The sexy model has made major inroads of late, having being handpicked by Beyoncé to star as part of her exclusive entourage in a video for the song Yonce.
Joan has walked the runway for top fashion houses such as Versace, Chanel, Balmain and DKNY. To add to her already impressive resume, Smalls is now the face of Estee Lauder and has covered six international magazines in the past year. Undeniably, the beautiful latina is hot property.
And Woolworths is hoping to maximise their brand impact by making the sizzling Smalls the star of their new campaign.
“In line with a move towards offering their fashion-loving customers access to exciting fashion year-round, Woolworths is collaborating with one of the hottest models on the globe, Joan Smalls, to re-launch their sophisticated Studio.W urban fashion collection for Winter 2014. This hot new fashion collaboration sees Woolworths aligning themselves yet again with famous fashion faces from around the world,” said Woolworths.
If you’re wondering how Smalls shot up the list to become one of this generations’ top models, the 25-year-old bared all in an interview with Elle magazine for their January US issue.
Unbelievably Smalls’ early moves to become a model were met with resistance.
“I made a list of agencies and went to all the open calls. One of the agents looked me over and said, ‘Joan, I’d love to represent you, I think you’re great, but you have to straighten your teeth.’ ’Why do I have to straighten my teeth?’ I asked. ‘I see models with crooked teeth all the time.’”
I was told: “Joan, those models are caucasian, and you’re not. You’re a black model. And it’s already a challenge.”
Undeterred, Smalls’ perseverance paid off. She wore braces and studied psychology before returning, more determined then ever to conquer the new York modelling industry. In 2009, she got her big break when Givenchy took her on for their couture line.
It’s difficult to not find Smalls extraordinary, not only does she have a bright head on her shoulders but she believes in opening doors for other black models.
“Why shouldn’t a little girl from Puerto Rico see the runway and think, I can wear that? People hide behind the word ‘aesthetic’. They say, ‘Well, it’s just that designer’s aesthetic.’ But when you see 18 seasons in a row and not one single model outside a certain skin colour . . .
“There are people in the industry who are advocates, who support diversity. And there are people who do not. I don’t get it. Beauty is universal. These doors have to open,” she told Elle.
We at DESTINY definitely agree with Smalls’ sentiments and look forward to her setting a positive precedent in the fashion industry.