Joan Rodriguez Smalls (born July 11, 1988) is a Puerto Rican fashion model. In 2013, she ranked at #8 on Forbes magazine's "World's Highest-Paid Models" list. In 2011, she became the first Latina model to represent Estée Lauder cosmetics. In January 2014, Smalls appeared on the "Return of the Supermodel" cover of American Elle. In 2012, Smalls was ranked the number #1 model in the world according to Models.com; she is currently ranked as one of the New Supers in the fashion industry. In 2010, Smalls began modeling for Victoria's Secret, and was featured in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show from 2011-2016.
Joan Smalls Rodríguez was born and raised in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. She has two sisters. Her father, Eric Smalls, is an accountant, and is West Indian from Saint Thomas, of African and Irish ancestry. Smalls' mother, Betzaida Rodríguez, is a social worker, who is Puerto Rican, and of Spanish, Taino, and Indian (South Asian) heritage. Smalls graduated magna cum laude from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City to become a model. She was signed by Elite Model Management in 2007. In 2009, she left Elite Model Management and signed with IMG Models worldwide, where she changed her focus to runway work. She was signed as a Givenchy exclusive for Riccardo Tisci's Spring/Summer Haute Couture show in January 2010, and her modeling career took off.
Since working for Givenchy, Smalls has modeled haute couture and ready-to-wear collections for top designers and fashion houses such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Isabel Marant, Burberry, Moschino, Miu Miu, Bottega Veneta, Lanvin, Missoni, Chloé, Alexander Wang, Versace, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balmain, Fendi, Dior, DSquared², Valentino, Oscar De La Renta, DVF, Tommy Hilfiger, Anna Sui, Stella McCartney and many more. She has appeared in shows for fashion week in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. In 2010, Smalls began modeling for Victoria's Secret and has appeared in their 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
She has appeared in editorials for several international editions of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, i-D, GQ, Dazed & Confused, Elle, Industrie, Interview, American and Spanish V, Glamour and W. Her international covers include the Italian, American, Australian, Japanese, Turkish, Brazilian, Mexican, Latin American, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and German editions of Vogue; the British, French, Dutch, South African, Turkish, Belgium, Italian and American editions of Elle; the South African, Mexican, Latin American and British editions of GQ; and the American, British, Japanese, Brazilian, Kazakhstan, Bulgarian, Dutch, Thai, Czech, Singaporean, Malaysian, Argentine, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, German, Spanish, Korean, Latin American, Mexican and Indian editions of Harper's Bazaar. She has appeared on the cover of Numéro, W, W Korea, Lui, Porter, Garage, Lucky, Dazed & Confused, Glam Belleza Latina, The Last Magazine, V, 10, Madame Figaro, Self, Grazia, The Edit, The Impression, Caras, ES Magazine, WSJ, POP, i-D, 032c, Narcisse, Document Beauty, WWD, Glamour, Stylist and CR Fashion Book. In September 2013, Smalls and fellow model Karlie Kloss appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, which dubbed them "The New Supers". She appeared in the 2012 and 2014 Pirelli Calendar. She also featured on the cover of American Vogue's September 2014 issue.
Smalls has been photographed by fashion photographers such as Steven Meisel, Mert and Marcus, Steven Klein, Mario Sorrenti, Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Craig McDean, Hans Feurer, Terry Richardson, David Sims, Inez & Vinoodh, Norman Jean Roy, Camilla Akrans, Alasdair McLellan, Ellen Von Unwerth, Emma Summerton, Josh Olins, Mikael Jansson, Daniel Jackson, Tom Munro, Willy Vanderperre, Michael Thompson, Gilles Bensimon, Luigi Murenu, Daniele + Iango, Sean & Seng, Sebastian Faena, Sølve Sundsbø, Giampaolo Sgura, Cass Bird, Roe Ethridge, Richard Bush, Cedric Buchet, Henrique Gendre, Txema Yeste, Victor Demarchelier, Boo George, Matt Jones, Russell James, Charlotte Wales, Chris Colls, Todd Hido, Jason Kibbler, Greg Kadel, Marcus Ohlsson, Carter Smith, Sebastian Kim, Vivian Sassen, Cuneyt Akeroglu, Luigi & Iango, Zee Nunes, Matthew Welch, Brigitte Lacombe, Mariano Vivanco and Glen Luchford.
