My Pick-Model of the Month, spotlighting models in the fashion industry, agency represented, freelance and newly up and coming, who are passionate and work faithfully to stand out on runways, magazines, media and paving their way, or maintaining status on top in this industry . For this, Joan Smalls you are my pick as… the Model of the Month.
Joan Smalls Wore the Largest Wings Ever to Hit the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Runway
December 5, 2016 by Alessandra Foresto
Image Source: Getty / Dimitrios Kambouris
This is the sixth year walking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for Puerto Rican stunner Joan Smalls, so we think it’s fair to say she has the VS look down to a science. Showing off her mile-long legs, Joan appeared on the runway at the Grand Palais in Paris on Nov. 30 (the show aired on Dec. 5) in what we think might be two of the best looks of the night.
Joan first appeared on the shimmery catwalk wearing a hot-beyond-words all-black sheer bodysuit with a velvet belt and the largest wings to ever appear on the VS runway, paired with strappy sandals that would scream sexy if they spoke. Later on, she wore a hunter-green bra and thong set with a red leather duster featuring flower embroidery that matched her suede over-the-knee boots. We have one word: hot! Look at the photos ahead and tell us you don’t agree. 41004852,41639322,42782060
Joan Smalls Rodríguez was born and raised in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. She has two sisters. Her father, Eric Smalls, is an accountant, and is West Indian from Saint Thomas and is of African ancestry. Smalls’ mother, Betzaida Rodríguez, is a social worker who is Puerto Rican and of Spanish, Taino Indian, and Indian (South Asian) heritage. Smalls graduated magna cum laude from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City to become a model. She was signed by Elite Model Management in 2007. In 2009, she left Elite Model Management and signed with IMG Models worldwide, where she changed her focus to runway work. She was signed as a Givenchy exclusive for Riccardo Tisci‘s Spring/Summer Haute Couture show in January 2010.
Since working for Givenchy, Smalls has modeled haute couture and ready-to-wear collections for designers and fashion houses such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Burberry, Lanvin, Missoni, Alexander Wang, Versace, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Fendi, Dior, Oscar De La Renta, and DVF. She has appeared in shows for fashion week in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. In 2010, Smalls began modeling for Victoria’s Secret and has appeared in their 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
She has appeared in editorials for several international editions of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, i-D, GQ, Dazed & Confused, Elle, Industrie, Interview, American and Spanish V, Glamour, and W. Her international covers include the Italian, Australian, Japanese, Turkish, Brazilian, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and German editions of Vogue; the British, French, Dutch, South African, Turkish, and Italian editions of Elle; the South African, Mexican, and British editions of GQ; and the British, Brazilian, Bulgarian, and Thai editions of Harper’s Bazaar. She has appeared on the cover of Pop, Glam Belleza Latina, Grazia, and Stylist. In September 2013, Smalls and fellow model Karlie Kloss appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, which dubbed them “The New Supers“. She appeared in the 2012 and 2014 Pirelli Calendar. She also featured on the cover of American Vogue‘s September 2014 issue.
Smalls has been photographed by fashion photographers such as Steven Meisel, Mert and Marcus, Steven Klein, Mario Sorrenti, Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Craig McDean, Hans Feurer, Terry Richardson, David Sims, Inez & Vinoodh, Norman Jean Roy, Camilla Akrans, Alasdair McLellan, Ellen Von Unwerth, Emma Summerton, Josh Olins, Mikael Jansson, Daniel Jackson, Tom Munro, Willy Vanderperre, Michael Thompson, Luigi Murenu, Daniele + Iango, Sean & Seng, Sebastian Faena, Sølve Sundsbø, Giampaolo Sgura, Cass Bird, Roe Ethridge, Richard Bush, Cedric Buchet, Henrique Gendre, Victor Demarchelier, Boo George, Matt Jones, Vivian Sassen, and Cuneyt Akeroglu.
Smalls is the first Puerto Rican fashion model chosen by brands to front their advertising campaigns, including Gucci, Gucci eyewear, Chanel, Fendi, Fendi eyewear, Calvin Klein jeans, Givenchy, Givenchy eyewear, Roberto Cavalli, Lacoste, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Woolworths (South Africa), Balmain, Neiman Marcus, Ogilvy, Next, H&M, ICB, Giambattista Valli, David Yurman, Estée Lauder, Mercedes-Benz, Barneys New York, Ports 1961, Rag & Bone, Prabal Gurung, Hugo Boss, Hugo Boss Eyewear, Tiffany & Co., Stella McCartney, Versace, Versace Eyewear, Missoni, and Missoni Eyewear, Marc Jacobs, Balmain, United Colors of Bennetton, Calvin Klein Underwear, Joe Fresh and DSQUARED2
Joanne Smalls for Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2011.
In 2011, Estée Lauder signed Smalls to its line-up of global beauty ambassadors. She is the first Latina signed to a worldwide campaign for the brand. Richard Ferretti, Estée Lauder’s global creative director stated, “The word supermodel is overused, but if there’s any woman of our generation who deserves the title, it’s Joan. She can go from looking girl-next-door to superchic-tough-strong—and she is all of that.”
Awards and recognition
In September 2012, Smalls was named “Model of the Year” at the 9th Annual “Style Awards”. Supermodel Iman presented Smalls with the award. In 2013, Smalls ranked #8 on Forbes magazine’s “World’s Highest-Paid Models” list, earning an estimated $3.5 million.
In September 2012, Smalls was ranked #1 on the “Top 50 Models Women” list by Models.com. She remained at the top of the list until August 2014, when the site named her as one of the “New Supers”. In January 2014, Smalls appeared on the cover of American Elle and was featured in the article “The Return of the Supermodel: It’s Joan Smalls”.
In April 2014, supermodel Cindy Crawford posted an update on her Facebook page calling Smalls one of her favorite new models. Crawford wrote, “[…] She has great style—sexy and elegant with a touch of tomboy thrown in! And she showed off her great moves in the “Yoncé” video!”