The Age Of Social Media Models

Models. They are gorgeous, talented, and are always a topic of discussion. Whether discussing their newest Instagram or love interest, the models Kendall, Gigi, Bella, and Suki always seem to always get brought up.

Yes, I am guilty of following all these women because they post awesome photos, are hilarious, or are an inspiration for me. But if I didn’t follow them I really wouldn’t know what they were up to. But with social media, it’s easy to see which new relationships are starting, what will be the hottest item in the fall, and which models will become the”IT” model in the future. Thanks to Instagram Gigi Hadid shot up in the fashion world in just 2 years of modeling.

But does a bunch of gorgeous pictures on Insta make someone a supermodel?

This debate began when former supermodel, Rebecca Romijn (think Mystique pre JLaw) spoke to the entertainment site ET and was asked her thoughts on Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid being more famous on social media then in runway;

I know a lot of people — legitimate fashion people — can’t stand it. Hate it that these, you know, social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion. They are not true supermodels. So I have been disappointed that fashion magazines have been supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards. But it will change; fashion always does.

When comparing models today to models 20 years ago, social media like Instagram or Twitter didn’t exist. Heck, the computer itself was just becoming a big thing. If girls wanted to be considered models they had to go out in the fashion world and make a name for themselves by any means necessary.

Many women considered models today have over 10 million followers on social media sites. Kendall currently is the queen of Instagram with 60 million followers. Whether it is realized or not, the ability to show 60 million people a picture or video of yourself in a matter of five seconds is quite amazing. Social media has become almost like a portfolio for many people to show what they bring to the table. And the best part of social media? The publicity is  free. People just click the follow button and they are constantly updated with what someone is doing. Social media has become the best way for models to get discovered.

But is social media the only thing that allows people to be considered supermodels? Many still do editorial shoots, walk in fashion shows, and star in ads for beauty products. Fellow supermodel, Tyra Banks also weighed in on what she called the “supermodel war” and had this to say;

We (models) worked runways and shot magazine spreads together, schlepped to countless go-sees, used pay phones for on-the-go communication, and subways for transportation around the globe — no cell phones, Ubers or Lyfts around. We started out by booking low-end work for janky magazines that no longer exist and walked in way too many showroom fashion shows at the local mall. 

Tyra could not have said it any better. Both her and Rebecca seem to express that models today have an easier advantage of being seen as a model because of social media. No one feels good when they put in twice the effort than someone else and they still get the same outcome even when the other person is doing half the work. It took time to get that coveted title of supermodel. Now it seems like it’s a term just getting tossed around.

When it comes down to the bottom line I think Romijn has a solid point. Today, it seems much easier to be considered a model. Having the ability to post a single event on Instagram or Facebook and allowing hundreds of people to see is the best way for someone to notice a person’s looks or talents. It’s all about the way someone markets them self on these sites. Really anyone can be a social media model. It’s not just celebrities.

Social media or not being a model is tough work. It’s essentially like any other job. So whatever type of model someone may be there is one thing everyone should remember. *RuPaul voice* You better work.

Anna Flahaven

Editorial Contributor, Grand Valley State University Major: Marketing Her heart belongs to: Caramel Macchiatos, her Yorkie Lionel, and Scary Movies. Her guilty pleasures: Friday Night Lights, belting Elton John at 2 in the morning, and jalapeno cheetos.

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