While 2008 was the year of the All Black Italian Vogue, 2009 was the year of the newest model dream team:

Arlenis Chanel Sessilee Jourdan

Arlenis, Chanel, Sessilee, and Jourdan.

Though they each succeeded individually by scoring international and domestic covers and editorials, these four glamazons looked most flawless when together. In 2009 they compiled an amazing body of work, shooting with the best photographers and magazines in the industry.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from this year:


Chanel and Jourdan kicked off the year with a designer filled shoot for Vogue’s January 2009 issue shot by David Sims.


In May, Jourdan joined veteran Liya Kebede for a model themed cover for Vogue.


And inside, Chanel and Arlenis posed for Patrick Demarchelier with their boyfriends, Tyga and Rene Rodriguez.

Snapshot: Chanel, Sessilee, Jourdan & Arlenis by Emma Summerton for i-D September 2009

September saw all four girls posing for Edward Enninful’s I-D Magazine.

Chanel Iman and Arlenis Sosa for Harper's Bazaar USChanel Iman and Arlenis Sosa for Harper's Bazaar US

That same month Chanel and Arlenis both appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, posing for Peter Lindbergh in a Harlem Renaissance themed editorial called, “And all That Jazz.

Chanel Iman Sessilee Lopez Allure Magazine Bombshells

In October Chanel and Sessilee joined forces for an Allure Magazine ‘Bombshells’ shoot.

Chanel Iman Jourdan Dunn Babes in Arms American Vogue

Chanel and Jourdan collaborated with Craig McDean for Vogue’s October Issue.

Jourdan Dunn Chanel Iman Teen Vogue November IssueFinally, covergirls Chanel and Jourdan looked pretty and fresh for Teen Vogue’s November issue.

It’s been an amazing year for our brown skinned beauties! Here’s to their continued success in 2010!

To see more editorials, check out our Snapshot section.

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15 thoughts on “Best of 2009 : Arlenis, Chanel, Sessilee, and Jourdan”

  1. The are all very beautiful and I’m happy to see black models out and about. But am I the only one who is haveing trouble telling them about. They all look alike to me. But whatever there still all beautiful.

  2. Love the Harlem Renaissance era; motor cars, Duke Ellington, flapper dresses, cloche hats, Madeleine Vionnet’s designs….I could go on and on. 1920’s fashion is so glam

  3. wow. um, besides all having brown skin and being thin (DUH) they do not look a like at all. whomp :-/ I’ve seen Chanel and Sessille on the runway and up close and those are NOT your average girls! they deserve all the credit they are getting this year. I was so happy to see Chanel even in the holiday J.Crew. Wishing them continued success as well!

  4. A bit of a sidebar, but Jourdan Dunn had a baby boy! Congrats to her! And is it just me or did it seem like she was pregant for all of 2 minutes? And she still seemed to be doing it in the world of modeling..I guess all the doubters (including myself) were wrong..the industry did nto forget about her durign those 9 mths. We all know children are a mega responsibility & beautiful to have, but I hope the baby won’t slow her career down all but too much. Sorry for the rant!

  5. They are all doing it in a different way so there is room in the fashion world for all of them, so gorgeous!

  6. They are not all black or African American. Chanel is biracial (Black and Asian). Tomorrow she may squeeze the black part in the middle and add a “ca”, “in” and “asian”. Arlenis is Dominican and may not identify as black/afrolatin. Before they benefit from the allusion to their “blackness” (“Harlem Renessaince”/Black Vogue etc.) we should know that they respect, understand and appreciate this portion of their heritage.

    The culture is not an open door for anyone to pilfer to their hearts extent for self-interest. Sesilee who is Ethiopian and Jourdan who is African American are the only indisputably “black” models from this group.

    We shouldn’t have ppl who don’t get it take up the numbers in the “black” quota (and there is a quota!). End rant.

  7. Point of Note

    I don’t know where your getting your information from but you couldn’t be more wrong about all of the ladies.
    First of all, Chanel is Black (aka MGM) NOT “biracial”, her mother is.
    Second of all, *most* Dominicans are Black and mixed just like AAs. They are just mixed differently from AA.
    Sesilee is not (to my knowledge) Ethiopian (where did u hear that at?) she is of Dominican and Portuguese decent.
    And Jourdan is a Black-Brit more than likely of Caribbean decent.

    ALL of these girls represent the diverse Black populations found in the West *perfectly*

  8. To Point of Note:
    Who ever said there was a quota? And what’s the point in referencing their exact background? To the world, they are seen as ‘brown skinned beauties’ which is why photographers tend to lump them together.
    I’m sure there’s no similar discussion of whether girls are ‘white’ if you talk about Agyness Deyn or Lara Stone…I’m sure they have interesting backgrounds, but they are perceived as white, just as these girls have different backgrounds and are perceived as black. There’s no fault in recognizing what is…obvious. Not quite sure what your point is. They were all featured in the ALL BLACK Italian Vogue, so I guess take your picketing to Franca Sozzani next.

  9. lmao

    Is it really that hard for people to do a google search to get the correct information about someone’s place of birth and or ethnicity.

    Sessilee Lopez (born January 4, 1987) is an American model
    -Lopez is half Dominican and half Portuguese.

    Chanel Iman Robinson (born November 30, 1989), better known as Chanel Iman, is an American fashion model.

    -Iman was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, her mother is of Korean and African-American descent and her father is African-American

    Arlenis Sosa (born 1989) is an Dominican model
    -She was born in Montecristi, Dominican Republic, she moved to New York when she finished high school.

    Jourdan Dunn (born 3 August 1990 in London, England[2]) is a British fashion model.

    Look how easy that was. ahhhh the internet isn’t it wonderful.

  10. I’m somewhere in between “They look the same” and “They don’t look *anything* alike” both of which strike me as overstatements.

    I can tell each of these models apart and I’d be very unlikely to confuse Sessilee with say, Chanel or Jourdan with Arlensis. Different features, face-shapes, bone structure, skin tone, bodies and so forth.

    That said, physically, they all fall within a certain range and don’t deviate too much from each other as opposed to what might happen if you put lined up Stacey McKenzie, Veronica Webb, Iman, Naomi and Alek next to each other.

    And when I see a cover like the ID cover (PYT) which I assume is consciously riffing on Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistable” iconography – the end result is a sense of these women being homegenously styled.

    Again, I realise that in this specific instance it is deliberate, but I can understand why it might cause someone who doesn’t follow their careers to note that they look similar or that it’s hard to tell them apart…

    And the fact of the matter is that the Robert Palmer ‘clone shoot’ isn’t possible if there aren’t enough physical similarities between the models in the first place. So when I see a shoot like that I congratulate these models for being high profile and having successful careers, but I also start to think about what is missing from these pictures. I certainly don’t expect four black models to represent the entire spectrum of ‘black’ beauty anyway, but shoots like the ID cover make me realise that no black model who is very dark or light, (and with features that fall outside a ‘normative’ range) is getting show-cased like this.

    It’s good that these models are there and are doing well, but the fashion industry really needs to get over the ‘one type of black look at a time’ meme.

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