Joan Smalls got her start like many other models in the business: heading to NYC with a big dream but not not much else. Her ambitiousness paid off, because today she’s covering the Elle January 2014 issue in a fabulously mod spread. Smalls dons a colorful slim-waist mini, a vividly patterned pantsuit and a theatrical black-and-glitter ensemble for the spread, photographed by Michael Thompson.
Smalls is an advocate for diversity in the modelling industry. She opened up to Elle, saying, "People hide behind the word aesthetic. They say, ‘Well, it’s just that designer’s aesthetic.’ But when you see 18 seasons in a row and not one single model outside a certain skin color…? There are people in the industry who are advocates, who support diversity. And there are people who do not."
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