A Decade Later Social Media Returns Models to September Covers

It was 10 years ago we last saw models on the cover of US Vogue magazine’s September issue. Now they’re back again with Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss fronting 2014’s weightiest edition of the year.

In doing so, the mag is addressing the fact today’s models are becoming more like their supermodel predecessors of the 80s, making brand names for themselves and quickly gaining celebrity-like status, though this time of course largely through the use of social media. Vogue has accordingly coined them on the cover of this month’s issue as: “The Instagirls!”

Vogue Magazine September 2014

The most important cover of the year over the last two decades has typically been reserved for big name actors or music stars, like Nicole Kidman, Lady Gaga or Jennifer Lawrence, whose mass influence is bait for record numbers of ad sales and readership. However now models are reeling in a greater number of fans with engagement on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that easily rivals, if not exceeds, that of many Hollywood names.

Interview Magazine has similarly reacted, placing models Daria Werbowy, Amber Valletta and Naomi Campbell on three out of six covers for its September issue; Kate Upton stars on the cover of ELLE UK; Kendall Jenner on Teen Vogue; and Cara Delevingne on Vogue UK. Further proof of the models’ return lies in LOVE Magazine and Vogue Japan who have each tapped the original ‘Supers’ with Christy Turlington and then a joint cover featuring Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, Linda Evangelista, Nadja Auermann and Naomi Campbell respectively.

When it comes to the new crop of models and their increasing influence, the first name that comes to mind is Cara Delevingne, who boasts one of the most impressive followings of her peers with 6.5 million on Instagram and 1.8 million on Twitter. Delevingne has also landed for the first time on the recently released Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Models of 2014 list earning USD $3.5 million. She sits next to fellow newcomers on the list, including Jourdan Dunn (Instagram 751K; Twitter 182K ), Lindsey Wixson (Instagram 115K; Twitter 59K) and Kate Upton (Instagram 1.26M; Twitter 1.52M). Forbes also predicted that model Kendall Jenner, who has a huge 12.7 million Instagram followers and 8.6 million on Twitter, won’t be far off next year’s list, especially if social media prowess continues to prove its worth.

The large presence and personality each of these young stars has via their personal accounts is proving appealing to brands, who are realising the benefit both in reach and organic partnerships when it fits with their image. The latest iteration of this development sees models now posting branded content on their own personal social media accounts as an add-on to their contracts. Candice Swanepoel told W Magazine that was the case with her role for Victoria’s Secret, where she’s both a model and ambassador.

This signals a complementary shift by brands away from models being indistinguishable, face-less girls, back towards a face and body that fits the model mold but with the personality and idiosyncrasies of today’s celebrity and yesterday’s supermodel. The Cara, Karlie, Kendall and Kate’s are here and they’ve got #somethingtosayaboutit. Brands take note.

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