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A supermodel (also spelled super-model and super model) is a highly paid fashion model who usually has a worldwide reputation and often a background in haute couture and commercial modeling. The term supermodel became prominent in the popular culture of the 1980s.
Supermodels usually work for prominent fashion designers and clothing brands. They may have multimillion-dollar contracts, endorsements, and campaigns. Supermodels have branded themselves as household names and worldwide recognition is associated with their modeling careers. They have been on the covers of magazines such as French, British, American, and Italian Vogue. Claudia Schiffer stated, "In order to become a supermodel one must be on all the covers all over the world at the same time so that people can recognise the girls."
An early use of the term supermodel appeared in 1891 in an interview with artist Henry Stacy Marks for The Strand Magazine, in which Marks told journalist Harry How, "A good many models are addicted to drink, and, after sitting a while, will suddenly go to sleep. Then I have had what I call the 'super' model. You know the sort of man; he goes in for theatrical effect ..." On 6 October 1942, a writer named Judith Cass had used the term super model for her article in the Chicago Tribune, which headlined "Super Models are Signed for Fashion Show". Later in 1943, an agent named Clyde Matthew Dessner used the term in a "how-to" book about modeling entitled So You Want to Be a Model! in which Dessner wrote, "She will be a super-model, but the girl in her will be like the girl in you—quite ordinary, but ambitious and eager for personal development." According to Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross, Gross stated the term supermodel was first used by Dessner. In 1947, anthropologist Harold Sterling Gladwin wrote "supermodel" in his book Men Out of Asia. In 1949, the magazine Cosmopolitan referred to Anita Colby, the highest paid model at the time, as a "super model": "She's been super model, super movie saleswoman, and top brass at Selznick and Paramount." On 18 October 1959, Vancouver's Chinatown News described Susan Chew as a "super model".
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