Even in the world of smartphones and laptops, models are still expected to have Polaroids and sometimes not having them can cost you a job. In the industry, Polaroid photos are called "digitals" and they are incredibly important, especially if you're a model who has never booked a shoot before. Since getting modeling jobs have everything to do with what a person looks like, casting directors and photographers need to have a photo of the model in order to make a casting decision. It is also expected that the model writes their name, their height, and their weight on the side of the photo. The key to taking a perfect digital is to not wear makeup or style your hair--it is important for the casting director to know exactly what you look like without it. The one thing that you can get away with is wearing heels which can help make you look taller and leaner.
Because famous models today are always wearing makeup and have their hair done, it's hard to imagine them before they go through their beauty routine. Luckily, we have some of the first polaroids from once-aspiring models that went on to walk runways and become the supermodels we know today. Though some of these models are unrecognizable without their standard beauty routines, they are all beautiful in their own way and it's surprising how beautiful they are without makeup. Some of these models have tried to get these photos scrubbed from the internet and it's easy to see why--we still think they're all beautiful even without their signature styles.
15 From Victoria's Secret to Transformers
Before she was a Victoria Secret Angel and the face of Burberry--and even before she appeared in Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon or Mad Max: Fury Road, she was a kid growing up in Plymouth, Devon, England and was bullied in school for having a flat chest and full lips. She got her first big break when she was 17 and went to New York for a shoot for Teen Vogue. After that, she walked the catwalk alongside Naomi Campbell and then was photographed for Abercrombie & Fitch. By 2006, she was signed to Victoria's Secret but it wasn't until 2010 that she officially became a Victoria's Secret Angel. She was cast in the third movie in the Transformers franchise after the director, Michael Bay had worked with her in a Victoria's Secret commercial. She welcomed her first son with her fiancé, Jason Statham, this year and they have been a couple for seven years.
14 The Girl Next Door?
Miranda Kerr was only thirteen when she started her modeling career after she won the 1997 Dolly magazine model search competition. Ten years later, she became the first Australian model to become a Victoria's Secret model and, subsequently, the first Australian Victoria's Secret Angel. In 2007, she also started dating Orlando Bloom and then were married in 2010 before their son, Flynn, was born in 2011. In 2013, she broke up with Bloom and upgraded to the billionaire founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel. Celebrity photographer, Russell James, once said that Miranda has "the most incredible girl-next-door look" but you can tell just by looking at her polaroid that she looks nothing like the proverbial "girl next door".
13 Karlie's Future Sister-in-Law is Ivanka Trump
Though Karlie Kloss is a successful model, she is more famous for being in Taylor Swift's squad than anything else--or for the time that she said that "Waterfalls" was her favorite Destiny's Child song. Karlie was a model since she was 14 years old and became a Victoria's Secret Angel when she was 19. Though she is tall, blonde, and beautiful, Tyra Banks called her look "unique" and "atypical." Not only was she criticized for appearing in a spread for Vogue dressed as a geisha, but she has also been criticized for her romantic relationship with Joshua Kushner who is the brother to Jared Kushner who is the son-in-law and senior advisor of President Donald Trump. Getting criticized for cultural appropriation seems to be a common trend among Millennial supermodels, including Kendall Jenner who landed in hot water after wearing faux dreads. Also like Kendall, Karlie comes from a family in which all of the girls were given "K" names. Their names are Kristine, Kimberly, and Kariann.
12 Doutzen Kroes Almost Became a Speed Skater
Though Doutzen Kroes is a supermodel, she has described herself as a "tomboy" when she was a child and never considered becoming a model and she actually wanted to be a speed skater like her parents. Though she says that she didn't plan on being a model, she did send her Polaroids to the Paparazzi Model Management in 2003 when she was 18. When she moved to New York and cast by Victoria's Secret, it was the first time that she had ever heard of the brand because it wasn't around in the Netherlands. After being featured on the covers of various magazines and walking hundreds of catwalks, she decided to start taking acting classes and make a career for herself in Hollywood. In 2011, she appeared in the first 3D Dutch movie, Nova Zembla, and as one of the Amazons in Patty Jenkin's Wonder Woman.
