American model Karen Alexander is best known as one of the boundary-breaking supermodels of fashion’s 1980s-‘90s golden era. Perhaps most significantly, Alexander was one of the first women of color to grace the cover of Vogue US. She was also one of the first women of color featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Alexander, a Princeton, New Jersey native, received her big break courtesy of a chance meeting with fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele who introduced her to photographer Peter Lindbergh. Lindbergh photographed her for his iconic “white shirt” story in Vogue in 1987 (in addition to the aforementioned Vogue cover), and continues to collaborate with his "fashion goddaughter" nearly thirty years later.
Additional covers include Elle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Maire Clair, and Essence. Select campaigns and runway appearances, meanwhile, include Cover Girl, Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Hermès, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, Karl Lagerfeld, Prada, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren.
Over her three-decades-long career, Alexander sat for legendary photographers Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz, Norman Parkinson, Albert Watson, Gilles Bensimon, Marc Hispard, Walter Chin, Richard Bailey, Gilles Tapie, Michel Comte, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Hiro, Bill King, and Pamela Hansen, among others.
Alexander also worked with the late Herb Ritts who photographed her for multiple international editions of Vogue, as well as campaigns for Chanel, Donna Karan, and the highly coveted Pirelli calendar. Of her series of successful collaborations with Ritts, Alexander suggests, “If a client wanted a blonde, I am convinced Herb would say, ‘How about Karen Alexander - She can do it!”
Off-duty, Alexander is an active member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force at All Saints Church, Pasadena. She also enjoys reading and spending time with her three daughters (ages 25, 19, and 4). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, filmmaker Kurt Johnstad.