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American Beauty: 50 Years of Homegrown Supermodels

July 4, 2014

Hilary Rhoda: Photo by Getty Images

When the Statue of Liberty struck a permanent pose on Liberty Island, she became the first in a long line of tall, gorgeous women to proudly represent Team USA. 128 years later, American bombshells have created and challenged beauty standards worldwide. This 4th of July, we salute these iconic beauties. Here’s a look at the faces of the year 2000.

Hilary Rhoda

Brunette Hilary Rhoda is a true American beauty—she was born in our nation’s capital in 1987. A field hockey and lacrosse champion, the brunette joined fashion’s varsity model ranks in 2005, when Nicolas Ghesquiere booked her to walk on Balenciaga’s catwalk. Soon after, she opened the Valentino show, and booked campaigns for Hermes, Chanel Couture, and Gap. In 2007, she scored an Estee Lauder contract, and in 2008, she replaced Angelina Jolie as the face of St. John. Rhoda is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, former hockey player Sean Avery; she’s also a household name thanks to her latest gig as a Victoria’s Secret runway star.

Devon Aoki

She’s only 5’5”, but Devon Aoki’s unique look made her fashion presence huge. Half Japanese and half German, the Hollywood native scored an introduction to Storm Model Management from Kate Moss herself, and became the face of Versace at age 16, followed by campaigns for Chanel, Lancome, Hugo Boss, YSL, and Baby Phat (remember them?). In 2003, Aoki made her film debut in 2 Fast 2 Furious, followed by Sin City. This year, she joined the hit CW show Arrow as Tatsu Yamashiro, a supernatural warrior. She has two young children with her fiancé, American banker James Bailey.

Carolyn Murphy

Raised on her family’s Virginia farm, Carolyn Murphy was a competitive swimmer who competed for a Junior Olympics slot in 1988. To pay for college, she started modeling part-time, eventually landing a Prada campaign at age 22. By 2000, she was the face of Versace and Calvin Klein, and after appearing in the Adrian Brody film Liberty Heights, she scored a lucrative contract with beauty giant Estee Lauder. After giving birth to a daughter, Dylan Bleu, with Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, she stormed runways for Versace, Marc Jacobs, and Fendi. By 2008, Forbes estimated her yearly earnings at $3 million, and in 2013, she hosted Project Runway All Stars. Murphy and her daughter live in Venice Beach, California, where the model is an avid surfer.

Maggie Rizer

How’s this for adorable: After a local photography studio hung Maggie Rizer’s graduation photo in their window, family friends encouraged her to send photos to Ford Modeling Agency. After being immediately signed, Rizer dyed her blonde hair red, et voila: she was booked for her first Italian Vogue cover. Campaigns for Versace, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, and Tommy Hilfiger followed, and soon Rizer amassed a considerable fortune—which her stepfather, John Breen, gambled away in secret. In 2005, courts ordered Breen to pay Rizer $7 million in damages. In the meantime, Rizer resurrected her career with new jobs at BCBG, LL Bean, Nicole Miller, and Hugo Boss. She married IBM heir Alex Mehran and gave birth to a son, Zander, in 2010.

Chanel Iman

She’s named for a fashion brand and a style icon, and every Halloween, she would dress up as (yes) a supermodel. So it’s really no wonder Chanel Iman Robinson became one of the most famous faces of the new millennium, booking her first Vogue cover before she could even get her learner’s permit. The California native stormed runways for Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, and Yves Saint Laurent while still attending high school, and shot campaigns for DKNY, Express, Ralph Lauren, and Gap shortly after she could legally vote. After hosting a revamped version of House of Style, Iman became a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2010 and appeared in Beyonce’s video Yonce in 2012. She’s reportedly engaged to rapper and fashion darling A$AP Rocky. Awww.