You may never have caught her name, but you've probably seen Joan Smalls on Vogue and Baazar magazine covers, as well as on an impressive list of client's ads. She's now ranked the 1st female model on Models.com, and 8th on Forbes list of Highest Paid Models.
The 25-year old from Puerto Rico hasn't always experienced such a lucrative modeling career, however. In fact, while she's now the first Latina face of Este Lauder, she lost every modeling competition she entered as a teen. Early in her career, a modeling agent once told her that there was only room for one black girl at a time, and that she'd have a difficult time finding work.
Smalls' determination and resilience though, have taken her straight to the top of a fashion world that has traditionally ignored most non-white models. In 2009, Smalls switched from Elite Models NY to the IMG agency and her career began to take off. In January of 2010, she made her break through to the top by signing a contract with Givence. After walking in the spring haute couture show in Paris for them, all the big magazines began calling and her career hasn't slowed since.
Joan Smalls boast a client list that includes clients such as Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Fendi and Calvin Klein. In addition to being one of the top supermodels in the world, she also co-hosts MTV's "House of Style" with model Karlie Kloss.