Ground-breaking cover star Paloma Elsesser named Model of the Year 2020

The 'plus-size' British-American model is helping reshape the industry

Paloma Elsesser has won the 2020 Model of the Year Industry Award. Instagram / Paloma Elsesser
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Game-changing model Paloma Elsesser, 28, has been unveiled as the winner of 2020's Model of the Year Industry Award.

Elsesser, who has walked for the likes of Prabal Gurung, Fendi, Alexander McQueen and Salvatore Ferragamo, was chosen by a judging panel of 250 industry insiders at the annual Models.com awards.

At a UK size 18 (US 14), Elsesser is breaking the mould of the traditional model shape of a UK 8 (US 4),

Yet by being named as the winner, Elsesser is helping break down rigid body-image stereotypes that have too long dogged the fashion industry.

Born in Switzerland, the American-British model has graced the covers of many global magazine titles, including US Vogue, and is widely regarded as shaking up the industry.

This latest accolade will cement her place in the upper echelons of the fashion world.

South Korean model Sora Choi bagged the readers' vote for Model of the Year, while the panel-selected runner-up was 2019's overall winner, Adut Akech.

Readers, meanwhile, opted for Bella Hadid as runner-up. Interestingly, of these four women, three are from categories that would have previously been regarded as unconventional, showing that the fashion industry is finally breaking away from its own rigid thinking and widely accepting diversity.

Another "plus-size: model – Jill Kortleve – picked up the Breakout Star Award.

In the men’s division, Alton Mason won Model of the Year, nominated by both the industry and readers, while Malick Bodian and Alpha Dia picked up the runner-up Awards. In a huge step forward, all three men are black.

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Supermodel Naomi Campbell walks the runway at the Emilio Pucci Spring Summer 2015 fashion show during Milan Fashion Week on September 20, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Catwalking/Getty Images)

For the first time, the ceremony featured a Lifetime Achievement Award that went, not too surprisingly, to industry veteran Naomi Campbell.

The British supermodel has worked for more than three decades, after being discovered in 1986. She appeared on the cover of British Elle just shy of her 16th birthday. She was the readers' choice for Model of the Year in 2019.

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