The Queen of the ‘Instagirls’ // Gigi Hadid on taking the fashion world and social media by storm

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Social Supermodels Like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, Fueled by Instagram and Twitter, Are Hitting the Fashion Stratosphere

Supermodel Gigi Hadid is big on social media.

It’s about 6 p.m. on a chilly Tuesday in late March, and model Gigi Hadid, equipped with a jar of charcoal pencils, is gleefully scrawling enormous hashtags on the stark white walls of a photography studio in lower Manhattan.

“I could do this all day!” effuses the 19-year-old Los Angeles native, who has, in fact, spent the better part of the day here, posing in sky-high stilettos. The following day, she posts a photo from the shoot on her personal Instagram account, with a caption thanking the makeup artist for her “on fleek” eyebrows. Some 24 hours later, the image has garnered more than 185,000 likes and 1,400 comments from her 2.5 million followers on the app. (Hadid’s total social following, including Twitter, has grown to more than 2.8 million.)

It’s that social media clout—not to mention the stunning face, killer body and irresistible personality—that has helped propel Hadid, seemingly overnight, from up-and-coming model to global fashion celebrity. And brands have taken notice. Over the past year, Hadid has scored big contracts with the likes of Tom Ford, Victoria’s Secret Pink and Maybelline.

Along with contemporaries like Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne, Hadid is part of a new wave of digitally savvy models taking the fashion industry by storm. Dubbed “the Instagirls” by Vogue, these millennial models have achieved success both in the realm of high fashion and the commercial world—a rarity since the supermodel era of the ’90s. These days, some models are just as likely to be found on the Paris runways as in the pages of a celebrity weekly or Taylor Swift’s latest Instagram post—or in Kloss’ case, on the cover of Vogue with her good friend Swift.

“Social media has allowed these girls to have a voice and a platform and not just be some random, anonymous model,” says Teen Vogue editor in chief Amy Astley. “Young people today are totally open to a self-invented person who uses technology to launch their career and put their message out there,” the editor adds.

Hadid was just 14 when Instagram first launched, and she recalls having had an innate sense of social media long before she began consciously using it to further her career. “I think it’s always come 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,” she explains.

In high school, having gained a bit of notoriety from appearing in two Guess campaigns and a few episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (on which her mother, former model Yolanda Foster, is a cast member), Hadid began hosting her own Q&A sessions on Twitter, dubbed “Ask Gigi”—something she continues to do when time allows. “I answer random things like, ‘What was your favorite class in high school?’ ‘What’s your favorite ice cream?’ Stuff like that,” she relates

Dubbed ”the Instagirls” by Vogue, these millennial models have achieved success both in the realm of high fashion and the commercial world—a rarity since the supermodel era of the ’90s.

After graduating high school two years ago, Hadid relocated to New York to pursue a degree in criminal psychology at The New School. By the end of her freshman year, she had made her New York Fashion Week debut and was the newest face of Tom Ford. By the following September, she was booking runway shows for Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel.

All the while, she continued promoting herself via social media, posting a mix of captivating selfies, behind-the-scenes shots from her modeling projects and inside looks at her life as a teenager hanging out with family and friends (including Cody Simpson, her indie-musician boyfriend, and friends like Kendall Jenner). By the beginning of 2015, Hadid had amassed nearly 1.5 million followers on Instagram alone.

When it comes to landing major beauty and fashion contracts, having a built-in social following can be a priceless advantage.

“If a model happens to come with a few thousand or a few million followers, that’s amazing for brands,” notes Harper’s Bazaar executive editor Laura Brown. “Especially if you’re a brand that wants to target a new, younger demographic, you’d have to consider [hiring] those girls in a second.”

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

In January, the game changed for Hadid when she revealed (via Instagram, naturally) that she had scored her biggest contract yet with beauty brand Maybelline—a deal that has the potential to make her into a household name. According to Maybelline’s global brand president, the model’s social following played a key role in the decision to hire her. “Gigi is extremely connected, and beyond being connected, she is fantastically engaged with women around the world,” he says. “She is extremely relevant for the millennial consumer, not only because of who she is externally—her beauty, her fashion, her style, her sexiness—but also because she is a girl that has amazing confidence, has amazing drive and is willing to share that with women through social channels.”

