You may have heard of Joan Smalls, but do you know the extent of this woman’s achievements?
With the potential to become an inspiration to career-driven women all over the world, Smalls has certainly striven to succeed in her own work. So, who is Joan Smalls and how has she contributed to the creative world?
Who Is Joan Smalls and What Is She Known For?
Joan Smalls is a model and actress. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico’s Hatillo with 2 sisters by her parents.
Joan Smalls in a yellow Cong Tri satin dress at the amfAR Gala Milano 2019 at Palazzo Mezzanotte on September 21, 2019, in Milan, Italy (Credit: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock)
Her dad, Eric Smalls, descends from African and Irish heritage and is West Indian, whilst her mum, Betzaida Rodríguez is of Spanish and Taíno heritage and is Puerto Rican.
Standing tall for a woman at 5ft 10 ½ (179.1 cm), Joan Smalls has become one of the most celebrated Puerto Rican models of our time.
How Was She Discovered?
Whilst Smalls had already been dipping her toe in the water of the modeling industry by 2010, this is a standout year within her discovery.
Joan Smalls arrives at the Roberto Cavalli show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 22, 2018, in Milan, Italy (Credit: sama_ja / Shutterstock)
As a fairly unknown model, she was then hired to walk for Givenchy Couture in the 2010 spring/summer catwalk show. This was a breakthrough for Smalls, turning many heads her way and catapulting her to success.
Career Highlights and Brand Collaborations
Starting her modeling career way back in 2007, Smalls had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before signing with New York’s Elite Model Management.
Joan Smalls wearing Pyer Moss with Kallati earrings, a Ruwaya choker, and rings by Le Vian and Anabela Chan at the 2019 CFDA Awards at The Brooklyn Museum on June 3, 2019, in New York City (Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock)
At just 19-years-old, Smalls successfully secured several catalog campaigns for mid-market Liz Claiborne and department store Nordstrom.
This isn’t to mention her appearances in shows for Diane von Furstenberg and Sass & Bide!
Joan Smalls appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 (Credit: FashionStock / Shutterstock)
Following her collaboration with Givenchy and then her signing with global fashion brand Victoria’s Secret in 2010, Smalls was able to rapidly excel in her career, making her mark as a model as one of the fashion industry’s most sought-after women.
It is no wonder, therefore, that Smalls became the first Latina model to be named the 2011 face of Estée Lauder cosmetics.
Julianne Moore flaunts her legs in a Michael Kors ensemble at the 2019 Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on June 1, 2019, at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey (Credit: Lev Radin / Shutterstock)
2012 also brought success for Smalls, when this year’s Style Awards pronounced her ‘Model of the Year’ for her impressive rise to supermodel status.
This was helped by her action of walking for luxury labels such as Fendi, Burberry, and several Victoria’s Secret shows. Smalls also went on to serve as the face of advertising campaigns including global brands like Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Tiffany’s.
Smalls’ career doesn’t stop here. She branched out quickly, making multimedia appearances to get her face known even further. You may see her crop up in Beyoncé’s 2015 ‘Yoncé’ video, A$AP Rocky’s ‘Phoenix’ in 2013, and even RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Joan Smalls wearing Elie Saab Haute Couture and Giuseppe Zanotti sandals at the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017, in Cap d’Antibes, France (Credit: Jaguar PS / Shutterstock)
She also started to appear on covers and in editorials for multiple publications associated with fashion. To name a few, the Latina model appeared in a whopping 11 editions of Vogue, Interview, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more!
In 2015, Smalls decided to take on business, directing the ‘Smart & Sexy’ swimwear line as well as one of True Religion’s denim collections.
When collaborating with Estée Lauder, Smalls was also responsible for being involved in creating a range of matte lipsticks which were then added to this luxury brand’s permanent collection.
Joan Smalls in a David Koma leather dress, Manolo Blahnik sandals, and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry attends the New York special screening of the Netflix film ‘Set It Up’ at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on June 12, 2018 (Credit: Sam Aronov / Shutterstock)
In 2017, the model strove further, shooting her very first fragrance campaign. This was for Jeremy Scott’s Moschino. In the same year, Smalls was appointed by W Hotels Worldwide as their Global Fashion Innovator – the first-ever person to hold this honored position.
