Dear Magazines: It's Time to Chill Out About Models' Social Media Presences

The madness ends here.
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Eliza Brooke
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The madness ends here.
Photos: GQ UK and W

Photos: GQ UK and W

Dear magazines,

I'd like to say, first of all, that I'm a big fan. Have been since I was a wee preteen and still am.

I also think it's wonderful that you're featuring models on your covers in addition to the usual Blakes and Jennifers and Nicoles, with what seems to be greater frequency. As someone who used to blow off doing school work by watching Fashion TV's "Model Talks" segments on YouTube, gobbling them up one after the other, I love seeing these young women getting their moment in the spotlight. 

But you've seriously got to stop making such a big deal of their social media presences. For September, we've got W declaring Gigi Hadid "The World's Most Connected Supermodel," while GQ UK proclaims of Emily Ratajkowski: "Instagram's It-Girl Seduces Hollywood." In March, Adweek dedicated an entire cover story to analyzing the rise of "Social Supermodels," fronted, again, by Hadid. And then there's Vogue, which put nine models on its September cover last year, dubbing them "The Instagirls!"

So I'd like to put in a small request to end the madness and find a way to bill cover models other than "social." Because the thing is: a) it's getting old, and b) of course they're social models. We're a social people. I'm a social reporter. Roughly 95 percent of my pitches are based on things and people I found while spelunking deep in the bowels of Instagram. Brands are social brands — on quarterly earnings calls, some CEOs have started noting their year-over-year growth in followers. For a second it seems hilarious, like your dad getting hip to Facebook, but the fact is, this is just the fabric of our reality. Fire away, executive dude!

Photo: Vogue/Adweek

Photo: Vogue/Adweek

I'm not saying it's not worth investigating how social media has changed the modeling industry, nor do I think we should stop looking into it, having established that tools like Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter have given these young people a space to project their voices and cultivate fan followings. After the megamodels of the '80s and '90s, runways in the early 'aughts were awash with young women who were treated as essentially interchangeable. It wasn't so easy to create a digital identity for oneself then, but with Instagram and Twitter, everybody can be a somebody. And technology is only going to keep changing, as are the ways that we use it. So the conversation will never really be done.

I also know that not all of you are doing this (#notallmagazines): Karlie Kloss just landed two September coversFlare and Glamour, and neither of them mention her social presence in the tagline. But for the rest of y'all... cool it. My bet is there's something distinguishing about each of these ladies that would hook newsstand browsers just as well, if not better, than rehashing their social media power.

Please and thank you,

Eliza