Why ‘Instagirls’ like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are Millennial Supermodels

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Gigi Hadid on the cover of the Millennial issue of ‘Adweek.’ (Photo: Adweek)

Millennial supermodels Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, and Cara Delevingne are just as gorgeous as their ‘90s predecessors Naomi, Cindy, and Linda. But their success comes as much from social media as it does from their catwalk and print work.  They are as comfortable making silly faces with Taylor Swift on Instagram as they are strutting the runway in couture or smoldering on the cover of Vogue. In the most recent cover story for Adweek’s Millennial Issue, “Millennial Models Are Hitting the Fashion Stratosphere,” cover Instagirl (as dubbed by Vogue) Gigi Hadid talks about achieving both high-fashion and commercial success by using her mass popularity to help leverage luxury brands. It’s a career-savvy method to extending the model’s brand past the so-called “old” age of 25.

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Supermodel Gigi Hadid photographed for ‘Adweek.’ This photo has over 26k likes on Instagram so far. (Photo: Adweek)

“What people want to know is, OK, what’s after modeling? And that’s forcing us to think about those things [even earlier],” Hadid told Adweek. “It’s not just OK anymore to model until you’re 25 and then stop and be a housewife.” Hadid currently has 2.5 million Instagram followers—an impressive number until you compare it to the golden Instagirl, Kendall Jenner, who has 23 million Instagram followers. Jenner is the new face of Calvin Klein Jeans and Estée Lauder, while Hadid just signed a Maybelline contract. Their fans are committed. Hadid’s Instagram posts regularly get over 150k likes and over 500 comments, and Jenner’s Instagram posts often score 500k likes and 50k comments.

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Gigi Hadid in the latest issue of ‘Adweek.’ (Photo: Adweek)

Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Amy Astley told Adweek, “There are tons of examples of successful working models who don’t have a big Instagram following and aren’t interested in social media, but it’s becoming something more that the ad clients are looking for—and all the girls know it. The game is definitely changing.”

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Gigi Hadid in ‘Adweek.’ (Photo: Adweek)

Hadid added, “I think it’s always comes naturally to just be genuine on social media and to put things into words that people can relate to, rather than putting things in a way that makes them feel that they can’t be a part of it.” Not every model can become a social media star, just as not every model can become a supermodel. But for the ones that do make it in both realms, the community of supporters—and career prospects—is lucrative.

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