Models: More Than Just Pretty Faces

The following models have not only strutted down the catwalks of the biggest designers in the industry, but also continue to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk of doing charitable, humanitarian and philanthropic work. Sure, they give charity a pretty face, but more importantly they are deeply committed and passionate about the causes they support.

Tyra Banks

Before her modeling career, Banks went through an awkward growth spurt that caused kids to call her “Lightbulb Head”. This experience later influenced her to launch TZone camps around Los Angeles, which were based around self-esteem building programs. In 2005, TZone became The Tyra Banks TZone Foundation, which extended the camps’ message nationally by providing resources to other nonprofits known for their support of young women. Banks’ organization also works with the Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community in New York to focus on building a safe and supportive community for inner city girls.

Cindy Crawford

Previously one of the highest paid supermodels, Crawford never let the fame and fortune sidetrack her focus the kindness many attribute to her Midwestern roots. When she was nine years old she lost her brother, Jeff, to leukemia. This inspired her to support  multiple cancer organizations including DKMS, the largest bone marrow donation center internationally and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, a nonprofit researching treatment for blood cancer. Crawford also worked with other organizations like the Ronald McDonald House Charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Stand Up To Cancer.

Gigi Hadid

Last April, Hadid tweeted that for her birthday she asked for McDonald’s gift cards that she could hand out to those in need. She shared her tweets on Instagram, encouraging others to follow suit in the caption. The model took to Instagram again during this past Paris Fashion Week with a sincere letter addressing body shaming. In the letter, she expresses that negative comments about her appearance are hurtful, but she is proud to represent a different body type on the runway. Fellow models and celebrities have shown their support of Hadid’s message by reposting her letter to their social media accounts.

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Karlie Kloss

In 2012, Kloss collaborated with chef Christina Tosi to create Karlie’s Kookies. A wholesome treat sold at Momofuku Milk Bar and other bakeries around New York, Karlie’s Kookies do more than satisfy the stomach. Each of the three flavors are dedicated to a charitable cause. The sale of each tin of “kookies” either helps provide school meals to children worldwide, distribute meals to hungry New Yorkers or support young fashion designers in America. Kloss’ newest philanthropic venture, the Kode with Karlie Scholarship, gives 21 high school girls the opportunity to attend the Flatiron School to take an introductory course in software engineering.

Heidi Klum

Last but not least, Heidi Klum incorporates her love for fashion with charitable work by donating worn dresses to various charities benefitting cancer research, women’s health, and children’s health. She has also made hefty contributions to the American Red Cross, especially after Hurricane Sandy, which led the nonprofit to honor her with the Crystal Cross Award.

Sophie Fay Shaw is a contributing writer. Email her at violetvision@nyunews.com.

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