11 It Took How Long For Kate Upton to Become a Model?
As you can probably imagine, Kate Upton was signed to a modeling agency on the same day of her first casting call. Her modeling career kicked off when she was only 16 and it hasn't slowed down. In 2011, she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue which first brought her to prominence. Though she has a successful modeling career and is also the face of the $40 million campaign for Game of War: Fire Age, she has tried to break into Hollywood. She first started acting in 2011 and she has appeared in Tower Heist, The Three Stooges, The Other Woman, The Layover, and the upcoming James Franco movie, The Disaster Artist. She may not have her Oscar yet but she was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Shirtless Performance in The Other Woman so that Academy Award may be just around the corner.
10 Don't Compare Yourself to Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is 47 but she looks almost exactly the same in one of her first digitals as she does today! She first started her career when she was 15 and she was one of the biggest models of the late 80s and 90s--and she is still in high demand today. When she was only seven years old, she appeared in the music video for Bob Marley's "Is This Love" and she appeared on the cover of British Elle right before she turned 16. In 1998, the era of the supermodel was coming to an end, at least according to Time, and as the supermodel era has ended, the era of the Instagram model has taken off. Naomi is not only one of the most recognizable models of her time, she has also acted in multiple films and TV shows over the past two decades and has recently appeared in Empire and American Horror Story.
9 If You Have Famous Parents, You Can Do Anything
Speaking of the Instagram model era (or the Instagirl era per Vogue), Kendall Jenner is one of the most prominent Instagram models, alongside Kylie Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin. But before she became a model, she had to take her Polaroid just like everyone else--though she probably used a digital camera because she's only 21 and might not know what a Polaroid is. The photo above was taken when she was 18 but she began modeling when she was 14 because when you have famous parents, you can do anything. She has walked the catwalk for dozens of designers including Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Dior but, most importantly, she is one of the most-followed celebrities on Instagram. Along with her sister, Kim Kardashian, she will have a small cameo in the 2018 film, Ocean's Eight. Hopefully this isn't the beginning of her acting career because having to suffer through Kim's was difficult enough.
8 Skinny Feels Good but Bagels Taste Better
Even if you do not know anything about fashion, you can recognize Kate Moss. Though she became a famous model in the 90s, she appeared on the scene near the end of the supermodel era. She became so well-known for her ultra-thin figure and for her infamous quote, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" which is a straight-up lie because bagels, pasta, and French fries are just a few things that taste better than skinny feels and everyone knows it. Even though supermodels in the 80s and early 90s were tall and thin, Kate Moss helped to usher in the new look which required women to look unhealthily thin. She pioneered the look of the mid-90s which included pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes, dark red lipstick, and angular bone structure. Though we still associate the modeling industry with size-0 figures and unhealthy BMI, those unhealthy standards are changing in the industry.
7 Step Aside, Kendall, Chanel is Coming Through
Though the fashion industry has changed and evolved over the years, diversity has remained elusive. Though Naomi Campbell was one of the most famous models of the 80s and 90s, the industry was a difficult one to break into for models who were not white. As the years have gone on, diversity has slowly begun to creep into the industry and there are many more people of color walking the runway than ever before. Chanel Iman is one such model of African-American descent who is talented, beautiful, and also named one of the top models of the 2000s. Not only has she been a Victoria's Secret Angel but she has also used her fame and resources to help people in need. Chanel has helped to set up primary schools in impoverished rural areas in Tanzania and Uganda and also helped to raise awareness about the drought in East Africa in 2011. The fashion industry may be stuck in the past in a lot of ways, but it is good to see the beginning of progressiveness and diversity in the industry.
6 She Was Told That She'd Never Make it In Hollywood...Then She Did
Cara Delevingne has been a model for years but over the past several years, she has put her modeling career behind her and started to focus on her acting career. Her first role was a small part in Anna Karenina alongside Keira Knightley in 2012 and got her first starring role in Paper Towns in 2015. She went on to appear in Suicide Squad and Luc Besson's film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Recently, Cara revealed that Harvey Weinstein harassed her, tried to kiss her, and invited her to come to his hotel room with another woman in exchange for a movie role. She obviously turned him down and he allegedly told her that she would never work in Hollywood because of the fact that she has dated both men and women--but that was before she began to land starring roles in big Hollywood movies. After all of the stories of Weinstein have come to light, Cara's story doesn't seem too farfetched.
