Models are now curators of content, according to John Hooks
Models are more prominent than ever before, thanks to the rise — and rise — of personal branding on social media. As CEO of Pacific Global Management, Executive Chairman of Elite World, and Director of the Board at La Perla, John Hooks knows better than most. "Models these days have been transformed from insecure beauties to confident brand ambassadors — they embrace the disruptive possibilities of technology threatening the intermediary role of agencies," he said, at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference.
He attributes the shift in the balance of power from global brands to their brand ambassadors to the fact that as consumers get younger, they relate more to brand ambassadors nearer their own age.
"Models are going 'Insta-pendent' because although the focus is on content, it's even more on the ability to capture the consumer's attention. They have become curators with the ability to get that content seen, heard and read." "They are no longer solely a two-dimensional image on a page or a fleeting runway presence — they are in a vanguard of a great wave of change and can drive engagement through recommendations," he continued. "A post can get 1,000 Instagram likes on the brand page, compared to 1.2 million on the model's page," he says, giving the example of Kendall Jenner's brand power. So, does this mean that model agencies will become redundant? On the contrary, according to Russian model Sasha Luss, who is part of the 'Insta-pendent' generation.
Russian model Sasha Luss uses her 245,000 followers to push her brand
"We are more than just pretty faces and I'm happy that clients are able to see what we actually are in personality," she said, "but we need our agencies, as they are the people that look after us. When I was signed at 15, I didn't know how to walk, who the stylists or photographers were - because how would I? You don't think about it. My agency put so much effort into making me who I am now. Even now, my agency will call me and say, 'You didn't post a selfie for a week, what's happening?' They care, so there is no way we can do it without agencies, we need them."
To add to the point, Angelica Cheung noted that as they do grow from face and body to mind and voice, models will need more help, not less. "It's impossible for a professional girl to manage the whole business side of things herself, especially today with so many platforms. The models are content producers and doing that is already a lot," she said. "We are going to continue to exist, but we must transform ourselves," concluded Hook.
By Scarlett Conlon, reporting live from the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Seoul
John Hooks thinks we'll be hearing a lot more about Insta-pendence