Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video and its lineup of supermodels is impressive, but Swift is far from the first musician to spice up her visuals with the addition of a few runway stars. From George Michael enlisting the Trinity to lip-synch his hits to Madonna heating things up with her male model boyfriend, take a look back at the 25 best moments in model music-video history.
Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington in “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael
Freedom! ’90” by George Michael
As the supermodel video standard-bearer, “Freedom! ’90” features Crawford, Campbell, Patitz, Evangelista, and Turlington lip-synching along to Michael’s power ballad. The video is also notable for the stars that cut their teeth on the production; director David Fincher would go on to direct such hits as Fight Club and Gone Girl, while photographer Mario Sorrenti is featured as a male model.
Stephanie Seymour in “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses
As one of the most expensive videos ever made, “November Rain” has the production value of a feature film. Seymour’s tumultuous relationship with Axl Rose is the stuff of ’90s legend and served as the basis for the video’s larger-than-life love story.
Tony Ward in “Justify My Love” by Madonna
As one of the high points of Madonna’s most provocative era, the “Justify My Love” video will always be remembered for the gritty look director Jean-Baptiste Mondino gave it as well as the explicit scenes between Madonna and then-boyfriend Ward.
Kate Moss in “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” by the White Stripes
Kate Moss. Pole dancing. Directed by Sofia Coppola. Enough said.
Naomi Campbell in “In the Closet” by Michael Jackson
As a former ballet student, Campbell has always utilized her dance skills within her work, but for “In the Closet” she goes toe to toe with the King of Pop, moving as only she can.
Helena Christensen in “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak
When it was released in 1990, “Wicked Game” raised the bar for music video sensuality. Herb Ritts captured Christensen at her sensual best while Isaak crooned about unrequited love. The pair made the video easy on the eyes and it remains a satisfying watch 25 years later.
Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, and Joan Smalls in “Yoncé” by Beyoncé
Beyoncé already assembled the ultimate model girl group with her “Yoncé” video in 2013. Iman, Dunn, and Smalls even show they can keep up with the superstar’s dance moves as they break it down alongside Queen B.
Andreja Pejic, Iselin Steiro, and Saskia de Brauw in “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” by David Bowie
As the artiest offering on the list, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” plays more like an experimental film than a traditional video. Featuring the dream team of Tilda Swinton and Bowie as husband and wife, with de Brauw and Pejic playing celebrities who invade their home, the surreal clip questions the role of tabloid media; the video also provides a glimpse of Steiro transforming into the rock icon’s doppelgänger.
Laetitia Casta in “Te Amo” by Rihanna
As one of the few people on the planet who could take attention away from Rihanna, Casta was the object of Ri’s affection in the sultry clip for “Te Amo.” Though the video hints at bondage with revealing costumes, the duo’s on-screen passion is largely PG.
Cara Delevingne in “Ugly Boy” by Die Antwoord
South African rap group Die Antwoord’s videos are always provocative, which meshes well with Delevingne’s in-your-face personality. In the extended spot for “Ugly Boy,” the model looks right at home covered in body paint while joining a lineup of celebrities that includes Marilyn Manson, Jack Black, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.
Iman in “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson
Iman’s uncanny resemblance to Thutmose’s Nefertiti bust makes her the perfect person to portray the ancient queen in Jackson’s epic video for “Remember the Time.” The scenario is more surreal than historical, but Iman is a vision throughout the now-classic clip.
Karen Elson in “Blue Orchid” by the White Stripes
On set for Blue Orchid, Elson met White Stripes lead singer Jack White and the chemistry was instant. The pair went on to marry months later while floating down the Amazon on canoes. Though their romance has since ended, director Floria Sigismondi’s video for “Blue Orchid” is just as watchable as it was back in 2005.