Within this, Smalls’ role was to form and innovate W’s platform in fashion to make it stand out around the globe. The guest experience hosted by W Hotels involves a touch of Smalls’ signature tastes, including collaborations and exclusive appearances.
In the following year, Smalls dived even deeper into her career, becoming the face of yet another collection. This time, she collaborated with the Etihad x Diane von Furstenberg’s capsule collection which celebrated the 15th anniversary of Etihad Airways.
Joan Smalls shows off her feet in crystal-embellished ankle-strap sandals (Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock)
Aside from modeling, Smalls also decided to branch out in other areas. As an inspirational move, this supermodel decided to involve herself in multiple non-profit organizations and campaigns.
For example, Project Sunshine was just one of these. With this, it is clear that Smalls isn’t just a pretty face!
From looking at Joan Smalls’ impressive career milestones, it is obvious to see the extent to which she has worked to become a highly sought-after success.
Joan Smalls shows off her feet in PVC ankle-tie sandals by Manolo Blahnik (Credit: Sam Aronov / Shutterstock)
Constantly ranked as one of the highest-paid models with a net worth of $25 million, aspiring models can take inspiration from Smalls’ work so far.
Gigi Hadid and Olivia Culpo leave the Stuart Weitzman x Pencils of Promise gala held on April 11, 2016, in Manhattan (Credit: TNYF / WENN)
In April 2016, the four were spotted leaving the Pencils of Promise x Stuart Weitzman event, and Gigi, Olivia, and Joan showed off their feet in matching yellow sandals.
The four models headed to a building, presumably to hang out at someone’s place after the event in Los Angeles.
Gigi Hadid and Olivia Culpo wear heavy makeup as they leave a Stuart Weitzman charity event in New York City (Credit: TNYF / WENN)
Gigi wore a distressed top by Unravel and a pair of Rag & Bone ripped jeans. The model combated the chilly Manhattan night with a Smythe coat and polished her look with a Lili Claspe necklace.
Gigi Hadid and Olivia Culpo show off their feet in matching yellow Stuart Weitzman x Pencils of Promise sandals (Credit: TNYF / WENN)
Olivia wore a white dress by Jonathan Simkhai and a yellow leather jacket from Victoria Beckham. The actress-slash-model carried a beige clutch by Mansur Gavriel.
Bella Hadid and Joan Smalls leave the Stuart Weitzman x Pencils of Promise gala (Credit: TNYF / WENN)
Both ladies wore the yellow Stuart Weitzman x Pencils of Promise “NearlyNude” suede sandals.
Joan also wore the “NearlyNude” sandals, pairing them with a sexy zipper dress from Ellery. The model styled her look with Jennifer Fisher chokers and an Eddie Parker clutch.
Via Gigi Hadid’s social media, captioned: “Such a proud moment to be there last night as @stuartweitzman announced it’s partnering with @pencilsofpromise to build 3 schools: Ghana, Laos, & Guatemala! Proceeds from the special edition yellow suede NearlyNude heels will benefit the cause. ✏️ PoP: We are so excited to join you in raising the number of children, no matter their background, that have access to quality education! #inourshoes” (Credit: Gigi Hadid’s Instagram)
Bella was the only one of the four not sporting the sandals. The model opted to wear a dress-and-boots combination from Versace instead.
Joan Smalls and Gigi Hadid celebrating that Stuart Weitzman has partnered with Pencils of Promise (PoP) to build schools in developing countries (Credit: Joan Smalls’s Instagram)
If you would like to support the goal of building schools in Laos, Guatemala, and Ghana, head on over to the brand’s website to purchase the exclusive yellow “NearlyNude” sandals.
Yellow Stuart Weitzman “NearlyNude” Suede Sandal (designed exclusively for Pencils of Promise), $398
Blue Stuart Weitzman “NearlyNude” Suede Sandal, $398 – $400.93
Orange Stuart Weitzman “NearlyNude” Suede Sandal, $398