11 Supermodels Who Almost Had Completely Different Careers

Or at least, had very different plans to the ones that ended up happening

Although some supermodels strategically pursued their future careers, others simply fell into careers in the fashion industry, and ended up putting their regular lives on hold to embark on brand new ones.

Some of them had planned to model from their childhoods, but the majority of supermodels had already settled on more practical goals (like Irina Shayk, who was enrolled in cosmetology school in rural Russia before her out-of-the-blue scouting).

Other models’ discovery stories could only be classified as sheer dumb luck.

Newcomer Anok Yai, for example, was noticed by agencies when a picture of her from a college orientation week went viral on social media, and before long, she was walking for Tom Ford and fronting campaigns for Prada.

Because life never really goes as planned, scroll down for 11 supermodels who nearly had completely normal jobs before they attained runway superstardom.

cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford

’90s super Cindy Crawford grew up in rural Michigan, and later enrolled at the prestigious Northwestern University to study chemical engineering. However, she eventually dropped out of college to pursue modelling, eventually moving from Chicago to New York and walk for the likes of Versace and Chanel.

bella hadid

Bella Hadid

Hadid initially wanted to become a professional equestrian, and was working towards competing in the 2016 Olympics before her Lyme disease diagnosis caused her to give up the sport. In 2014, at 18 years old, she moved to New York to study photography at Parsons School of Design (one of the most prestigious design schools in America), but soon dropped out when a modelling career beckoned.

gigi hadid

Gigi Hadid

Like her younger sister, Gigi Hadid also moved from Los Angeles to New York to study, where she tried her hand at a criminal psychology degree. However, her runway and editorial career eventually caused her to cease her studies, though she often talks about how much she enjoyed her time at college.


Anok Yai

Supermodel-in-the-making Anok Yai revealed in a 2017 interview that she had initially intended to finish her biochemistry degree at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. However, an Instagram photo of Yai at a college party ended up going viral in 2017, and before long, she was set firmly on the path to stardom.


Fernanda Ly

Once known for her trademark pink hair, Ly made her runway debut as an exclusive for Louis Vuitton at the brand’s spring/summer ’16 show and has since gone on to enjoy a successful career. However, the Australian It-girl actually used to attend University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where she studied architecture.

Models different jobs

Elle Macpherson

Australian supermodel and BAZAAR cover star Macpherson is known for her record-breaking number of Sports Illustrated covers, but actually used to study law at the University of Sydney. In maybe one of the best stories of all of them, Macpherson has said she started modelling as a flyaway way of paying for her textbooks (we can’t blame her—law degrees usually involve a lot of them).

Models different jobs
Models different jobs

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

One look at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Instagram account will reveal her aesthetic eye, and the supermodel has revealed she’d definitely be a designer of some sort if it weren’t for her modelling career.

In quotes published by Business Standard from 2015, Huntington-Whiteley said: “I always wanted to go to fashion college. I got diverted. I got swept away to model and I thought, ‘Well it will at least give me some experience within the industry and I’ll hopefully get to work different designers from all over the world’—which is what I managed to do.”

Models different jobs

Carla Bruni

One of the most prolific ’90s supermodels, Bruni studied art at college in Paris, until the modelling world came calling when she was 19 years old. Later in life, she married French president Nicolas Sarkozy and consequently became the First Lady of France—not to mention, also becoming well-known for her successful music career.

Models different jobs

Chrissy Teigen

As much as Teigen is known for her work with Sports Illustrated (not to mention, her hilarious social media presence), she initially planned to become a chef before modelling. Teigen has since achieved that goal, too—she’s released two of her own cookbooks, titled Cravings and Cravings 2.

Related stories