Just before Hadid’s Maybelline announcement, Estée Lauder made headlines by hiring its own Instagirl: Kendall Jenner, the 19-year-old Kardashian sister who, with a social media audience of nearly 40 million (including 22 million on Instagram), is by far the most-followed model in existence.

While it has taken big sister Kim Kardashian years to become accepted by the fashion industry—which is notoriously wary of “lowbrow” celebrity (consider the backlash over Kardashian’s Vogue cover last year)—the statuesque Kendall has been widely embraced since she signed with Elite Model division The Society Management in 2013. On top of dozens of runway appearances, she has appeared in ads for Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and Karl Lagerfeld—and just last week signed with Calvin Klein Jeans.

Jenner’s Estée Lauder deal represents a significant step for the cosmetics giant in reaching out to a younger audience. By signing her, the brand gets instant access to millions of women in its target demographic. “Whether you like it or not, people are fascinated by her life and the world in which she lives,” says Estée Lauder global creative director Richard Ferretti. “The fact that she is now behind the scenes at runway shows and going to these great parties, there’s great interest in that.”

Ferretti notes that Jenner also happens to have a resumé worthy of an Estée Lauder model. “The fashion designers love her, and her fashion credibility and her personal style is pretty outstanding,” he says. “So that, as a representation for our brand, is pretty incredible.”

Both Kendall and Gigi are very professional, really hardworking and grateful for where they are,” adds Astley. “They don’t ask for any special favors. They’re physically great specimens. And the fact that they’re known to the public and have a big social following is extra, and it’s great.”

It’s not just the newcomers who have benefitted from this social media revolution. “Girls who have already had success in modeling have been clever about leveraging social media to make themselves known outside the small world of high fashion and expanding their careers, because the high-fashion career can be a short one,” says Astley.

For the Instagirls, building a personal brand online isn’t just about boosting their modeling pursuits. It’s also a form of insurance against the inevitable aging out that happens in fashion where someone in her late 20s is considered ancient.

Originally published in the March 30 issue of Adweek magazine. The story story and pictures can be viewed here.

Skinny Secrets: Beverly Hills bombshell Lilly Ghalichi

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If Mattel were ever going to design a Persian Barbie doll, they wouldn’t have to look much further than Lilly Ghalichi for inspiration. This Beverly Hills bombshell (who co-founded the luxe swimwear lineHave Faith – Swimgerie, along with another G Girl, Jennifer Stano-David) has turned mirror pics into a fine art with her perfectly tousled hair, towering Louboutins & all-out glam style.

We asked the bronzed beauty to share in her own words all her stay skinny secrets!

“I know what I’m about to say is going to make every girl despise me, but the real reason I’m so skinny is honestly due to my genetics.  I have the smallest bones on Earth, my wrist literally look like that of a 6 year old’s.  As a result, I will naturally always look super, duper tiny.

Everyone in my family is ultra-thin.  Great for my sister and I, maybe not so great for my brother! Lol. We’re all blessed with something amazing- great hair, beautiful eyes, long legs- for me, it’s being skinny! I HATED it when I was younger.  Kids would make fun of me and call me Olive Oil, and I had to wear sweat pants under my jeans (sometimes 2 pairs!) because even the size 0 was WAY too big.  I cried all the time and even saw doctors to try and gain weight.

Now that I’m an adult, I love it

With that said, I do give a little effort to keep my body looking skinny-tight rather than skinny-fat (and, yes “skinny fat” exists, skinny girls get cellulite too!). I’d love to share my skinny secrets with you and your readers.

Jenn Stano Lilly Ghalichi Havefaith Swimgerie

Diet.  As far as dieting goes.  That entire term is really a foreign concept to me.  I eat whatever I want, and I am a sugar queen- desserts are my weakness.  However, diet is the NUMBER ONE factor for me on how my body will look.  If I eat poorly, it shows.  Although I’m still skinny, I get a little gut, and my butt/thighs look soft also.  When I eat clean, it really shows as well- definition in my abs and all.

When I have to be beach or photo shoot ready, or maybe if I have a new crush I want to impress, I follow a few diet guidelines:

1.     No sugar (unless is natural sugar such as in a piece of fruit)

2.     No Carbs with Dinner, and

3.     No food at all after 8pm.

These 3 simple rules will turn my body from flab to fab in about a week.  No exercise required.  They say that diet is 75% of how your body will look, from experience, I absolutely agree. Although I don’t “diet”, I do have a few very healthy habits naturally, they definitely contribute to why I’m so thin.

For example, I DESPISE alcohol.  You cannot pay me to have a drink.  It tastes disgusting, and the way it makes people act is even more repulsive to me.  I know that alcohol is full of empty calories, so by not drinking, I’m likely sparing myself of tons of unnecessary pounds (and morning regrets!). Also, I don’t drink soda.  Carbonation burns my nose and esophagus.  I have always hated soda, or any carbonated drink, even as a kid.  Sodas are full of sugar and liquid calories, so again, another step I naturally do that I’m sure helps contribute to my skinniness.

Workout. I LOVE to workout.  Cardio is a huge stress reliever for me, and sweating makes me feel alive.  When I was in law-school I had the BEST body.  I used to run about 3 miles-4 times a week because I was so stressed out.  Too bad I was too busy with school to show off my beautiful body!

These days, I don’t have a lot of time to squeeze in exercise.  My partner Jennifer Stano and I run a swimsuit company together (Have Faith – Swimgerie, www.HaveFaith.com), and summer is our busiest season.  When I do find the time to squeeze in a workout, I love to Spin, and I have recently become obsessed with Pilates.

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For anyone that hasn’t tried spinning, it is the most incredible cardio workout.  You can easily shed 1000 calories in 1 hour if you give the class your all (in fact where I spin (Cycle House in West Hollywood) they offer a class called “The 1000 Calorie Ride”, no one leaves until the calorie counter hits 1000!). When I walk out of a spin class, I’m completely drenched in sweat. The only downfall to spinning is that I actually get too skinny if I go too much! Although skinny is sexy, women need curves too.

Pilates is the second type of workout I do when I have the time.  It’s low impact, and it creates long, lean muscles rather than bulking you up.  Pilates is definitely a great way to be skinny, yet still have a perky butt, and definition in your legs and torso. My class is always filled with models, so clearly it’s working for a lot of girls!

When I’m preparing for something, I will spin 3 times a week, and do pilates 3 times a week (usually on the same day, back to back!).  During busy season at work (like right now..) I will maybe find the time to spin once a week. I need motivation- a trip/shoot, or boy!”

Visit Lilly’s fab blog, LillyGhalichi.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Skinny Secrets: Model Renee Somerfield

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Would you say you’ve always been naturally skinny, or is it a product of diet & exercise?

I have definitely always been skinny. My physique is naturally very petite and I am quite tall (5’10). Growing up, this felt very awkward but I have grown to love and embrace my body! I work hard to keep my body looking healthy and fit, which means eating 6+ times a day and working out with resistance and weights to make sure I maintain lean muscle… I don’t like looking too skinny!

Describe what you typically eat and drink over a normal day? What will tend to order if you eat out at a restaurant? 

A healthy lifestyle is something I encourage and being a passionate vegan makes it easy to eat clean! I believe in eating as natural as possible, the way mother nature intended. I avoid all animal products like meat, dairy & eggs and stick to green, wholesome foods from the earth. A typical day would include avocado & tomato on rye bread or organic muesli with almond milk and fruit. For lunch I love soy/veggie pattie burgers, Mediterranean salads, wholegrain pastas or a toasted baked vegetable roll.

