Meet Sara Sampaio - the criminally underappreciated model who should be a household name
Without a famous last name, it's nearly impossible to get a leg-up in the already impossibly competitive modelling industry.
For every Hadid, Jenner and Gerber, there are thousands of aspiring hopefuls just waiting for their big break, which makes Portugese model Sara Sampaio's rise to fame all the more inspiring. And still, you probably haven't heard her name before.
The 26-year-old made her way into the industry the old-fashioned way: winning a competition when she was a teenager which catapulted her to fashion success. And there's nothing moderate about her success, she is a rare find which can do swimsuit and lingerie modelling, while also landing high fashion campaigns.
She's a Victoria's Secret Angel, featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the face of MoroccanOil and she just walked the runway for Zuhair Murad earlier this week at Paris Haute Couture Week.
Her street style is second to none: during any Fashion Week, you'll more than likely find her looking runway ready at all times - see below, in a pair of leather bootcut trousers and a hooded red cropped knit during PFW, making the grandest of entrances at a show.
But still she isn't a household name yet.
Even among diehard VS worshippers, their core obsessions remain on more high profile models like Romee Strijd, Jasmine Tookes and Josephine Skriver, brands remain laser focused on Insta-famous superstars (although she has a six million strong following on the social network).
And she's got her head screwed on: she's not immune to criticism, but is wise about who she listens to, filtering out certain words on Instagram.
"I've banned words like anorexic, fat, skinny”and some curse words. They are hurtful and I don’t need to be reading that," she proudly declared.
She's already worked 10 years in the industry after getting her big break at 16 when she won the aforementioned mention modelling competition and starred in a commercial for Cabelos Pantene.
She's been a prominent force in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show since 2013, after being rejected during her first audition, like most of today's top brand ambassadors.
"The first thing I did when I got into that audition is say to the casting director, 'I’m not going to give you any reason not to book me this year'. And then I got it. I’d recommend it to everyone," she told LOVE magazine last year.
Sara is the most successful model to emerge from Portugal and has landed a number of Vogue covers in her home country, where she's considered a fashion queen, but few other international titles, which are being snapped up by the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
She has that same effortless attitude that comes to only the truly genetically blessed, those who can eat junk food at any age without it going straight to their waistline, telling Vogue in 2015 that she only works out twice a week; which is nothing in comparison to Adriana Lima's daily workouts.
"I don’t restrict myself from any food in my diet; I think it’s all about balance. I’m also very lucky with my genetics and metabolism," she said.
"When it comes to beauty, I feel that hanging with people you love, laughing, and doing silly things gets your spirits up. We are always prettier when we are happier."
In another time, Sara's beauty and portfolio of work would have automatically elevated to the upper echelons of supermodeldom, but without the support of mainstream media, excluding her regular appearances of pap shots on the Mail Online, there just isn't the same excitement at seeing her on the runway as there is for Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber.
Nowadays, it's nearly impossible to elevate yourself to that next level in your modelling career without a gimmick, being otherworldly beautiful isn't enough anymore, which is just a shame.