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Breaking molds and staying woke: Six people proving there’s more to modeling

The modeling industry continues to be the driving force of fashion and overall culture in our world. Woke models who break the mold show us we can be the change we want to see in the world.

These are some of the professionals in the modeling industry championing activism and inspiring us to love ourselves and give back.

Winnie Harlow


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Double R.. “Rest & Relaxation” right? 😂💙

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Winnie Harlow is a successful Canadian fashion model. She’s known for raising awareness of the skin condition vitiligo.

Winnie first came into the spotlight when she was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model in 2014. Since then she’s been a spokesperson for vitiligo and shares her experience living with the condition.

Chella Man


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The statement piece here are truly my fuzzy socks, mis-matched, of course.

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Chella Man is a 19-year-old deaf trans Model signed to IMG Models.

He documented his transition on testosterone on YouTube and identifies as a genderqueer and queer artist.

Along with modeling Chella Man is also studying engineering at the New School in NYC. As an activist and artist, he also creates videos that teach ASL.

Halima Aden


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So cool 😍🤩♥️ queen @halima 👑

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Halima Aden is an American fashion model who has recently received popularity for being the first woman to wear a hijab in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Halima was also the first woman to rock a hijab in the Miss USA Minnesota pageant and was signed soon after by IMG Models. She made her career debut in Feb. 2017 at New York Fashion Week for Yeezy Season 5.

She became a UNICEF ambassador in July 2018 and advocates for children across the globe.

Geena Rocero


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ur drag moms @aleksamanila bangles, a fan and playing w 📷 @rdemano, our peg was @davidyurman Ads. I think we pulled it off.

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As a professional model for the fashion and beauty industry, Geena Rocero uses her platform to empower diversity.

As a trans woman herself, Geena Rocero frequently talks about her experience and came out publicly at a TED Talk in 2014.

The Filipina co-founded the organization Gender Proud to advocate for people around the world who wish to rectify their identification to reflect their gender identity. The organization also addresses discrimination and violence against transgender people.

Nyle DiMarco


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CAN I GET A YEEHAW! – 📸: @taylormillerphoto for @_manabouttownuk Styled by: @dogreene

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Nyle DiMarco is an American model, actor, and deaf activist.

In 2015, he was the first deaf winner of America’s Next Top Model. Nyle has used his platform to spread awareness and advocate for deaf persons around the world.

The Nyle Dimarco foundation seeks to be a resource for the improvement of life for every deaf person in the world. His YouTube channel also features ASL lessons.

Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham is a feminist activist, who seeks to empower women of all shapes and sizes. She was the first plus-size model to appear in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition.

Graham often speaks out about the discrimination in the industry and promotes conversations surrounding standards of beauty. Her swimwear line seeks to help women see the beauty in their bodies’ despite social pressures.