December 19th, 2012
Best of 2012, Celebrity Style, Ethnic Models
Best of 2012: Model of the Year
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

Isn’t every year a good year for a working high fashion model? We’ve seen their faces in campaigns and editorials, watched them stomp the runways, and giggled at them goofing off on Twitter. We’ve narrowed it down to *your* top five picks.

Who should take the crown?

1.Joan Smalls

To say Joan Smalls has had a fantastic year would be a gross understatement. In case you couldn’t keep track: The model has appeared in campaigns for Fendi, Gucci, Givenchy, and Chanel– to name a few. Smalls was also ranked the #1 model in the world by, landed a gig hosting MTV’s House of Style, and graced more than ten major magazine covers, (Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar UK,) collecting her Estée Lauder contract coins all the while.

Let’s not forget, Smalls walked the runway for top names like Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Missoni, and countless others.

Can’t be mad at that!


2.Jourdan Dunn

Jourdan’s proven herself another campaign mainstay this year, with her face plastered on ads for Banana Republic, Burberry, John Galliano, and more. The i-D and Sunday Times Style covergirl also walked in the famed Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the first (and hopefully not last!) time, and snagged herself a cooking show on Jay-Z‘s Life and Times YouTube channel.

The model mom was spied on the runways for Burberry, Issa London, Emilio Pucci, Marchesa, Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, and more designers than you can shake a stick at.

The model is beloved in her native U.K., but I think it’s safe to say that the rest of the world is also digging her!


3.Chanel Iman


Chanel Iman kept it cute in 2012. As she continued to stockpile cash from her Victoria’s Secret contract, she shot for major retailers like Target and Forever 21.

We saw her on the runway for Kanye West‘s sophomore collection. Aside from work, the model soaked in her  hard-earned notoriety, attending the Met Gala on the arm of Tom Ford, ki-kiing at AmFar Milan with Heidi Klum, and snatching a ticket to Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker‘s uber-exclusive Barack Obama fundraiser.

Sure, she took it a easy this year. But hey–  if you’re going to the Met Gala with Tom, scoring campaigns,  and stacking bread at the same damn time: you’re having a good year…!


4.Cara Delevingne

Much like her homegirl Jourdan, Cara cleaned up in 2012.  In her downtime, we know she’s not timid about making a goofy face or two, but she brings it in her modeling work. She’s certainly kept busy this year: she’s appeared in editorials for several iterations of Vogue (UK, US, Italia, and Russia), She landed herself a spot in Chanel’s Resort 2013 campaign, scored covers for Vogue Korea, i-D, and (amongst others).

She stormed the catwalk for Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Mary Katrantzou, Burberry, and Oscar de la Renta– to name a few.

She’s also made friends with Azealia Banks, Rita Ora, Cassie, and Rihanna this year.

Cara’s been doin’ it, kids!


5.Nyasha Matonhodze

Oh, Nyasha! The ethereal Zimbabwean beauty took it a little easy this year (likely to focus on school,) but managed to churn out some major work at the same time. She appeared in editorials for W, Vogue, V, and more, walked for Altuzarra, Burberry, Rodarte, Donna Karan, and several others. And I could only barely manage my schedule in high school!

Did I forget to mention she’s a total sweetheart?

At any rate, who takes the crown for 2012?

(We already you will) let us know in the comments!


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47 Responses to “Best of 2012: Model of the Year”

  1. Pri says:

    Nice list Jihan, but I’d personally include Liu Wen, who is a Estee Lauder model alongside Joan Smalls.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s a toss-up between Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn, but I think this one goes to Jourdan Dunn – she did the darn thing this year!

    Much love to all the other models though – Chanel Iman and Nyasha Matonhodze are STUNNING models. #Werq!

  3. IMO says:

    Jourdan Dunn. But I’m surprised that Sesilee Lopez (sp?) and Jasmine Tookes didn’t make the list….they definitely stood out this year as well. *shrug*

  4. risse says:

    Jourdan. I know that Joan had a stupendous year. However, I fell in love with Jourdan this year. I knew of her previous work, but I feel like she cemented her place in the modeling world. Additionally, she did not let her having a baby affect her career. Kudos Ms. Dunn.

  5. How about Jeneil Williams from Jamaica, she’s a good one too :)

  6. Myranda says:


  7. LMAO says:

    If you wanted your picks perhaps you should have voted then in the first place? Just a thought.

  8. Mellie-Rae says:

    Joan all day…love her

  9. Dom says:

    Joan. The woman appeared in my dreams! I dreamt she stole my bf, and I couldn’t even be mad cause she’s so banging!

  10. Faith says:

    I love Joan, but Cara has rocked it this year. Can we give it to them both? lol

  11. cheriemacherie says:

    My vote if for nyasha, will always be a sweet MODEL..

  12. TheAntifash says:

    Interesting list… Joan Smalls is clearly the front runner.

