19 models who made history for H&M, Sports Illustrated, and more

Jennie runk model Vicenzo Lombardo/Getty ImagesJennie Runk made history for H&M.

The fashion industry is notorious for its rigidity.

But every now and then, a model redefines the industry.

These models proved that you don’t need to look a certain way to be featured in a major campaign or to strut the run way.

In fact, these models owned who they are — and still do.

See who these history-making women are.


Plus-size model Jennie Runk appeared in an H&M campaign in 2013 with little fanfare, proving that the brand didn't discriminate between sizes.

Neelam Gill was Burberry's first ever Indian model to star in a campaign.


Source: Elle

Mariah Idrissi made history when she wore a hijab earlier this year in an H&M campaign. She was discovered on Instagram.

Ashley Graham broke ground as the first ever size 14-16 model to appear in Sports Illustrated. She appeared in ad for Swimsuitsforall.

Courtesy of swimsuitsforall

Source: Business Insider

Robyn Lawley is size 12, and she appeared in Sports Illustrated the same year that Ashley Graham's ad did. This caused some controversy, as not everyone considered her to be truly plus size. She also has appeared in Ralph Lauren campaigns.

Sports Illustrated

Source: Business Insider; Business Insider

Tess Holliday was the biggest model to ever be signed by a major talent agency. She is a size 22. She celebrated the news on Facebook with her followers.

Tyra Banks was the first-ever African American model to appear on the cover of Victoria's Secret iconic catalogue and on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She made history in 1996 when she appeared on both covers -- as well as on the cover of GQ.

Sports Illustrated

Source: People

In 1974, Beverly Johnson was the first African American model to appear on the cover of Vogue.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Source: Vogue

Whitney Thompson won America's Next Top Model in 2008 -- and she was plus size.

Getty Images

Denise Bidot went unretouched in an ad campaign for Swimsuitsforall.

Emme is known to many as the first plus-size supermodel. She's currently changing the fashion industry by launching Fashion Without Limits, a program at Syracuse University to teach young designers how to craft clothing for larger bodies.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Jamie Brewer walked the runway for Carrie Brewer at this past February's New York Fashion Week -- making her the first model with Down Syndrome to walk the runway during the iconic week.

Brian Ach/Getty Images

Source: Time

In the same Carrie Hammer show, Danielle Sheypuk also broke ground. She was the first model in a wheelchair to appear on the runway during the iconic week.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian

Transgender model Andreja Pejic made history as the first ever transgender woman to be the face of a major makeup brand. She told Vogue earlier this year she would participate in a Make Up Forever Campaign, and when the campaign photos broke, it was proof that beauty norms are evaporating.

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Source: Vogue

Hari Nef was the first ever transgender model to sign with major modelling agency IMG.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Source: Vogue

Iskra Lawrence has appeared unretouched in Aerie campaigns alongside other gorgeous models who forego Photoshopping. Lawrence has continued to break ground by launching the becoming a National Eating Disorder Awareness ambassador. She also created the NEDA Inspires seal, a seal of approval which indicates body-positive content.

Aerie/Ali Mitton

Source: Business Insider

The New York Times called Naomi Sims a 'pioneering cover girl;' she was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Ladies Home Journal back in 1968.

AP Images

Source: New York Times

Veronica Webb was the first black model to land a contract with a major makeup company. She signed with Revlon in 1992.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Source: Huffington Post

Jordan Tesfay was Cover Girl's first ever plus size model.

Cover Girl

Source: JordanTesfay.com

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