The chances of a newcomer model to land a tremendously lucrative gig is slim to none, but Joan Smalls, defied the odds. You may not be familiar with her name, but the 21-year-old Puerto Rican sensation has already walked for the likes of Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Tom Ford, Rodarte and Oscar de la Renta. Her face has recently been spotted on the 2010 Winter Holiday ad for the Gap, a cover for i-D magazine (topless), featured in Interview and French Vogue. American Vogue called her the “It” girl.
Though she has been modeling since 2007 for lesser known designers, it was in January of 2010 that the mainstream media took noticed when she walked for Givenchy Haute Couture. “I will always be appreciate to Riccardo Tisci for believing in me”, Joan told W magazine in March on Givenchy’s creative director. After that moment she hasn’t looked back. During the fall/winter 2010 season, where designers show their collections for the next season, Joan walked for 40 designers, which should not come as surprising, her walk is as fierce and languid as any established supermodel. Her international status escalated, appearing in pages of German Vogue and WWD, and perhaps her most notorious gig was when she booked an ad campaign for Gucci shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
“I was in my hotel room in Milan during Fashion Week. I started jumping on the bed like a little girl. The hardest part was keeping it secret — even from my parents”, Joan told Vogue.com when she found out that she would become the first Puerto Rican model to be the face of Estee Lauder.
“We are thrilled to introduce Joan to women around the world,” Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Global Brand President of Estée Lauder said. “She truly reflects Estée Lauder’s modern vision of global beauty.”
Though this is a major deal, Joan stays humble. “It still hasn’t hit me yet”, she adds, “it feels surreal”. Taking into account that Estee Lauder is a beauty brand, Joan shares her thoughts on what that means to her, “being comfortable in your own skin, that’s what beauty is to me”.
Check her portfolio of past work here.