11 Models Breaking Barriers on the Runway & Making Fashion More Beautiful (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Mar 18, 2016 Good News

Winnie Harlow models breaking barriersIt's wonderful to see diversity celebrated everywhere, but especially in the fashion world, where models have looked like clones of one another for far too long. Recognizing (finally!) that beauty comes in all types of packaging, designers are embracing differences -- and the runway has never looked better.

These bold, brave, and beautiful models are revolutionizing the way the world traditionally thinks fashion icons should look, and we couldn't be prouder of them!


Image via © STEPHEN CHERNIN/epa/Corbis

  • Andreja Pejic


    Image via Stephane Cardinale/Corbis

    At the age of 23, transgender model Andreja Pejic strutted her stuff on the catwalk during the Giles Deacon show at London Fashion Week, looking fabulous.

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  • Danielle Sheypuk


    Image via Cindy Ord/Getty Images

    A disability-rights advocate and fashion model, clinical psychologist Dr. Danielle Sheypuk made history by becoming the first model in a wheelchair to hit a New York Fashion Week runway. Gorgeous!

  • Rebekah Marine


    Image via JASON SZENES/epa/Corbis

    Talk about a bionic beauty! Rebekah Marine, born with a condition known as Symbrachydactyly, graced the catwalk at New York Fashion Week with her i-limb quantum prosthetic hand.

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  • Harnaam Kaur


    Image via THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

    Harnaam Kaur, as known as "the Bearded Lady," grew up admiring Tyra Banks and has realized her dream of modeling, despite growing a beard at the age of 11. Not only has she opened a show at Royal Fashion Day in the United Kingdom, but she also models for London-based Urban Bridesmaid Photography.

  • Ashley Graham


    Image via Thomas Concordia/WireImage for STYLE360

    Body-positivity activist Ashley Graham, the first fuller-figured model to grace Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue cover, walked in H&M's Studio's runway show. The size 16 stunner also designs her own lingerie line. 

  • China Machado


    Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IMG


    Known for breaking barriers, China Machado was the first non-Caucasian to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine when she graced the February 1959 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The icon is still working it on the runways even though she's well into her 80s.

  • Winnie Harlow


    Image © Amy Harris/Corbis

    Winnie Harlow hasn't let her skin condition, known as vitiligo, stand in the way of pursuing her dream of becoming a model. The former America's Top Model contestant graced the catwalk at New York Fashion Week for Spanish fashion label Desigual.

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  • Nicola Griffin


    Image via Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

    At 56, Nicola Griffin looks like she's been modeling for decades, but she just broke into the biz three years ago. The silver-haired stunner also appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue.

  • Jamie Brewer


    Image via Brian Ach/Getty Images

    Fan of American Horror Story were thrilled to see Jamie Brewer, who has Down syndrome, modeling as part of designer Carrie Hammer's "Role Models Not Runway Models." She was the first-ever model with Down syndrome to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week. She paved the way for younger women with the condition -- like the gorgeous gal in slide #11.

  • Precious Lee


    Image via © LAN/Corbis

    Precious Lee killed it on the catwalk at Lane Bryant's #I'mNoAngel event  -- the retailer's answer to the Victoria's Secret show. The curvy model also made it into Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue.

  • Madeline Stuart


    Image via JASON SZENES/epa/Corbis

    An Australian model who has Down syndrome, Madeline Stuart took her turn on the catwalk in New York Fashion Week at just 18 years old -- making one of her lifelong dreams come true. Amazing!

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