Being a model requires incredible dedication. It means achieving a nutritional balance that keeps you healthy, finding a workout routine that keeps you fit, and sticking to both with relentless consistency. And that’s before you even get into some of the different fields (like Runway), skills (like posing for the camera), and interpersonal aspects (dealing with everyone from agents to photographers). Done well, it’s a full-time, multi-faceted career.
That’s one reason I’m always so impressed when I see people cross into modeling from other professions, like acting or sports. Of course, these people tend to be doing much of the work already. They’re staying healthy and fit, and they’re familiar with some of the on-camera publicity and off-camera promotion that goes with the territory. But even so, there’s something awfully impressive about seeing “non-models” excel in modeling. Not to mention, most who do excel do so for a reason: They can sell a look!
Any way, I got to thinking about all of this recently, and decided it would be fun to put up a list of some of the most inspiring models from the world of sports. So, here we go!
5 INSPIRING FASHION MODELS FROM THE WORLD OF SPORTS
Maria Sharapova may be the most striking model I can think of from the world of sport over the last 10 or 20 years. She is first and foremost a tennis champion, and one who won a number of significant titles over the course of a spectacular career. But Sharapova was always industrious away from the court as well, and became known fairly early on for both her taste in endorsement deals and her natural style. From early days showing style in her athletic wear, to a highlight on Vogue.com for sporting Marc Jacobs back in 2014, to a recent (and glorious) ‘80s-style shoot for the fitness brand Bala, she’s always has a very natural modeling touch. She could make a full time career out of it.
The greatness of Serena Williams on a tennis court requires no explanation or elaboration. She’s the best to ever play, and there’s little debate about it. But I also admire Williams deeply as a model, because she’s made a side career of it without having what so many think of as the typical model “body type.” It’s so common to think of models only as tall, wisp-thin figures, and it’s important for us to see other types of physiques showcasing beauty and style. Williams has modeled for Stuart Weitzman, posed for Sports Illustrated, and has done social outreach for Boss Babes. Over the years, she’s also been the image for countless sportswear looks and designer dresses (including some from her own S by Serena line). The woman can just do no wrong. She’s even begun modeling with her adorable daughter more recently!
Soccer guys and tennis ladies, I suppose are killing it in the modeling field! Naomi Osaka is brand new on the scene compared to Sharapova and Williams, but she’s already well on her way to establishing herself as an icon in the sport. She has already won numerous big tournaments, and per a report at Reuters she’s focused on further burnishing her rapidly growing reputation as a role model on the court. Osaka is positioned to be one of the most impactful athletes of her generation. But she also looks to be very promising in the modeling arena. The young star has made an early habit of fearlessly showcasing bold looks, and has done so for the likes of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and even the Wall Street Journal magazine. There’s an effortless confidence to her that even professional models would envy.
Perhaps even more than Sharapova or anyone else on this list, British soccer legend David Beckham can be described as a professional model. Both during his playing career and in the years since, Beckham has been known for showcasing a number of different brands. He has worked professionally for H&M, modeled for Giorgio Armani, and he has championed numerous apparel and accessory brands. In 2014, he was even named the “Underwear Model of the Century” by Tommy Hilfiger. That more or less speaks for itself regarding Beckham’s modeling capability!
There’s just something about those soccer guys, right? More than a few have dipped their toes into modeling, but Cristiano Ronaldo is the only one who can come close to Beckham’s level in this department. For his part, Ronaldo seems to thrive at everything he does. He’s an all-time-great soccer player; his endorsement prowess has seen him become one of the highest-earning athletes on Earth; he’s a dedicated philanthropist; and he’s even a respected poker player on the side, with Poker.org having just recently placed him on a list of great athletes who excel at the game. When he’s not playing soccer or poker or working on charitable causes though, Ronaldo has done his share of pro-level modeling work. The soccer star has done work for Armani, been shot in GQ, and even showcased his own “CR7” clothing, underwear, and eyewear brand.
There are surely many more examples than these, but I simply love what these athletes have done in the modeling arena, and I always find it inspiring to see people with such natural gifts in beauty and fashion!
Thank you to Franchesca Barry for sharing this article with me