5 Bella Hadid: Future Academy Award Winner
Bella Hadid is another successful model from the burgeoning Instagirl era along with her sister, Gigi Hadid. In the photo above, Bella was only 17 and she was signed to IMG Models in 2014, around the time this photo was taken. Though she was underage when she first signed to the modeling agency, she had already gotten a nose job which presumably had to be OK'd by her mother, Yolanda Hadid, who is a former model with plenty of work done herself so she probably didn't think twice about it. However, if you're going to be a famous Instagram model, getting work done is a must, even if you're a teenager. Though she's only 21 years old, she has already become very successful as a model and has expressed interest in starting an acting career. She said in an interview that she hopes to win an Oscar one day but she needs help memorizing lines first.
4 Liu Wen Has Changed the Game
The fact that Asian women are underrepresented in the fashion industry is obvious and the fact that Karlie Kloss was chosen to appear in Vogue's geisha-themed photoshoot for their "diversity" issue is even more proof that there is a serious lack of diversity in the industry. However, Liu Wen is one model who is breaking barriers in the industry by being the first model of East Asian descent to walk the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and the first Chinese model to ever appear on the cover of American Vogue. She is also the first East Asian woman to become a spokesperson for Estee Lauder and the first Asian model to ever make Forbes magazine's annual highest-paid models list. Liu Wen has changed the game for Asian models but it is unfortunate that it took decades for the fashion industry to be so inclusive. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has been around since the early 90s and it took them almost twenty years to include a Chinese model.
3 She Loses Weight by Doing What?
Before Adriana Lima became the second-highest-paid model in the industry, she started her career by winning beauty pageants in elementary school in Brazil. When she was 15, she came in first place in Ford's "Supermodel of Brazil" model search and she appeared on her first magazine cover, Marie Claire Brazil, by the time she was 17. Like many other successful supermodels, Adriana tried her hand at acting. Unfortunately, being a hugely successful model doesn't always translate to superstardom in Hollywood and she only ever appeared in short films and TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty in which she played herself. Though being a supermodel seems (and mostly is) glamorous, it's important to remember Adriana's pre-fashion show diet regimen which consists of only protein shakes and absolutely no liquids so she can "dry out" and she also works out twice a day for three weeks before the show. Being a supermodel would be nice but it really doesn't seem worth it.
2 Gisele's Cheat Day Consists of Vegetables and Quinoa
Speaking of crazy diets, Gisele Bündchen is the reigning queen. Most of her diet is organic vegetables and the rest is whole grains and lean meat. She doesn't touch sugar, flour, dairy or coffee or tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or eggplants because they’re not anti-inflammatory. Basically, a cheat day for her would be eating a raw tomato. This sounds brutal but whatever she's doing seems to be working for her. Besides being one of the most successful and highest-paid models ever, she dated Leonardo DiCaprio for five years then managed to steal Tom Brady away from his pregnant girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, in 2006. Like her fellow supermodels, she also tried to break into Hollywood and though she hasn't gotten her Academy Award, she did get nominated for a Teen Choice Award for her role in Taxi in 2005. But hey, if you're a beautiful and successful supermodel, isn't that enough?
1 She Was Discovered Where?
Candice Swanepoel was born in South Africa and lived on a farm with her family and she first became a model after she was spotted at a flea market by a model scout when she was only 15 and the rest is history. She has appeared in advertising campaigns for Givenchy, Tom Ford, and Swarovski and has walked the runway for Chanel, Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and many more. She also came in 10th in Forbes' "The World's Top-Earning Models" in 2011. As a Victoria's Secret Angel, she wore the most expensive bra to date called the "Royal Fantasy Bra" and it can be purchased for $10 million. She is currently engaged to Brazilian model, Hermann Nicoli, and they welcomed their first child together in 2016 and eight months after he was born, she was already back on the Victoria's Secret runway.