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The term supermodel is applied to famous and highly-paid female fashion models. The term came into popular use in the 1980s, but the concept of the model as a star first gained currency in the 1960s, when Swinging London produced Jean "the Shrimp" Shrimpton and Lesley Hornby (also known as Twiggy).

The concept of supermodels is one inimical to a rational, conservative society, as it implies fame, adulation and huge wealth based solely on physical appearance, with no discernible talent required. Supermodels are put forward as role models for young girls, yet they lead an unhealthy life, in both physical and moral terms. Model agencies encourage their young and vulnerable clients to fit in extremely small size (size 0) clothing, thus requiring them to adopt unhealthy diets, which causes rampant anorexia nervosa and similar conditions. Very many supermodels embody the worst of Hollywood values: arrogance, self-obsession, vanity, promiscuity, drug abuse, and belief that they are above the law. Among the most notorious examples are the drug-abuser Kate Moss (known as "Cocaine Kate"), and the violent convicted criminal Naomi Campbell.

See also