Celebrities are using bikini pics to encourage voter registration. Data shows it's working.

Priscilla Blossom
·3 mins read
Zoe Kravitz, Kylie Jenner and Lisa Rinna have all employed the "rick roll" tactic. (Photos: Instagram)
Zoe Kravitz, Kylie Jenner and Lisa Rinna have all employed the "rick roll" tactic. (Photos: Instagram)

Celebrities are reminding fans to register to vote via posting bikini pics on their Instagram accounts. But does posing provocatively actually get people to the polls, or is it just another stunt for clicks?

It’s actually more impactful than you might think. A recent bikini photo post from Kylie Jenner in which the media personality and entrepreneur asked her followers to register to vote by using the link in her bio prompted a 1,500 percent user increase on Vote.org’s website. The non-partisan site has been around since 2008 and has registered more than 4.5 million voters to date. And that number may continue to grow thanks to celebs with large and active fanbases.

“Celebrities definitely have a role to play and help us to meet voters where they are at, especially young voters,” Vote.org CEO Andrea Hailey tells Yahoo Life. “Not every young American is politically active, so sometimes it takes a celebrity reminding them why their vote matters and the power voting has in deciding issues that matter to them.”

Others have been doing their part as well. Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, for example, created the hashtag #horny4thapolls to get people motivated to vote by using the power of celebrity sex appeal. Glazer’s call-out doesn’t include Vote.org’s site but rather cheat sheets for more progressive-learning voters, especially in states with tight races like Florida and Arizona.

A few other famous folks have emulated Glazer’s efforts, including actress and singer Zoe Kravitz, Lisa Rinna and model Tess Holiday. Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Tiffany Haddish, Josh Gad, Sarah Silverman and other well-known comedians and actors also strip down in a separate video with the hashtag #NakedBallots that’s inspiring folks to fulfill their civic duty.

While showing more skin to get attention for the election is proving to be at least somewhat useful, Hailey says plenty of notable folks have simply used their platforms to remind people to take part in the political process — all while staying fully clothed.

“We have seen other celebrity posts on social media that make a straightforward call for their followers to register and vote. Some examples would be Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean, Rihanna, and Barack Obama,” she says.

As for who is receiving the message, Hailey offers data from Vote.org that shows those registering on their platform are predominantly from the 25 to 34 age group (27 percent), followed by younger voters ages 18 to 24 (20 percent) — a group known for frequently opting out of voting. However, she says, amid the summer’s protests, there seems to be an even greater surge in activism among young people that, combined with reminders from their favorite accounts, may keep them engaged through November.

“Celebrities and influencers speaking out on these issues have...helped to reinforce this energy and sustain it through Election Day, and beyond,” she says. “They help lower that barrier to political engagement by making it relatable and, at the end of the day, by making voting easier, and in turn, getting more people to vote, we create a stronger, more representative democracy.”