So 2016 may have been the year of Gigi. But the celebrity model will give way for some true-blue models to shine (pure rookies, no Hollywood connections). Another thing that stands out about this role call of names-to-know is their diversity. Just how international is the mix? Just consider Indian, Surinamese, Japanese and Filipino in their gene pool. Here we list their vital statistics and all the things that we love about these new faces.

models to watch in 2017#1: Yasmin Wijnaldum

Who’s that girl: The 18-year-old Dutch model who caught the eye of Miuccia Prada. The latter cast her as an exclusive for the Prada S/S ’16 catwalk show and gave her the first campaign break with the brand that same season alongside veterans like Natalia Vodianova and Sasha Pivovarova. Since then, Wijnaldum has boosted her CV with campaigns for the likes of Coach and Tom Ford Beauty.

Where you might have seen her recently: A favourite of fashion editor Anna Dello Russo, she has appeared in two fashion editorials for Vogue Japan this year. Wijnaldum also  walked the Chanel Pre-fall  ’17 show at the Ritz and appeared on the spring summer ’17 runways of major brands like Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Celine to name some.

Why we love her:  Her exotic looks  — a combination of those doe eyes and her Dutch and Surinamese heritage — reminds us of a cross between ’90s supermodel Brandi Quinones and ’70s modelling legend Pat Cleveland.


models to watch in 2017#2: Faretta

Who’s that girl: The 18-year-old Croatian who made her debut at the Givenchy show last fall. Following that, she practically has walked for all the major brands during Fashion Week, thanks to her commanding presence and steely gaze.

Where you might have seen her recently: Her work with Givenchy came full circle recently when its creative director cast her in the brand’s spring summer ’17 campaign. She also starred in the recent Miu Miu Resort ’19 ad blitz. Her body of work this season? They include walking the shows at Dior, Chanel, Miu Miu and Valentino.

Why we love her:  She’s a one-name wonder (for the record, though, her last name’s Radic). Besides that strong walk, part of her appeal lies in her unusual otherworldly features.


models to watch in 2017#3: Adwoa Aboah

Who’s that girl: This 24-year-old Briton is Cara Delevingne’s bestie (they even have matching half heart tattoos). Though she’s been modelling since 2010, her breakthrough came last year, landing jobs the H&M fall winter ’16 season, Coach Holiday ’16, and the Calvin Klein spring summer ’16 campaigns. Last April, she also made headlines earlier last year for her battles with depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction.

Where you might have seen her recently: She’s a favourite of the street and egdy set, working for names like Koche, Fenty X Puma and Alexander Wang for the spring summer ’17 shows.

Why we love her: Who doesn’t love a comeback story like Aboah? Plus, her street cred and underground fashion cachet means her name will be hot as long as the cult of Demna et al remains in vogue.


models to watch in 2017#4: Rina Fukushi

Who’s that girl: Discovered at the age of 14, this 18-year-old Tokyo native had her breakthrough when she became an exclusive model for the Louis Vuitton fall winter ’16 show. Born to a Spanish-Filipino mother and a Japanese-American father, she stands out in the scene with slightly androgynous features and those distinct brows and lush lips.

Where you might have seen her recently: For spring summer ’17, Fukushi appeared on the runways for brands like Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and Missoni.

Why we love her: It’s been a while since we see top Japanese models like Tao Okamoto in the business; Fukushi might just break that dry spell. Also, she’s got plenty of girl-next-door charm. Fukushi knows sign language, dabbles in photography,  and is a mega fan of anime — counting the work of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki as her favourites.


models to watch in 2017#5: Ulrikke Hoyer

Who’s that girl: Hailing from Denmark, this 21-year-old is a professional tennis player-turned-model (she’s been playing since 8) who snagged an exclusive for the Louis Vuitton fall winter ’16 show.

Where you might have seen her recently: Besides shooting editorials for top photographers like Tim Walker and Collier Schorr, she walked the major runways for brands like Kenzo, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana for the spring summer ’17 fashion show circuit. She is also a favourite of Chloe, who cast her in its shows and lookbooks for the Prefall and Resort collections this year.

Why we love her: A classic Scandinavian beauty with blonde locks and blue eyes, her athleticism and strong walk also makes her poised as the next Gisele in the making. Hoyer’s also one model with a great attitude. She once told “In fashion, as in sports, there are ups and downs. You lose a tennis match and it feels a bit like when you’re at a casting for a dream job and don’t get it. Part of your talent in sports or as a model is the drive to continue despite failure. To succeed, one needs to have a lot of self-discipline and to be strong-minded.”

models to watch in 2017

#6: Radhika Nair

Who’s that girl:  She stole the show at the Balenciaga spring summer 17 runway as the first Indian to walk for the brand. The Kerala native was scouted during her university days in the Indian city of Bengaluru where she studied accounts, tax and economics. She moved to Mumbai in 2012  to carve a full-time modelling career.

Where you might have seen her recently: Her breakthrough was really the Balenciaga show, where its creative director Demna Gvasalia broke with his tradition of casting an all-white model cast.

Why we love her: Nair’s got that indie-cool vibe that is a photographer’s and stylist’s dream to work with. Also, her high profile gig with Balenciaga might just pave the way for Asian and coloured models to be on the runways this year.

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