Joan Smalls Rodriguez was born July 11, 1988 and is a Puerto Rican model and actress.
In 2011, she became the first Latina model to represent Estée Lauder cosmetics. In 2013, she entered
She was born and raised in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, with her two sisters. Her father, Eric Smalls, is an accountant, and is West Indian from Saint Thomas. Smalls’ mother, Betzaida Rodríguez, is a social worker, who is Afro-Puerto Rican and of Spanish and Taíno heritage. She also has distant Irish and Indian ancestry.
Smalls initially became interested in modeling as a teenager, entering local competitions. She met with a New York agency who told her she would have to correct her teeth in order to succeed; during that time she went to college. 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 begin her modeling career.
She was signed by Elite Model Management in 2007, and did commercial modeling jobs such as Nordstrom, Liz Claiborne, and Sass & bide. In 2009, she left Elite and switched to IMG Models worldwide, where she changed her focus to runway work. She was chosen as a Givenchy exclusive for Riccardo Tisci’s Spring/Summer Haute Couture show in January 2010, and her modeling career gained traction.
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, Indian, Arabian and Greek 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.
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, Greg Swales, Luke Gilford, Brigitte Lacombe, Mariano Vivanco, Glen Luchford and Lachlan Bailey.
Smalls is the first Puerto Rican fashion model chosen by brands to front their advertising campaigns, including Gucci, Gucci Eyewear, Chanel, Fendi, Fendi eyewear, Versace, Versace 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, Mercedes-Benz, Next, Ogilvy, Target, Smartwater, Hanes x Karla, H&M, Katie Grand for Hogan, ICB, Smart & Sexy, Americana Manhasset, La Maison Simons, 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, 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, Animale, Brandon Maxwell, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu Cruise, Tom Ford, Tom Ford Eyewear and Jimmy Choo.
In late 2017, Jeremy Scott, creative director of the fashion house Moschino, unveiled Joan Smalls as the new face for the new Moschino fragrance, Fresh Couture Gold, shot by Giampaolo Sgura. This marks Joan Smalls first fragrance campaign.
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.