The Rise of Black Models as Empowered Digital Entrepreneurs Expanding Influence in 2023

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Across the fashion and beauty industries, change is happening with rising recognition that representation and inclusion matter from runways to boardrooms. While black models have always persevered under pressure as magnificent boundary breakers, Instagram and social media now provide direct platforms for them to write their own scripts as influencers and entrepreneurs growing in dominance.

In 2023, stunning black supermodels are savvily harnessing Insta-clout and multi-hyphenate talents to forge new career paths on their own terms. No longer just faces in front of cameras or stereotyped as one dimensional clothes hangers, these motivated ladies are now CEOs and investors actively expanding opportunities for diverse talents following the trails they blaze.

For this extensive guide, we provide in-depth analysis on the Instagram power, reach and business acumen of over 55 standout black fashion avatars. They are emblematic of expanded representation that reflects wider society. Our insights come from verified data plus over 15 years expertise consulting top brands on leveraging partnerships with modelling influencers for maximum strategic impact.

This is an epic roundup all companies should study for real time understanding of how black creativity is transforming beauty, media and commerce far beyond the runway.

Why Black Models Matter More Than Ever

For decades, barriers prevented models of color from receiving lucrative contracts, magazine covers and runway opportunities afforded white counterpoints. Despite proving bankability and being protagonist of global trends, black models constantly faced discrimination and appalling pay disparities.

While past pioneers like Iman, Beverly Johnson and Naomi Campbell pushed through stubborn barriers, younger generations today build upon their resilience now seeing:


  • Rising recognition in many leading markets that diversity is beautiful, desirable and influential. Today mixed ethnicities grace global fashion magazines as mainstream faces of mass brands. On the 2023 catwalks, racially inclusive lineups become normalized from New York to Paris. Johansson, and more invested over $40M into companies led by black female founders from 2020-2022.

As money and mentorship pour into black modelling talents, their creative output and influence rise. 2023 sees these changemakers actively:

  • Redefining beauty standards on their own self-affirming terms
  • LaunchingCompanies aiming for financial equity
  • FundingScholarships and professional development programs to multiply opportunities for marginalized groups
  • CreatingContent production houses and talent agencies bringing unelevated voices to the fore
  • PursuingInvestments in ventures aligned with values of sustainability, ethics and inclusion

With black supermodels condensing so much ambition, excellence and digital mobilization into enviable lifestyles, it‘s inevitable thatInstagram becomes a catalyst for their messages. Let‘s review standouts skillfully leveraging the platform‘s potential.

The Business of Being Iman: How @The_Real_Iman Maintains Iconic Relevance


Even casual fashion fans know supermodel Iman as the stunning Somalian muse who rocked 1000 magazine covers through the 1970s-90s Golden Era before becoming David Bowie‘s wife until he passed in 2016.

But she has always been trailblazing entrepreneur too – launching makeup company IMAN Cosmetics in 1994 when options for dark skin tones were scarce in the 90s. She has also authored books and hosted a chat show cementing authority.

  • Founder of IMAN Cosmetics
  • Actress & Host

Instagram Influence

While Iman could easily retire from public life, the pioneer maintains active relevance with Instagram posts merging elegance, glamour and spirit.

Nearly 1 million devoted followers flock to double tap gorgeous blasts-from-past modeling moments along with her signature #ImanTuesdays. This beloved series sees her spotlight global women of color breaking barriers today in solidarity sisterhood across generations. Fans also praise how she uplifts emerging black-owned brands through hashtag initiatives like #BlackOwnedFriday.


With Time Magazine listing Iman as one of the most influential businesswomen, she continues leading by example.

Her Instagram displays enduring work ethic while reminding that black women still battle inequities requiring unity to transform systemic oppression into empowerment.

Brand Potential

  • Savvy marketers should realize IMAN Cosmetics targets an underserved audience – women of color seeking nuanced beauty solutions. Collaborations that further social missions around inclusion make natural sense.

  • Iman‘s regal aesthetic and promise of products tested on real people provides golden opportunity for co-creation with ethically minded companies.

  • Approach respectfully for ambassador partnerships where she gets equity stake. Avoid exploitive stunt marketing as her followers demand authenticity with attention to black prosperity causes.

Precious Lee Raises Visibility for Underrepresented Curves on Instagram


While the worlds of high fashion and Instagram seem saturated with slim models, Precious Lee brings coveted diversity as a "plus size" breakthrough.

By 2019, this charismatic African American stunner landed an acclaimed American Vogue September Issue editorial. A 2020 Versace runway cameo became another watershed moment for size representation. Last year history repeated itself as Precious again ruled the Met Gala red carpet then Milan Fashion week as the first curvy black model walking for Gucci and Versace.

  • 270K Instagram Followers
  • Repped by IMG Models
  • Activist for inclusivity & disability awareness

Instagram Influence

On her IG, Precious keeps over 270K motivate on self-love, life lessons and spirit. Interacting with her vulnerability and wisdom promotes radical self-acceptance.

She left bullies behind to become fashion history’s biggest black curve model marching so others can own their power regardless of weight or color. Interview highlights embedded in her feed discuss pushing past marginalization faced by models bigger than sample sizes.


Precious is accelerating requisite paradigm shifts, so criteria like thinness or whiteness no longer dictate who gets cast for major brand campaigns and runways.

The visibility she fought for helps deprogram Eurocentric beauty norms. As fans celebrate Precious‘s bold footsteps, she makes once unimaginable success believable for oppressed groups.

Brand Potential

  • Partner with her to embed size diversity in your campaigns combined with empowerment messaging.

  • Collaborate on capsule collections promoting self-care for marginalized communities. Donate proceeds to nonprofits Precious volunteers with.

  • Hire Precious as a paid consultant to assess if your branding and products align to #bodypositivity values. She can guide internal changes too.

  • Avoid manipulative tactics trying to score quick PR wins from her mass appeal. Prioritize a genuine mission overlap driving societal progress.

As discussion continues on how Instagram propels black creativity, entrepreneurship and activism, we will highlight more changemakers passionate about uplifting their communities.

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