If you're active on social media, then you know that the phenomenon of being "Instagram-famous" is very real — especially when it comes to the world of modeling. Today, pretty girls with big personalities have their own platform for self promotion, which often leads to them getting discovered, or at the very least, being approached by brands for marketing partnerships. So, it only seems natural that the next wave of modeling agencies would scout girls not only based on their looks, but also on their social media followings, and the first one of its kind has just been established in a partnership between Galore and One Management.
Prince Chenoa and Jacob Dekat, the founders of Galore — a multimedia company and creative agency that produces a print magazine with editorials starring sexy bombshell-types — are known throughout the industry for their ability to find the "next big thing" organically, and they thought now was the perfect time to launch a new division of Galore, called Kitten, that would help support this new type of talent.
Described as "one part mother agency and one part marketing company," Kitten scouts talent and helps girls build and expand their brands. "We are moving towards a place where companies are going to be casting models based around what their personalities are, and what they represent, not just how they look," the founders told us. "Kitten is definitely about 'bombshells,' but it's also celebrating all of these girls who are creative and doing different things whether it be art, sports, or music."
Similarly, One Management has formed a new board called One.1K (for which Kitten serves as a mother agency, meaning that Chenoa and Dekat discover and help guide the models' careers) that supports the same type of talent. Among the first signees are Ashley Sky, a megababe with over 1 million Instagram followers, and pro-surfer Anastasia Ashley, whose following recently surpassed 570,000. It makes sense for the agency, whose founder Scott Lipps is also a social media pioneer: His Tumblr, called Poplipps, became so popular that it landed him a book deal.
The One.1K board not only includes each girl's headshot on her comp card, but also her follower counts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Lipps said that watching the career trajectory of One model Chloe Norgaard — who initially built a huge fanbase on Tumblr — got him thinking about the next wave of model management, since her following led to plenty of business opportunities. "We'd been brainstorming and wanted to be the first ones in the space, to be centralized," Lipps explained. "The division is devoted to beautiful girls with massive followings. We can capitalize on what's happening in pop culture, and help girls get great deals based on their followings."
Lipps said that the partnership with Chenoa and Dekat came naturally, as they have their fingers on the pulse of who is breaking, and are very connected in the digital space. "I've been super active on social media for a few years, and it's become an incredible marketing tool — that's when I started my blog, Poplipps, and I noticed girls were getting booked from it." Lipps said the initial response to the new board has been overwhelmingly positive, which is indicative of the direction in which the modeling industry is moving.
"It all stems back to the way the business is heading — brands want viral campaigns. American Vogue called the models on its September cover 'the Instagirls,'" Lipps said. "It's about managing and packaging the models the right way. But it's also about being the forward thinker in the beginning, we didn’t want to be the fifth agency to get involved."
Chenoa and Dekat agree that the future of modeling is moving away from waif-like girls (who are often indistinguishable to the mainstream audience) and more towards women who view themselves as their own personal brands. "It's not just about the scouting, it's being able to package all of these different models as their own media brands," they explained. "Models today aren't just the subject of the campaign, they are now also a huge part of promoting it."