how model bridget hollitt is using her enviable social media following for good
Recognising her growing influence over teenage followers, the Australian model is determined to make sure her online presence says more than “look at my face.”
Even before the internet was omnipresent, media provided a pretty warped view of what it was to be a model. But as the current generation of pretty faces have grown up online, the way they present their lives to the public has become increasingly sophisticated. Individuals like Australian model Bridget Hollitt are intercutting behind the scenes shots of exotic locations with real insight into this very strange world. Recognising the major responsibility that comes with having such a huge influence on the young women who follow them, they're making sure they show all the smoke and mirrors. Yes this life is beautiful, but it's also a job that carries all the usual pressures and sacrifices.
Bridget has taken this conversation even further with her blog Idle Clutter where she strives to debunk myths about the modelling industry and take accountability for her social media presence. i-D called her up to discuss how she plans to put the 'model' into 'role-model.'
First up, we heard you got your start in the Girlfriend Model Search, is this true?
Yeah, I actually entered when I was 13 and that's how I got my contract with Chic Management. Modelling was always something that seemed really exciting and fun to me but it wasn't the thing that I grew up thinking I was going to do. Now that I am doing it I'm realising how much I love it.
You recently started a blog called Idle Clutter, a destination for your thoughts and musings. Without being a direct commentary about the industry, it's a pretty interesting fly-on-the-wall look at this lifestyle. Was that the intention?
The blog came about for a few different reasons. I'd been wanting to do it for a long time actually, so when I began to gain a reasonably large following on social media I thought it was the time.
I wanted to do it because models tend to attract social media followers very easily, and the majority of those followers are young and impressionable teenage girls. It's such a gift to have people follow you, but I think that comes with a responsibility to put important messages out there. For me, I've always loved writing and it's a great creative outlet but it's also a matter of responsibility. I felt like I wasn't doing enough with the exposure and attention that I've been afforded as a model.
You've mentioned on your blog that social media platforms have the tendency to become a "narcissistic mess". Can you expand a little more on those thoughts?
I think in the fashion industry, and on platforms like Instagram, it's so easy to get caught up in this philosophy where the things that matter are followers, exposure and getting the most likes. It's gotten to a point where people analyse what's going to get the most traction, and for the most part that kind of stuff tends to be a little narcissistic in my opinion.
The things that get the most likes are selfies; I realised I was going down that road and I wanted to make a change. It's so easy to fall down a slippery slope where your social media doesn't say much except "look at my face."
In one of your last blog posts you also talk about a need for greater transparency on Instagram. Do you think it's a realistic goal to achieve on a platform where the content is so highly curated?
It's difficult - complete transparency on Instagram and in the fashion industry may not be realistic. I don't know if clothing brands will ever get to a point where they're completely transparent about what has gone into their photos, because for them Instagram is a form of advertising. It's a form of advertising for models as well, but for me it's about finding that balance between promoting yourself without sending out a message that isn't 100 percent true.
As someone whose career is based on their appearance, how important is it to have other creative outlets like writing?
It's very important, I've become very dependent on it as an outlet. I've only really realised how important writing is for me this year — even just to order my thoughts.
You're also very open about how much this world has given you, what's the greatest lesson you have learnt so far from the modelling industry?
Probably the insight into the sheer scope of people who exist in the world. I came straight out of high school into modelling and met so many people with such different stories and philosophies. It's really opened my eyes to all the different ways there are to live. When you're in school you see things through one system that's dictated to you by teachers, friends and family. Coming into this world where I'm meeting different people everyday has been incredible.