Smalls is the first Puerto Rican fashion model chosen by brands to front their advertising campaigns, including Gucci, Gucci Eyewear, Chanel, Fendi, Fendi eyewear, Balmain, Calvin Klein Jeans, Givenchy, Givenchy Eyewear, Roberto Cavalli, Lacoste, Gap, J Crew, Ralph Lauren, Studio W., Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Bloomingdale's, Free People, W Hotels Worldwide - Global Fashion Innovator, Mercedes-Benz, Next, Ogilvy, Target, Smartwater, Hanes x Karla, H&M, Katie Grand for Hogan, ICB, Smart & Sexy, True Religion, Giambattista Valli, David Yurman, Estée Lauder, Ports 1961, Rag & Bone, Prabal Gurung, Hugo Boss, Hugo Boss Eyewear, Tiffany & Co., Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, Versace, Versace Eyewear, Missoni, and Missoni Eyewear, Stuart Weitzman, United Colors of Benetton, Calvin Klein Underwear, Joe Fresh, Replay, Moschino, Liu·Jo, Liu·Jo eyewear, Karl Lagerfeld, Bottega Veneta, Bottega Veneta Eyewear, Dsquared², Etam, Brandon Maxwell, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu.
In 2017, W Hotels Worldwide appointed Supermodel Joan Smalls as the first ever Global Fashion Innovator. Smalls will help create, shape and innovate W’s global fashion platform around the world. From special appearances and distinct collaborations to exclusive in-room and digital content, Smalls will add her signature style and taste to the W Hotel guest experience.
In 2011, Estée Lauder signed Smalls to its line-up of global beauty ambassadors. She is the first Latina signed to a worldwide campaign for the brand. Richard Ferretti, Estée Lauder's global creative director stated, "The word supermodel is overused, but if there's any woman of our generation who deserves the title, it's Joan. She can go from looking girl-next-door to superchic-tough-strong—and she is all of that."
In 2015, Smalls teamed up with Estée Lauder to create 12 New Matte Lipsticks for the cosmetics giant. The Supermodel provided inspiration for the 12 new shades, including a broad selection of reds, pinks, chocolatey browns and a dark burgundy (all permanent additions to the Estée Lauder line).
Smalls served as co-host (along with model Karlie Kloss) of the MTV fashion series House of Style. She was featured alongside singer Bruno Mars in the June 2011 edition of Vogue. In 2006 she appeared in Ricky Martin's "It's Alright" music video. In November 2013, she co-starred with actor Michael K. Williams in the music video and short film for the American rapper ASAP Rocky's track "Phoenix", written by Asia Argento and Francesco Carrozzini and directed by Carrozzini. In 2013, she appeared in Beyoncé's "Yoncé" video.
She will appear as a guest judge on the ninth season of the reality competition RuPaul's Drag Race.
In 2015, Smalls designed a Denim Collection, Joan Smalls x True Religion. Photographer Steven Klein shot Smalls for the True Religion collection ad campaign. In 2017, Smalls teamed up with the Smart and Sexy brand, to create a line of lingerie and swimwear to be sold at Walmart.
In September 2012, Smalls was named "Model of the Year" at the 9th Annual "Style Awards". Supermodel Iman presented Smalls with the award. In 2013, Smalls ranked #8 on Forbes magazine's "World's Highest-Paid Models" list, earning an estimated $3.5 million.
In September 2012, Smalls was ranked #1 on the "Top 50 Models Women" list by Models.com. She remained at the top of the list until August 2014, when the site named her as one of the "New Supers". In January 2014, Smalls appeared on the cover of American Elle and was featured in the article "The Return of the Supermodel: It's Joan Smalls".
In April 2014, supermodel Cindy Crawford posted an update on her Facebook page calling Smalls one of her favorite new models. Crawford wrote, "[...] She has great style—sexy and elegant with a touch of tomboy thrown in! And she showed off her great moves in the "Yoncé" video!"
Smalls is involved with a non-profit organization called Project Sunshine, where she helps children with medical needs. Smalls was part of the ‘Jeans for Refugees’ campaign, a Johny Dar project and artistic fundraising initiative dedicated to helping refugees around the world, with all proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee. She has also been involved with The Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with The Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Networks, Inc. to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles.