Fashion Bloggers TV

Digital Babes: Models Using Social Media To Take Control of Their Own Careers

Written by: Zanita Whittington

Come as you are…

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 After working 8 years as a full-time fashion and commercial model, I like to think I understand the industry pretty well. In my day, the agent had all the power – they would decide who was hot and who wasn’t. They could make or break anyone they liked and were the ultimate salespeople when it came to beauty.

Therefore, your agent needed to like you in order for you to really get some work.  I used to call up each day to receive my day’s worth of castings and cheerfully try include details of my life and sense of humour that I hoped would endear me to my agent – it was really the only strategy for job security that I could employ.

The game has changed dramatically in the short few years since I gave it up – really because of something thats very near and dear to my own life still, social media. The movement, helmed by none only than Cara Delevingne, has enabled models to take control of their careers for themselves. Not only that, it’s given them a new vehicle to express themselves, a benefit in having  personality and all things unique.

It was only yesterday I read an article on Elle.com that was flagged to me by my good friend Tiah Eckhardt (another model which a great social following and AMAZING lingerie blog) about how much economic power ‘The Supers’ once had in the industry – and what changed – the shift towards waif’s and the influx of eastern european girls and models from countries with increased poverty. These girls had fewer options – and the clients and bookers were able to take advantage of that fact. What’s exciting now is that we are seeing girls who do have the opportunity to control the direction of their careers again, by arriving with a built in audience who are totally engaged.

So this post! I had always dreamed of shooting a #modeloffduty editorial in studio – the extra fun part of this shoot? We filmed it all for Fashion Bloggers on E!. I had a chance to chat all the girls about how social media was changing their work and additionally, how important it had become to be style conscious.

Models are now using personal style to capture a new audience through the streetstyle scene.

It’s even the case that model profiles on agency websites are now inclusive of social statistics. Such is the case on IMG’s website – and I’m guessing one of the factors that lead our first model pictured, Shelby Hamilton aka @IAMSHELBYHAMILTON to be signed by the agent powerhouse. Clients these days can find a girl who appeals socially to any specific audience and it’s incredibly valuable, especially to emerging brands looking to score a foothold in the digital landscape.

Once the domain of celebrities and digital influencers solely,  models are now making their mark their social media and reclaiming some power and independence in an industry where it was once next to impossible. Go girls!

You can catch my shoot and the discussion I had with each of these beauties on Fashion Bloggers tonight in Australia and NZ, 9.30pm on the E! channel.

Special thanks to IMG for sending me these fabulous girls! Their instagram handles are (in order of appearance)

@IAMSHELBYHAMILTON

 @erinshea__

@crossandbone

  @clairescollins

 @pinghue

@alexacorlett

@taylahroberts1

@natarshaorsman

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Photography by Me

Special thanks to Rachel Yabsley for assisting me 🙂