For dinner I love making Thai dishes with veggies & tofu, Mexican tacos or burritos with beans & LOTS of chilli, baked veggies with hummus or vegetable soup with beans and pasta! I have a recipe book with over 500 vegan recipes, so it never gets boring and always stays fun and nutritious! And believe it or not, I rarely have a problem being vegan and eating out, there are so many yummy, healthy choices – you just have to look!

 

Renee Somerfield

What are some of your golden rules to being skinny? (for example, no food after 8pm, zero alcohol, no dairy or carbs) What are some of the common mistakes you see other girls making?

I believe that nourishing your body with healthy, natural and nutrient-rich foods will show on the outside. I can thank my positive attitude, lean body, glowing skin and healthy hair and nails for my clean inside! Common mistakes I see are drinking too much alcohol, using recreational drugs, indulging in processed and convenient foods, relying on caffeine for energy and sleep deprivation. Give your body the love and respect it deserves!

How many times a week do you workout, and at what intensity? What kind of workouts do you swear by for a slim, lean body? Is it a huge time commitment?

I like to workout 4-5 times a week for about an hour depending on my schedule. You will never find me at the gym, I’m always keeping it fun and fresh outdoors! I love long distance running, walking my dogs, sand dune sprints and Pilates with weights. If the weather is horrible or I am traveling and can’t fit in a workout, I will use a resistance band! I think the key to fitness is finding something you love and enjoy! If you loathe going to the gym (like me!) then try an outdoor class, swap the treadmill for the sand or go for a bike ride with a friend. Working out is meant to be fun, not a chore!

If you really want to tighten up and get a super flat stomach before a big shoot – what do you do to prepare?

I don’t do any emergency dieting or training before a shoot. I believe in a healthy lifestyle, not a quick-fix diet. Making sure I am eating clean and moving my body insures I am always bikini ready!

writing!

The Glamour Girl’s Guide….. To Making It In Hollywood

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So you think you have the look? You have what it takes to be scene-stealing starlet? Ready to buy that plane ticket and hightail it to L.A? Not so fast. Like every roadmap to success, you need a game plan. So we asked movie producer Martin Blencowe, the man behind big screen flicks starring A-list talent from Bruce Willis to The Rock, for his insider expertise. In our Glamour Girl’s guide, we share tips on how to be smart and savvy, stand out in a crowd, and discover why it’s called showbusiness.

What advice would you give girls looking to move out to L.A to make it big in modelling or acting?

Having a good attitude is so important. I don’t care how beautiful you are, if your attitude stinks I won’t want to work with you – or recommend you in future for other opportunities. This business is very interconnected and people talk. What goes around, comes around. My other tip? Have a backup plan. If you’re moving out to Hollywood and giving it all you got because this is your dream, good for you. However, be smart about it. Set yourself goals, and be smart about making money and establishing a career for yourself in the event that being an actress just wasn’t meant to be. Plan ahead to get ahead.

Is being an actress in L.A as glamorous as it sounds?

I think the fantasy is always greater than the actual reality. It’s not all great paying jobs, photo shoots and red carpets. In this business, you’re going to face a lot of criticism and rejection, tough competition, and you need a strong work ethic and a great deal of determination to get ahead. If you become a working actress, then there are definitely ‘perks’ to the job, but it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get to that position.

martin blencowe moviesAny practical prep work we should be doing?

Whether it’s acting classes or a dialect coach to work on your American accent, it doesn’t hurt to get some professional guidance if you can afford it. And take care of your body and your appearance. You always want to be ready for whatever opportunity comes up. You only get one chance to make an impression in front of a producer or casting director so you want to make sure you’re prepared and on point for any potential role.

Your new TV show, RESCUE 3, is from the creators of the iconic Baywatch. What has the casting process been like? Can we expect the same kind of bombshell female stars?

It’s a really exciting project and it will feature similar elements of action, beautiful beaches and yes, beautiful women. We have a few female leads cast so far, but we are still on the hunt for someone with that ‘wow’ factor. To this day, Pamela Anderson is still synonymous with that red bathing suit so I’d like to see lightening strike twice with Rescue 3 and create a new star. We will be holding a final casting soon and I will keep Glamour Edition posted closer to the date. G