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THERE is a theory that the era of the supermodel is over. The faces that typified the word—Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell—may not have faded into history, but they do represent an identifiable era. The era's influence on the present is waning, when you consider that some of their contemporaries are no longer with us: Gianni Versace, Princess Diana.
   History buffs may debate how events become history. When you're living it, it's hard to discern. But it may be premature to dismiss supermodelling altogether when you consider the presence of Brazilian model Ana Hickmann.
Modest to a fault, 5'11" Hickmann instantly has presence. It is an unintentional mystique: the effortlessness of the way she carries herself stands out, as does her beauty.
   In January, we predicted that Ana Hickmann would be the 'model of the moment'. Model agent Paolo Zampolli told Lucire at the time that she reminded him of the "real" supermodels. Then, there were approximately 16 web pages devoted to the 20-year-old. While search engine Northern Light has 85 items, Google now logs 828 references.
   In half a year, Hickmann has overtaken Gisele Bündchen as one of GQ Italia's most beautiful women in the world (July 2001), coming in at number 10. That places her three places against the model whom many considered a benchmark amongst the wave of Brazilian models that surfaced in the late 1990s.
   There may be complaints that many models are not identifiable nowadays, but that is due not to the decline of the supermodel phenomenon, but media becoming more segmented. It has consequently become more rare, without a major television appearance, for a model to capture the imagination as Hickmann has in six months across two media.
   Supermodels are about personalities. They did not all begin with contracts with cosmetics' companies. The process then remains as it is today: submission of photographs to an agency or a "discovery", promotion, reputation, image. The 2000s may have begun with less of an emphasis on promoting famous faces as the acting sorority moved in to fashion as spokeswomen, but there is no denying that some names—such as Hickmann's—can capture a mood, a time, a Zeitgeist.
   Is there a Hickmann magic? Perhaps. Some of the rise in her popularity can be chalked up to ID's promotion as we mentioned in January, and the quality of the photographers, make-up artists and hairstylists she has worked with, but the model herself can take a great deal of credit.
   Modest to a fault, 5'11" Hickmann instantly has presence. It is an unintentional mystique: the effortlessness of the way she carries herself stands out, as does her beauty. Though there are models that exceed her height, Hickmann manages to seem taller through posture and her overall appearance. Her photographs for Arena, shot by Antoine Verglas at the beginning of the year, have earned her a plethora of male fans, but even the Frenchman's quality does not expose the sense of character Hickmann possesses in person. Softly spoken without any trace of the twang of New York, the model has arguably graduated into the supermodel mode. Her humility is what makes her easy to work with. Her star can only shine more brightly as she reaches her 21st birthday.

Left: Antoine Verglas's portraits of Ana Hickmann for Arena, in which the model was highlighted above the others that appeared. This shoot propelled Hickmann to greater fame in 2001, although in person the model is even lovelier
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