face vs followers: karlie kloss and christy turlington talk modeling now

The supermodels discuss how their profession has been changed by the digital age.

by Charlotte Gush
02 June 2015, 5:55pm

Not just a pretty face, but a social media powerhouse too: these are the new requirements for the world's top models. Models today are expected to bring more than just their looks and personality to a photoshoot; in order to get the big jobs, they must also offer access to their legions of online fans. Speaking to Vogue recently, supermodel Christy Turlington - i-D cover star and iconic face of Eternity by Calvin Klein - said, "I've got to know Karlie Kloss a bit and she says it's very different [for models today] in the sense that when you commit to something, there's this whole other expectation now in terms of social media."

When Kendall Jenner was announced as the new face of Estée Lauder, the brand released a statement explaining that they hoped to, "leverage her image, voice, energy and extraordinary social media power to introduce Estée Lauder to millions of young women around the world." Models like Kendall, Karlie and Cara have huge audiences as social media personalities--they've been dubbed the "Instagirls"--broadcasting to millions of potential customers in youth groups that traditional media and advertising find hard to reach, as well as having a profile in the traditional media that reaches older generations.

In order to get the big jobs, you now need a big following, Sarah Doukas of Storm Model Management confirmed to Vogue, saying, "Looks are obviously still first and foremost, but if you have two girls who are both perfect for something, without a shadow of a doubt the one with the bigger social following would win the job," adding that, "If Cara does a big campaign, you quote for her to model and then you quote separately for the fact that she has 13m followers."

Turlington emphasizes that it wasn't like this when she was making her name, explaining that, "Then you just went and did you job, which then made it easy to do a lot of other things that I was interested in. There was something nice and finite about it." But she isn't against social media per se, saying that she loves to be reminded of iconic fashion images from the 80s and 90s when fans hashtag her archive snaps for #TBT.


Photography Matt Jones
Styling Sara Moonves
i-D No. 324, The Q&A Issue, Spring 2013

Karlie Kloss
Christy Turlington
karlis kloss