  13. Annoyingly Right says:

    Joan wins hands down. Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn in second and third place…But WHERE on this list is Sessilee Lopez? Please don’t sleep on her. She’s bad too…

  14. i want to love chanel so badly but im already tired of her looks. not as versatile and interesting as joan

  15. Suri says:

    Joan Smalls. Not even a question. She is everywhere. No competition. She is currently the #1 model in the world officially. Karlie Kloss should have been mentioned because after Joan, she is the one with the most campaigns/ads/etc.

  16. Sigh says:

    Joan Smalls is beautiful but is already starting looking “mature”, in my eyes anyhow. She needs to milk it while she can.

  17. bella says:

    joan wins again.

  18. Dobe says:

    Without a doubt: JOAN! She shut it down this year. Plain and simple.

  19. Neesiepoo says:

    :/ aww man.. what happened to Sessilee Lopez?!

    Of course Joan and Chanel are amazing.

  20. Sam says:

    Fabulous pictures

  21. hahhahaha says:

    As much as I love Jourdan, this was Joan’s year.

  22. lola says:

    Why is Cara on the list? Because she has black friends? STOP IT!!!

    I’m going with Jourdan simply because of longevity. She’s consistently been in demand since her runway debut on 2007. That’s five solid years of booking blue chip campaigns and rocking the runway. Very rare for a model of colour and let’s not forget she even had a baby and bounced back in like one season. She’s also expanding her brand; she has a cooking show on jay-z’s website.

    Joan is, without a doubt, on top but she might very well be the flavour of the month. Let’s wait a few years and see if she is still shutting it down.

  23. SHAQ NICHOLE says:

    Joan Smalls Joan Smalls Joan Smalls – This girl was HOOOTTTT this year hands down! My girl was model of THE year!

  24. Shelly says:

    At first, for me, it was a toss up between Joan and Jordoun. Then, I came across the pic of Joan in the red and black leather coat on the run way, and that did it for me, lol. Joan smized, mean mugged, and just straight up gave fashion fierceness in that photo.

  25. HAH says:

    did the people who voted Chanel Iman vote for her because that’s the name of a brown model they know or what? Because what has she done this year of note??

    basic smh

  26. binks says:

    That Joan Smalls reign won’t let up so Mrs. Smalls

  27. BougieHippie says:

    Joan has this completely she EVERYWHERE from runway to print and ads…good-job girl!

  28. Maya says:

    I am here for Joan and Joan alone. Nice job to everyone else, but I fell in love with Joan this year and love to see her everywhere. Werk!!

  29. Goldeelocks says:

    Just love joan smalls!

  30. COCO says:

    Her name annoys me for reasons I can’t explain, but she slays on the runway and in print AND she doesn’t bore me like Joan (sorry): it has to be Jourdan Dunn

  31. Anon2 says:

    This was no contest, Joan hands down.

  32. SLIMB says:

    Didnt joan win last year… I’d give it to nyasha I seen her alot this year OR jourdan dunn assss much as I love Chanel Iman she layed low this year :(

  33. Porsche says:

    Joan Small!

  34. Jay-Are says:

    Joan is the QUEEN! This was her year, no debate. She inspired many things out of me this year. Puerto Rican Princess!

  35. Alicia says:

    Joan! Because she has really been on her game (even though her game never stops). I feel like I have literally seen her all over the place in campaign after campaign.

  36. Empress says:


  37. libby17 says:

    Jourdan will always be my girl but i’m crushin hard on CARA. Yea she’s white but she has an interesting face…almost like a white rihanna… and i’m finding out who her peeps are = dope as f*k!

    Wanted to say all that because i know Joan is the obvious winner still.

  38. s says:

    Joan Smalls

  39. LawyerLady says:

    All the ladies are amazing and deserve the nomination. My vote is for Jourdan Dunn all day long. Her Banana Republic and Burberry ads are everything!!!!

  40. BlackOrchid says:

    I love Queen Joan and she makes me swoon. It’s been her year. However, my vote goes to Jourdan Dunn cos she has rocked it for the last few years, she’s cool and last but not least she is British like me.

  41. ladyluo says:

    This was too easy. No other model is close to Joan right now

  42. Destination Everywhere says:

    I think they are all beautiful. I have to go with Jourdan. I think Joan is lovely but she looks too mature for her age. She looks like she could be Jourdan’s mother. Not sure if she has staying power.

  43. spotter says:

    Good afternoon.
    I love Nyasha, but we must admit it to career slowed down since last year, I think it is beautiful I love her style, I love that she hides in a can that looks soupoudre gold of el oil hot. with time and it will become very old …………………….

    Joan Smalls, exudes sensuality and confidence, she is mature, but yes most of its customers are girls mature brands. it is a model astonishing.

    Jourdan Dunn, for me it is hotmess, the model for it is sorely lacking in personality. Simply that a new black model appears, just as they have a little attention right away to see Jourdan Dunn copy his style , her hair, her poses, it bothers me.

    Cara Delevigne, it is not a model, I see it more like the girl that wants to show, have fun, I find it sad and unfair to the girls that work hard to be the works.

    ps in your list I would add, Anais Mali and Melodie Monronse

  44. jane smith says:

    Joan is the one.

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