Nineteen-year-old Lineisy Montero walks in the Céline show. Photo: Getty Images
Diversity in fashion is more than just a hot button issue—it’s an emotional topic, too. That’s understandable: When things are declared “beautiful” or “cool,” and those things don’t include us, it’s more than annoying. It’s hurtful. So when The Business of Fashion reported that this season’s catwalks were 79.4% white, the Internet collectively groaned.
But there’s one important fact that’s gone unmentioned in these discussions, and it’s pretty auspicious: the model who booked the most shows this season is black. Her name is Lineisy Montero, and she’s a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic who is already known for her huge smile and her halo of naturally textured hair. Montero walked a staggering 68 shows (including Chanel, Balmain, and Prada), according to Models.com.
“Lineisy is a unique yet approachable beauty,” says casting director Piergiorgio Del Moro, who counts Versace and Mugler as clients. “She can translate a designer’s vision while injecting some of her own personality into the mix.” Miuccia Prada agrees—she cast the Santo Domingo native in her Fall 2015 ad campaign, shot by Steven Meisel. Covers of Teen Vogue and Dazed and Confused soon followed.
Of course, one young woman can’t—and shouldn’t—be the rebuttal to dozens of pale blonde show lineups. But Montero is a rising star with increasing visibility. Backstage at Giambattista Valli, we witnessed makeup artists guard her chair so she could get her eyes done without countless cameras in her face. And just this week, Vogue.com proclaimed, “the models everyone’s talking about now are all from the Dominican Republic.”
Let’s hope they keep talking about them—and other beautiful girls who don’t fit the “mold,” or in fashion’s case, the Barbie toy box—all through campaign season, too.