Black girls are killing it this month—and let's be honest, everyday—in fashion. Ebony just revealed the cover of the September Fall Fashion issue featuring six black models: Winnie Harlow, Fatima Siad, Diandra Forrest, Marquita Pring, Samantha Archibald, and Milan Dixon. Two of them (Harlow and Siad) are former contestants on America's Next Top Model, which was recently renewed for its 22nd, TWENTY SECOND, season. Seriously, mind-blowing.
This cover is obviously great because every single one of these ladies looks amazing. But what makes this moment even more important is it defies the mainstream media's— and fashion's—idea of black beauty, and showcases a spectrum of what it means to be black and beautiful. We've put together a short primer for you to get to know the beauties on the cover of Ebony this month.
Hails from: Toronto (crowned the "6 Goddess" by fellow 6 God Drake)
Her big fashion moment: The Jamaican-Canadian model, whose real name is Chantelle Brown-Young, was a contestant on America's Next Top Model after Tyra Banks saw her on Instagram and approached her to try out for the show. Harlow didn't win the competition (she placed sixth), but that was just the beginning of her modeling career. Since then, the 21-year-old has worked with famed fashion photographer Nick Knight and landed fashion campaigns for Diesel and Desigual. Harlow was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was four, and has talked often about what it means to both grow up with the skin condition and pursue a modeling career. Most recently she told Complex:
"I am happy with my skin, and I’m proud of my skin, which is why I wear it so boldly. But if a job wanted me to, say, try a smoky eye and cover the vitiligo around my eye, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I’m not my skin. I think people put too much into it. If someone freaks out because they covered the color of my eye with makeup, it’s like, “Yeah, they also put red nail polish on me and purple lipstick. My lips are not naturally purple.” They did alter it, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s literally just a job."
Hails from: Somalia
Her big fashion moment: The Somalian model was also a loser on America's Next Top Model; she placed third. But getting rejected from ANTM (is there a trend here?) was definitely not the end of her modeling career. She got signed to New York Models (currently she's signed to IMG) and later became the first ANTM contestant to land high-fashion show gigs; walking for spring 2012 runway shoes for Dries Van Noten and Hermès. Since then she's walked in a host of fashion shows, including Ralph Lauren and J. Crew. And she's also been featured in ad campaigns for Hervé Léger and Ralph Lauren.
Hails from: New York City
Her big fashion moment: The Bronx native was the first female model with albinism to be signed to a major modeling agency when she joined Elite Models in 2009 (currently she is signed to Frame Model Management). She's been featured in editorials for Interview and Glamour, walked in fashion shows for Vivienne Westwood, V Files, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and has made video cameos in Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" and Kanye West's "Power." She's also used her platform as a model and actress to become a voice for albinism awareness.
Hails from: New York City
Her big fashion moment: The New York City native is helping to change the fashion world's perspective on plus size modeling; she told Cosmopolitan that she prefers the term curvy. She made her big debut when she was featured in V Magazine's size issue in 2010. She's walked for Jean Paul Gaultier and has been featured in Vogue Italia as well as landing campaigns for Levi's and most notably Lane Bryant, and their attempt to call out Victoria's Secret's idea of an angel. Last year, she was dropped from her Ford Models after they decided to get rid of their "plus size" department, but she was quickly scoped up by IMG.
Hails from: Florida
Her big fashion moment: The Jamaican-German model was discovered and signed to Michele Pommier when she was 14. Now she's signed to Major Model Management in New York and Storm Model Management in London (the same agency that signed Cara Delevingne). Archibald hasn't landed any major advertising campaigns yet, but she's posed for editorials in Interview, Nylon, Elle and Love and walked in fashion shows for Jeremy Scott, Moschino, Prada, DSquared2, and Moncler.
Hails from: Las Vegas, Nevada
Her big fashion moment: The Nevada native is a newbie who studied at Texas Southern University. She's currently signed to PhotoGenics and has been featured in editorials for Elle South Africa, Cosmopolitan South Africa and Marie Claire South Africa.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.