Joan Smalls: Black, Latina and No. 1 Model

"I just have something to prove," she says.

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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

"I just have something to prove," Puerto Rican-born supermodel Joan Smalls told W Magazine in July. "I know I'm representing a group -- black, Latin, whatever you want to put me with -- and I want to show that they are beautiful the way they are. I think that's really important for our youth to see."

Well, whatever that "something" is, she's proved it. And nonwhite young women looking for reflections of their own beauty can count on seeing a lot more of her.  At just 24 years old, Smalls was recently ranked number one on the list of top 50 models by Models.com. From Essence:

"It feels amazing being number one," Smalls said in an interview with Models.com. "I am extremely flattered, honored and just blessed because it just cements that all my hard work means something and it paid off." ...

Smalls may be among the small group of women of color in the fashion world, but that isn't stopping her from making large strides. "Being in the Fendi campaign as the only girl is a great deal, especially if you're a Black girl," she said.

Read more at Essence.com.

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