We all imagine that supermodels are born with their jaw-dropping looks, but in reality this is rarely the case. In fact – like most mere mortals – models have lived through some embarrassingly awkward moments in their youth. Don’t believe us? Well, these 20 childhood photos show our favorite catwalk stars in completely different lights.
20. Lily Aldridge
Despite being arguably one of the modeling world’s most glamorous women, Lily Aldridge has confessed to being a bit of a tomboy as a child. In fact, it was only when there was a boy she wanted to impress that the American star attempted to wear “girlier” attire. And the result? Bright green pants and a matching T-shirt. “It was not good at all,” Aldridge told Vogue in 2014. “But it is an outfit I will never forget because I loved it so much.”
19. Elle Macpherson
No, this isn’t a photo of your typical AV club enthusiast – it’s actually an 11-year-old Elle Macpherson. Indeed, before she gained international exposure through her Sports Illustrated appearances, the Australian beauty was actually quite a geeky character. And the future star’s bowl-cut hair is proof of how far from fashion she was at the time.
18. Kate Moss
After being discovered by Storm Models at the age of 14, Kate Moss has spent much of the rest of her life at the end of a camera and has become a bona fide icon while at it. However, this frumpy photo – taken before she was signed – shows the English rose still a while away from growing into her razor-sharp looks.
17. Chanel Iman
This pouting toddler has way more attitude than the average pre-schooler, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that she grew up to rule the catwalk. Certainly, American model Chanel Iman has lit up her fair share of Victoria’s Secret fashion shows with her fierce beauty, and this baby pic shows that even her poses were on point back then, too.
16. Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Bündchen has received the honor of being named as the final true supermodel by none other than industry veterans Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. But this teenage photo of the Brazilian beauty – who was discovered at age 14 – paints the star in a more down-to-earth light. Indeed, it’s hard to see the glamazon that she would become in the years to follow.
15. Magda Laguinge
Although she’s probably best known in her native Argentina – where she has appeared twice on Harper’s Bazaar’s cover – Magda Laguinge is nonetheless a modeling sensation. And it seems that the star has always had a keen sense of fashion – that is, if you take her pout in this childhood photo to be a protest against her parents’ taste in frilly dresses.
14. Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne must have been hard to handle as a child if this photo is anything to go by. Indeed, in it the future model-turned-actress is already showing off the fun and vitality we’ve come to expect from the feisty Brit. However, the less said about those pigtails and dungarees, the better.
13. Tyra Banks
She may be one of America’s Top Models, but Tyra Banks has been pretty candid about growing up an ugly duckling. “I was the brunt of every joke,” she told The Huffington Post in 2012. “People thought there was something wrong with me.” And, certainly, this gawky girl is a million miles from the swan Banks would later become.
12. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Prior to finding fame as a Victoria’s Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was your average girl attending school in her native Britain. And while her pin-sharp cheekbones in this pic hint at her eventual success in the fashion industry, Whiteley’s school uniform and pulled-back hair provide quite the contrast to the glamorous attire and tumbling locks she shows off now.
11. Anna Selezneva
Some people are just born to be models, judging by these photos. In fact, with her searing off-camera stare, baby Anna Selezneva could have crawled onto the catwalk at any age. What’s more, the Russian star could definitely work that blonde bowl cut even now.
10. Naomi Campbell
While she’s reportedly something of a diva in real life, Naomi Campbell looks like sweetness and light in this shot. Indeed, this candid childhood photo reveals a rarely seen side to the English model, who’s just as famous for her temper as she is for her decades-long career.
9. Magdalena Frackowiak
These days, Magdalena Frackowiak can be seen modeling looks from the likes of Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani. However, as a child the Polish sensation was made to wear some truly cringe-inducing frocks, and her pained smile here sums up the angst many people have endured from being dressed by their parents.
8. Miranda Kerr
Many men would kill for a chance to be in the same room as Miranda Kerr – a fact which makes this awkward photo even cuter. In reality, the petrified boy sitting down is actually Kerr’s brother Matt, and the snap shows the two posing for a family picture in their native Australia.
7. Heidi Klum
Before she gained success as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and Project Runway host, Heidi Klum had dreams of film stardom. During high school, moreover, the German model appeared as a killer cyborg in a trashy student movie. Shot while relaxing on set, this throwback photo shows the then teenage Klum with stars in her eyes – and some outrageous ’80s hair.
6. Karlie Kloss
Karlie Kloss’ work with the likes of Christian Dior and John Galliano has made her one of this decade’s hottest modeling sensations. However, this photo – posted to the American star’s Instagram account – shows a sweet-toothed seven year-old years away in poise from ever making it to a runway. “I still have… the unwavering love for grape soda,” Kloss joked on her post.
5. Claudia Schiffer
Today, Claudia Schiffer’s hair is so flawless that it’s even earned her a shampoo range with German brand Schwarzkopf. However, things used to be a little different for the supermodel, as displayed by this rare childhood picture. Indeed, it’s hard to tell where the girl ends and the bob starts in this shot, which shows that all fashionistas have to start somewhere.
4. Sophie Dahl
Anyone who hasn’t guessed the connection between Sophie Dahl and children’s author Roald Dahl may be surprised to learn that the latter is the model’s grandfather. In fact, the young future author and fashion campaign queen even influenced the shy main character Sophie in the British author’s 1982 book The BFG. And judging by this pre-fame pic of a bespectacled Dahl, it’s easy to see the inspiration.
3. Abbey Lee Kershaw
Though she might have once been named as a supermodel for the ’10s by V magazine, Abbey Lee Kershaw is unafraid to reveal her more awkward side. To illustrate, the Australian star once shared this charming childhood photo with i-D magazine, which shows the one-time Mad Max: Fury Road actress with blonde pigtails. We’d love to see her wear a similar look at New York Fashion Week.
2. Coco Rocha
Speaking of pigtails, this portrait of a young Coco Rocha sees her going full Pippi Longstocking while posing with her pooch Pepsi. And the shot certainly shows a lighter side to the Canadian model – one rarely seen while she’s posing for the likes of Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
1. Janice Dickinson
Often described as the world’s first supermodel, Janice Dickinson remains a fearsome force in the fashion world. But even before starting her world-famous career – which includes stints modeling for Gianni Versace and Calvin Klein – Dickinson was already displaying her trademark ferocity. Indeed, this baby pic of the American star screams ‘diva in the making.’