Nowadays many owe their careers to the prevalence of social media. From the community managers who tweet from corporate accounts to the influencers who meticulously curate their own pages to models like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, there’s no question that amassing a following gets you paid. In the case of Kendall and Gigi, that pay amounts to “between $125,000 and $300,000 for a single post across their portfolio,” says Frank Spadafora, CEO of D’Marie Archive, an app that ranks how profitable fashion notables are.
Models with vast social media followings can now make more money on a single post than they do in a day’s worth of shooting. This fact has not escaped the notice of the earlier generation of models, who don’t seem too pleased with sharing the title of “supermodel” with the likes of Kendall, Gigi and Cara. “We [90s supermodels] had to earn our stripes and take our stepping stones to get to where we’ve gotten, and to accomplish what we have achieved… Then it just comes like that for them — but I sometimes believe easy come, easy go,” Naomi Campbell told the audience of The Meredith Viera Show.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rebecca Romijn reportedly stated that the new class of beauties “are not true supermodels,” though she later denied this allegation via Twitter. Earlier this week, when Vanity Fair questioned Stephanie Seymour on the matter, the icon mused, “Supermodels are sort of the thing of the past. They deserve their own title. Kendall and Gigi are beautiful girls, and I support all of them, but they need their own title.” What would she knight the new guard? “Bitches of the moment! That would be a good title for them.”
…Nope, they’re not bitter at all.
The truth is, being a successful model still requires the same mix of genetic dumb luck, industry connections and drive that it did years ago. Models still need to hit castings, get contracts and repeatedly shoot for hours on end in order to truly succeed. Plus, there’s the added pressure of feeding masses of hungry followers with fresh, authentic-seeming content.
Jenner took to one such content outlet, kendallj.com, to clap back at Seymour and the rest of the naysayers:
“Gigi sent me the most recent rant and I’m disappointed. If you’re going to tell us not to be in ‘your moment’, then don’t be in mine! No one is trying to steal Stephanie Seymour’s thing, or trying to be her. I actually looked up to her. She has a daughter! I guarantee you that she didn’t imagine someone so publicly shaming her daughter when she made those comments about us being ‘bitches of the moment’.
Being a Supermodel is a relative term. If people want to call Gigi and I Supermodels now, it doesn’t take anything away from Supermodels of the past. Obviously, I have so much respect for those women, but right now, we’re the models of this time.
When I’m older, I’m going to be so nice to anyone who’s trying to do the same thing as me. There are other supermodels who give me tips and build up my confidence, sending me notes after a spread comes out, saying, ‘You’re killing it.’ That’s the classy way to behave and I fully intend on being a positive influence on anyone younger than me, my entire life.”
We’re surprised to hear ourselves say it, but we’re siding with Kendall on this one. Everyone’s clearly working hard for their recognition, regardless of how quickly they gained it. Even if Seymour was half-kidding, calling other women who are succeeding within your profession derogatory names, or diminishing their hustle, is neither classy nor justified (in this case). Worry about being a super human being before you get caught up on copyrighting the adjective.
UPDATE: On Monday, June 20, as “feelings were hurt” Stephanie Seymour took to Instagram to revise her definition of a supermodel to include Kendall and Gigi, clarify that no names were mentioned during the original interview and congratulate the girls on their success.
I don’t usually address rumors, but since feelings have been hurt I would like to set the story straight. At an event last week I was jokingly asked if the “era of supermodels” was over, what should we call the new great “it” girls?? There were no names mentioned, and NO ill intent involved. A supermodel is a supermodel. I respect and admire all these women in my industry, in particular Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Having been in the business over 20 years I know how hard these women work. Bravo to both Gigi and Kendall for their success!! @gigihadid @kendalljenner
[ via Vogue ]