Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford. Those names mean something. It’s almost impossible to hear those names and not think of the Supermodel Era, the 90’s. This time was arguably the Golden Age of modeling, and with good reason.
These women blurred the line between model and superstar like few others have been able to do since. Naomi Campell wasn’t just another living mannequin walking down the runway, she was freaking Naomi Campbel, commanding attention using nothing more than her hips and eyes. Tyra Banks wasn’t just a beautiful face on a magazine cover, she was freaking Tyra Banks, whom every girl wanted to be for both her looks and personality. Kate Moss wasn’t just the “girl next door” in every ad campaign, she was freaking Kate Moss, an inevitable household name. Cindy Crawford wasn’t just another girl in a commercial, she was freaking Cindy Crawford, the sultry icon you couldn’t get enough of.
Today it’s just not the same. The only models most people can name are Gigi and Bella Hadid, but they aren’t bona fide superstars. There isn’t one current model who has reached the level of stardom of the 90’s crew (Kendall excluded for obvious reasons).
Instead, what we have today are Instagram models. India Love, Alexis Skyy, Lira Mercer, Brittany Renner and countless other girls with “Public Figure” or “Influencer” listed in their bio who advertise items like Flat Tummy Tea, these are the ones people are paying attention to.
Many of them end up dating rappers or athletes, and some even get spots on reality shows which all simply add to their star-power. Now obviously these girls aren’t A List stars like Cindy Crawford or Naomi Campbell, but they do have similar influence.
Instead of appearing in magazines selling high-fashion clothing, they’re appearing on your timeline selling diet supplements, lingerie and teeth whitening products. I have no idea who originally came up with the idea of turning random beautiful girls into social media influencers, but the idea was genius and now these women have earned the title “model,” and numerous brands are willing to pay for their services.
They arguably have more of an effect on what people buy than the girls walking down the runway, and when it comes down to it, that’s a model’s purpose. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t yearning for another Supermodel Era; however, I would also be lying if I said the Instagram Model phenomenon wasn’t extremely intriguing to witness.
Be the zeitgeist.