Entertainment Fashion Media

The 21st Century Definition of “Supermodel”

Do we need to rethink our definition of modern "models"?

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin- all three are names impossible to not recognize, faces not to recall. On all forms of social media possible – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram – one can’t scroll past for more than a minute without having these recently raging models pop up on their screen. They’ve starred on the covers of well-respected magazines such as Vogue, opened and closed the runways of brands worth millions of dollars, like Chanel and Calvin Klein, rising to success after what seems like a mere week.

However, a “prank” (more like a borderline assault) on Gigi Hadid called into question the legitimacy of their sensation. On September 22, 2016, former Ukrainian television reporter and infamous celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk grabbed Gigi Hadid from behind and lifted her into the air, before being elbowed in the face and running off. Not long after the incident, Sediuk replied in a response to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that while he considered Gigi Hadid beautiful, “she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion”. He instead wanted the fashion industry to use “true talents” rather than “well-connected cute girls from Instagram.” He additionally titled his actions as “a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well respected magazine”.

This isn’t the first time the validity of today’s models careers have been called into question. Earlier, in April 2016, former model Rebecca Romijn called the new generation of models “not true supermodels,” saying that she was “disappointed that fashion magazines” such as Vogue were “supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards”. Also, in June 2016, Stephanie Seymour, one of the six most iconic models of the 90s, claimed that Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid did not deserve the title of supermodels and instead were “b*tches of the moment”. Many have criticized modern-day models for having it easier, with the ability and comfort of rising to fame by snapping a few stunning selfies in their luxurious homes, while those like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell had to rush between shows, putting in hours of networking and working before landing a gig with a brand.

However, while these models may have not had to go through the same struggles of the models of the past, one can’t deny that their long, lithe figures and steady gazes contain the same allure that Gisele Bündchen held in the early 2000s. As social media platforms are clearly beginning to hold larger and larger roles in the determination of popularity of models, is it really the models to blame? Or society’s growing focus on simply what the media puts out for us?

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: TODAY News

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