Karlie Kloss in “I’ll Be There” by Chic
After a 20-year absence, Chic returned to the music scene with a stylish Inez & Vinoodh-directed video featuring a disco-dancing Kloss. The model’s joie de vivre comes across in every frame, making her the perfect choice for the upbeat tune.
Alek Wek in “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes
Hype Williams reimagined the opening sequence of Coming to America for Rhymes’ mini film, and though Wek is only featured momentarily, her appearance as a handmaiden who emerges from a jewel-encrusted pool is memorable.
Selita Ebanks in “Runaway” by Kanye West
Created via a collaboration between West, Hype Williams and Vanessa Beecroft, “Runaway” is unlike most music videos. With a running time of 35 minutes and an unusual array of bold images, the project serves as West’s rock opera. Ebanks stars as a phoenix fallen from the heavens into West’s opulent world—one she soon finds herself trapped in. For the model, it was the part of a lifetime and she completely embraces the clip’s off-kilter vibe.
Sean O’Pry in “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Before T-Swift enlisted her supermodel girl gang, she fell for the considerable charms of O’Pry in her clip for “Blank Space.” As a decadent playboy, O’Pry pulls Swift into his over-the-top world of luxury, but soon proves himself to be Mr. Wrong.
Lara Stone in “Night & Day” by Hot Chip
If conquering fashion wasn’t enough, Stone gets a chance to invade earth in Hot Chip’s hilarious video for “Night & Day.” As a buxom alien who
crash-lands into a surreal world populated by Snuggie-clad dancers and giant eggs, Stone makes the most of an unconventional scenario.
Lily Cole in “Sacrilege” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Sacrilege” has the intensity of a horror film and the tragic story to match. Cole displays her acting talents as the heroine of the piece, trying to survive in a world filled with peril.
Omahyra Mota, Eugenia Volodina, Jessica White, Liliana Domínguez, and Naomi Campbell in “Change Clothes” by Jay Z
Though his retirement proved short-lived, Jay Z’s The Black Album gave the world a supermodel-filled music video complete with a Rocawear runway show.
Christie Brinkley in “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel
A classic rich-girl, poor-boy love story, with Joel as a mechanic and Brinkley as a high-society beauty whose Rolls-Royce needs a tune-up. Spoiler alert: He gets the girl in the end.
Christy Turlington in “Notorious” by Duran Duran
Yasmin Le Bon talked her then-boyfriend Simon Le Bon into casting a 17-year-old Turlington in Duran Duran’s spot for “Notorious.” The video was one of Turlington’s first big breaks and gave audiences a taste of the supermodel she’d eventually become.
Cindy Crawford in “Come Home for Christmas” by Bon Jovi
Nothing brings ’90s sex symbols together like the holidays. Bon Jovi’s cover of the Charles Brown Christmas classic would seem saccharine were it not for Crawford and Jon Bon Jovi thoroughly enjoying each other’s company in this steamy video.
Gemma Ward in “Daughters” by John Mayer
Mayer’s soulful hit “Daughters” keeps things simple, focusing on the singer-songwriter’s guitar playing and close-ups of Ward’s beautiful face.
Behati Prinsloo in “Rich Girls” by the Virgins
Having Prinsloo play a rock-and-roll dream girl may seem like typecasting, but the Virgins’ spirited video taps into everything fans love about the Victoria’s Secret beauty. Sporting lingerie and a baseball cap, Prinsloo seduces everyone in a dive bar only to grab her trenchcoat and saunter out, leaving the bandmates hot and bothered.
Tyra Banks, Linda Evangelista, , Emma Sjöberg, Estelle Hallyday, Shana Zadrick, Beverly Peele and Nadja Auermann in “Too Funky” by George Michael
Michael has never been shy about expressing his love for models, and in this video he plays a director filming an over-the-top runway show filled with Thierry Mugler pieces. “Freedom! ’90” may be the more famous clip, but “Too Funky” brings the fun with its celebrity cameos (keep an eye out for Rossy de Palma) and exquisite costumes.