Shy Models and Fashionistas

Biographies of Shy Fashion Figures and How They Cope With Shyness

Modeling involves much more than just wearing clothes. It requires poise, confidence, and the ability to perform under pressure. It might be surprising to learn, therefore, that several models, including top supermodels, were at one time or are still shy. Quite frequently, women who are models were teased as adolescents for being overly tall and skinny -- attributes that serve them well in the modeling world but that made them stand out early in life.

Below is a list of some famous models who are also shy. Although not a model, Anna Wintour is included because she is a prominent figure in the fashion industry.

Adriana Lima

Photo: Getty / Andreas Rentz
Photo: Getty / Andreas Rentz. Photo: Getty / Andreas Rentz

Adriana Lima is a Brazilian model best known for her appearances in Guess ads as well as Victoria's Secret fashion shows. Known as one of the world's top fashion models, Adriana was discovered at age 13 when she won second place in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest.

Adriana describes how her mother helped her cope with shyness at a young age: "She helped me a lot because I used to be very shy. When I first started, I had to go to a casting, and I had to go in a bikini. When I saw all the girls, I thought,"What am I doing here" The girls were so beautiful. I said to my mother,"There's no way that I am going in - I didn't like my body before; I thought I was too skinny. And she said, "No, you are going and you're going to get this job. - I was so nervous, but I went in and I got the job! I couldn't believe it. And that's how I started."

Claudia Schiffer

Photo: Getty / Ian Gavan
Photo: Getty / Ian Gavan. Photo: Getty / Ian Gavan

German model Claudia Schiffer was discovered in a night club at the age of 17. She later went on to model for Chanel and became known as one of the five "supermodels." Claudia felt awkward and shy growing up as a teenager in a small town because she was tall and skinny. Even during her the early days of her modeling career, she describes herself as "a bit of a loner, as I was still quite shy."

Claudia feels that modelling helped her overcome her shyness: "Modelling has been a great type of therapy for me. Working with so many different personalities - good and bad - has forced me to come out of my shell. Obviously all the travelling has taught me to become very independent and I've also learnt to live each day like it's my last."

Heather Graham

Photo: Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez
Photo: Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez. Photo: Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez

Heather Graham is an American actress and former spokesperson and TV model for Garnier hair products. Heather was born in Wisconsin and moved frequently with her family during childhood due to her father's career with the FBI. Heather was shy as a child but showed promise in acting and was voted most talented by her senior class in high school. She has starred in over 50 movies, including the well-known films "Boogie Nights," "Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me," and "The Hangover."

Kate Moss

Photo: Getty / Pascal LeSegretain
Photo: Getty / Pascal LeSegretain. Photo: Getty / Pascal LeSegretain

Kate Moss is an English model who was discovered at the age of 14 by a modeling agency representative while traveling through John F. Kennedy Airport. Kate is known for her signature "waif" look and is heralded as one of the world's top fashion models.

Photographer Mario Testino describes Kate: "Believe it or not, she is shy. I go to events with her and I am, like, what's the matter with you? And she is, like, shaking, nervous." Like many shy actors, Kate talks about becoming someone else while at work: "I feel like I become somebody else when I do the pictures. I don't like doing pictures as myself. I like to be made into somebody different."

Rene Russo

Photo: Getty / Frederick M. Brown
Photo: Getty / Frederick M. Brown. Photo: Getty / Frederick M. Brown

Rene Russo is an American model and actress who was discovered during a Rolling Stones concert. She started her career with Ford Models and then took up acting in her 30s. Rene is known for films such as Lethal Weapon 3, Tin Cup and Ransom. Her shyness developed during childhood and adolescence; fellow high school classmate Ron Howard has said that she walked with her head down and was shy. Rene was tall as a teenager and suffered with scoliosis, which led to teasing by other kids.

Anna Wintour

Photo: Getty / Vittorio Zunino Celotto
Photo: Getty / Vittorio Zunino Celotto. Photo: Getty / Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Anna Wintour has worked for a variety of publications including Harper's Bazaar (as Fashion Editor), British Vogue (as Editor-in-Chief), and currently, American Vogue (Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief). Although known for throwing frequent parties, Anna rarely stays past the first 10 minutes, preferring to be in bed before 10:00 pm. Anna is known as shy; her shyness is sometimes mistaken for coldness.


Internet Movie Database. Anna Wintour. Accessed April 17th, 2012.

Internet Movie Database. Claudia Schiffer. Accessed April 17th, 2012.

Internet Movie Database. Heather Graham. Accessed April 17th, 2012.

Internet Movie Database. Kate Moss. Accessed April 17th, 2012.

Internet Movie Database. Rene Russo. Accessed February 28t, 2012. Kate Moss, Anna Wintour, and Shy Fashionistas. Accessed April 17th, 2012.

News 3. Modelling Helped Claudia Schiffer Overcome her Shyness. Accessed April 18th, 2012.

People. Pre-Fab Stars. Accessed February 28th, 2012.

Superior Pics. The Adriana Lima Interview. Accessed April 18th, 2012.

Vogue. Supermodel Squad. Accessed April 18th, 2012.

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