By Saryn Chorney
Back in 1990, George Michael's "Freedom" video marked the arrival of a new breed of celebrity model: The Supermodel. The infamous music video starred a cast of seemingly supernaturally beautiful beings — namely Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. This gorgeous group graced the covers of the top magazines of their day, but who are the leading "Supes" of the new millennium?
Gisele Bundchen is the first name, face and stunning body that comes to mind. The Brazilian catwalk queen made a reported $35 million in 2008, adding to her estimated $150 million fortune. She's graced over 500 magazine covers, dated Leonardo DiCaprio and married Tom Brady — and she's only 28. Check out who's nipping at her stiletto heels.
Like Gisele and Heidi before her, Marisa Miller got her start in the Victoria's Secret catalog, then quickly moved on to the highly model (and man) coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, gracing the cover in 2008. Marisa also landed the No. 1 spot on Maxim's "Hot 100" list that year, and the mag proclaimed the California girl as "the return of the great American supermodel." Sure, we'll buy that.
Miranda Kerr is the first ever Victoria's Secret Angel from the land Down Under. (Tasmanian devils throughout the continent are still going crazy over that one.) Kerr has been dubbed "the next Elle Macpherson" by the modeling industry, but Orlando Bloom just calls her his girlfriend. She does have that "Orli glow" about her, doesn't she?
Brit beauty Agyness Deyn has not only graced the covers of Vogue, UK Vogue and Vogue Italia, but she's also participated in the time-honored supermodel tradition of dating rock stars, most recently Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes. Jerry Hall (Mick Jagger), Christie Brinkley (Billy Joel), Paulina Porizkova (Rick Ocasek), Stephanie Seymour (Axl Rose) and Rachel Hunter (Rod Stewart) must be so proud of her.
Described by Tyra Banks as "the future of the modeling world," Brazilian babe Alessandra Ambrosio is best known for her work with Victoria's Secret. (Who else senses a trend here?) She was the first spokesmodel for the company's PINK line and is most famous for walking down the runway in 2005 wearing lingerie made entirely out of candy. She was named one of People Magazine's "Most Beautiful" in 2007, yet another sweet moment in her glowing supermodel career.
With a name like Coco Rocha, there were only two possible destinies for this Canadian beauty: perfume manufacturer or supermodel. The 20-year-old is new to the scene, but when she opened the Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2007 fashion show by Irish-dancing down the runway, Vogue dubbed it "The Coco Moment," suggesting the industry misses "the supermodels."
When Nick Cannon married Mariah "Mimi" Carey, he officially emancipated ex-fiancee Selita Ebanks, delighting men across the globe. The 26-year-old model hails from the Cayman Islands and was so poor as a child that she didn't always wear shoes to school. Nowadays she struts down the catwalk in stiletto heels for Victoria's Secret and models for quintessential American designers like Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi's and Tommy Hilfiger. She also calls Tyra Banks her mentor, so we expect a show on The CW any day now.
Known for her trademark icy blue eyes and glowing "doll face," Canadian supermodel Jessica Stam is only 22, making it hard to believe she's already on Forbes' list of the World's Top-Earning Supermodels. Stam is currently the face of Bulgari, and is tabloid-famous for dating Harrison Ford's son, Malcom, DJ AM and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She was photographed cavorting topless with Kiedis on the beach in St. Barts … until Amy Winehouse came along and voted them off the island.
Known for her striking resemblance to blond icon Grace Kelly, Florida-born supermodel Carolyn Murphy has graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as posed nude for Playboy. She also holds the dubious honor of being the only supermodel (that we know of) with a sex tape leaked online by her ex-husband — from their honeymoon! What a jerk. The 33-year-old makes over $5 million a year for ad campaigns with the likes of Estee Lauder, Tiffany & Co., Anne Klein, 7 for all Mankind, Jantzen and Lord & Taylor, so we think she'll be OK.
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Liya Kebede's big break came when Tom Ford asked her for an exclusive contract with Gucci in 2000. Since then, she's appeared on the 2002 cover of French Vogue (the entire issue was dedicated to her), as well as Italian, Japanese, Spanish and U.S. versions of the magazine. According to Forbes, she's the 11th highest paid supermodel, as well as a mother of two, an actress, a children's wear designer, a humanitarian and a goodwill ambassador. Don't hate her because she's beautiful — hate her because she's so super nice, too.
Foreign? Check. Impossible to pronounce name? Check. Victoria's Secret Angel? Check. Dutch supermodel Doutzen Kroes, 24, has made the covers of Seventeen, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and even Time, as well as representing brands like Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Versace, L'Oreal Paris and Neiman Marcus. She even replaced Scarlett Johansson in Calvin Klein's Eternity fragrance campaign, and she makes over $6 million a year. Amster-dayum!
Natalia Vodianova wasn't always so blessed. She grew up in the poor district of a Russian city, selling fruit on the street with her mother to help care for a sister with cerebral palsy. Lucky for her, she was glowingly beautiful, enrolled in a modeling academy at 15 and was swept off to Paris by 17, soon appearing on the cover of Vogue … and the rest is supermodel history. Oh, she also married a British real estate heir, makes over $5 million a year and is president of the Naked Heart Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping Russian children. Take that, poverty!
What's a list of supermodels without at least three Brazilians? Adriana Lima, yet another Victoria's Secret Angel, has also been the spokesmodel for Maybelline since 2003. While the 27-year-old is known for being the fourth highest paid model in the world (just after Kate Moss, who incidentally didn't make this list because we consider her one of the "original" supermodels — sorry, Kate), Lima is probably most famous for dating rocker Lenny Kravitz. However, we doubt that relationship was consummated, as GQ Magazine dubbed the devout catholic "The World's Most Voluptuous Virgin" in 2006. She married a Serbian basketball player in 2009. Lucky NBA-stard.
When Anna Wintour calls you "the next supermodel," people listen, which is how Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova landed the cover of Vogue at the tender age of 17. Now a Victoria's Secret Angel (obviously), the belly button-less wonder was voted the world's sexiest woman by E! last year, beating out the likes of Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Gisele Bundchen and fellow glowing Angels Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima. What, you thought Victoria's Secret let just anyone wear a $10 million fantasy bra?