1. Arizona Muse
When Anna Wintour referred to relatively little-known model Arizona Muse in her last February’s editor’s letter as a “gorgeous, smart, grown-up” and compared her to the likes of modeling giants Linda Evangelista and Natalia Vodianova, we knew the modeling world was in for something big. It’s been quite the landmark year for Muse. Top campaigns, extensive runway presence, big covers, and now another feather in her cap — the number one model in Vogue.
Hundreds of models are cast every year in the pages of international editions of Vogue, and when we tallied the results of their work it quickly became obvious who came out on top in 2011. Quantity and quality must be accounted for to make the top 10. Not only must a models’ appearances be plentiful, but the quality of those appearances must be stellar as well. This includes factors like only-girl editorials, the caliber of photographers they work with and editions they’re in, and their number of overall pages. Arizona’s scoresheet was predictably well-rounded. She worked with the best photographers, scored the most solo editorials and graced enough pages to fill an entire August issue all on her own (that’s about 220 for those of you keeping track). She started the year with a bang by starring in only-girl editorials for Vogue China, Italia, Paris, UK and US, and that was in just one month!
It’s an unusual feat for a model to skyrocket to the extent Arizona has since she hit the international scene last year, and while we’re thrilled for her success, we wonder if it’ll stick. While Muse has the novelty (and sometimes the curse) of it-girl status, it remains to be seen whether she’ll be blessed with longevity, the true mark of a great and successful model. We are looking forward to what the new year will bring for her.
2. Raquel Zimmermann
Last year’s number one lady slipped to number two, but we can’t fault her for coming second to hurricane Arizona. Raquel has been in the business for over 10 years, an astounding amount of time to be in the business for any model, and continues to prove just how in demand she is. Meisel has been all over her (two Vogue Italia covers to her credit in 2011) and her work with top photographers like David Sims and Inez & Vinoodh keeps her in the pages of Vogue US and Paris.
3. Karlie Kloss
What a nice way to finish off another stellar year for Karlie. Top campaigns, her Victoria’s Secret debut, and that controversial, headline-making Italian Vogue editorial. Not to mention Anna Wintour’s love affair with Karlie continues, she spent most of her time in the pages of the American edition. More than any other model, in fact.
4. Anja Rubik
Like Raquel, Anja has been in the game for quite some time and has managed a consistency of work that’s tough to achieve, let alone maintain. This year has been successful both personally and professionally for the Polish model. Anja appeared on the covers of Vogue not once, but twice with her husband and fellow model, Sasha Knezevic. They married earlier this year. The bride wore Peter Dundas for Emilio Pucci, naturally.
5. Lara Stone
Another Vogue US favorite, Lara manages to court the biggest name photographers and editions in the game. The Calvin Klein model was a big cover girl for 2011 with a total of six, including Vogue Paris twice, proving that the departure from the magazine of her number one fan, Carine Roitfeld, isn’t going to slow her down one bit.
6. Joan Smalls
Joan‘s work this year has the brilliant building blocks for a spot on the top 3 — repeat appearances in top editions like Italy, Paris, and US, and working with over a dozen big name photographers. But what’s holding her back? For one, the Estee Lauder model has yet to land a single Vogue cover. For another, the numbers seem to indicate that Joan is playing a token role in the pages of Vogue. Despite her wealth of appearances (on par with Raquel), Joan almost always shares the spotlight, and gets much fewer pages on average than all the other ladies on this list.
7. Natasha Poly
It was an end-of-year push that gave Natasha the strength to nab spot number 7. Natasha got a gig guest-editing the November issue of Vogue Spain which had a significant effect on her standing. That isn’t to say that her work earlier in the year was anything less than impressive, including a few covers and comfortable spot in the Vogue Paris roster of models.
8. Sasha Pivovarova
Sasha has been a Vogue stalwart for about as long as she’s been in the business. This upcoming year may be her first break (she’s currently expecting her first child), but she’ll certainly deserve it (not to mention she has other projects that keep her busy). While Sasha may not show up in the same amount of editions that her list-mates do, she has a significant presence in editions like Vogue US and Paris, the latter of which featured her more than any other model this year.
9. Liu Wen
Liu Wen started the year of strongly and although her appearances slowed slightly towards the end, it was still more than enough to solidify spot number 9 for her. Like last year, she graced plenty of pages in her native Vogue China, but this year expanded to editions like Italy, Spain and US, while rarely having to share the spotlight in her editorials and features.
10. Karmen Pedaru
Karmen is the only model on the top 10 not to appear in Vogue US this year, which is significant considering the boost the American edition gives to almost all of the models on this list. But lucky for Karmen, she gets a lot of love from other big publications like Paris and UK. We’re hoping that next year will give her the opportunity for her first original cover, though.