Model scouts used to trawl for talent at Eastern European malls. These days, however, it seems they're looking to the political stage.
While Kamala Harris was undoubtedly the big history-maker at this year's swearing-in ceremony in DC, and Dr. Jill Biden made her stunning debut as the country's newest First Lady, the breakout stars of the inauguration turned out to be the VP's stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, and powerful young poet Amanda Gorman. Both young women stole the spotlight with their respective looks designed by Miuccia Prada - Emhoff in Miu Miu and Gorman in the namesake house - and though their statements extend far beyond clothing, the fashion world couldn't help but take notice.
This week, IMG, the world-renowned agency that represents the likes of Karlie Kloss, Ashley Graham, Cara Delevingne, and Bella and Gigi Hadid, has tapped both of the inaugural influencers for contracts. The move undoubtedly signifies a shift towards Gen Z, who tend to value social, political, and environmental awareness when it comes to the brands and celebrities they engage with.
Gorman, 22, became the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 and is the founder of One Pen One Page, an organization providing free creative writing programs for underserved youth. According to Business of Fashion, "she'll be represented by the modelling agency for brand endorsements and other fashion-adjacent opportunities."
When Gigi Hadid heard the news, she congratulated Gorman on her Insta stories, writing, "Werk @amandasgorman @imgmodels faaaaam! Major."
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Amanda Gorman (@amandascgorman)
For 21-year-old Emhoff, the Brooklyn-based Second Daughter, the decision to work with IMG reflects her own interest in the fashion world, albeit on the more artsy, design side. The Parsons student is currently studying textile design with a focus in knitwear, and certainly boasts her own unique style.
"I was pretty surprised when everything with IMG was happening because when I was younger, I never saw that as being part of my timeline," she told the New York Times. "As someone who, like a lot of young girls out there, had self-confidence issues, it is intimidating and scary to go into this world that is hyper-focused on you and the body." But with the modeling industry now embracing diversity on every front, Emhoff says she hopes to be "part of that change" as a creative with "really weird tattoos and kind of a funky haircut."
View this post on InstagramA post shared by ella emhoff (@ellaemhoff)