Even though the swimsuit edition only comes out once a year, it’s still a career-changer for the models who appear in the highly anticipated issue.
But while models of the past simply appeared in the magazine and maybe signed some autographs, today they are expected to interact with fans on a whole new level thanks to social media.
Many models now have social media strategies that have gotten them thousands of new followers a day.
Six of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition models weigh in on how Instagram has changed the modelling industry below:
1. Cover star Hannah Davis
Instagram Followers: 157,000
“When I came up, you didn’t share as much and social media wasn’t as important,” Davis said on MSNBC Tuesday morning. “So now I think that pictures you post to Instagram and Twitter and all that is really important. People want to get to know the model now, and you’re able to.”
2. Model irina Shayk
Instagram Followers: 2.4 million
“I do post work stuff to Instagram, of course, because I have to,” Shayk told Business Insider Tuesday at Sports Illustrated’s fan festival “Swim City” in Herald Square. “I also post food stuff, because I love to eat, even though people think models don’t eat. I love to post things that I do during the day, you have to show a little piece of your life.”
She added: “People think we sleep in high heels with makeup on, and our hair done, but that’s not true so you have to send the right message that we’re just regular girls.”
3. Model Jessica Gomes
Instagram Followers: 143,000
“I think social media really helps us to interact with our fans on a personal level, it’s nice,” Gomes told us at SI’s fan event on Tuesday. “I see Instagram as my mood board. When I look at my Instagram I like everything to look pretty, I like everything to flow from an artistic point of view. But I love that I get to promote my work on there and get to reach out to my fans.”
“Sometimes I’ll read the comments and reply to some of them if I feel like it’s right to,” added Gomes. “If the comments are positive, I’m really willing to reply back to that.”
But, says the eight-time SI model, “For me, social media is a business. I don’t like to share my private life on social media I prefer to keep that private. But I’m happy to share my work, I love what I do. I’m a swimsuit model, so I’m happy to embrace that.”
This week in particular is good for gaining followers on social media, says Gomes.
“I feel like every time the magazine launch comes around, afterward I gain so many followers. I’ve gained ike 4,000 in one day, it’s really crazy! We have so much exposure around the launch and so much PR around it.”
4. Model Kate Bock
Instagram Foll lowers: 77.7k
“Social media is so much more important now. When fans have the chance to meet you now, they feel like they have been following your life a little bit and kind of know you. It’s so much more exciting than being someone who’s totally unattainable. It keeps everyone feeling like we’re all in the same boat.”
Bock, like the other models, tells us: “I’m travelling and on jobs a lot, so a lot of my posts are about work, but I’m pretty open with it.”
5. Model Hannah Ferguson
Instagram Followers: 72.1k
“Everyone is on Instagram and it’s so easy to find and follow them,,” Ferguson tells Business Insider. “It definitely has changed a lot of things with a model’s career. When I started last year, I had just gotten on Instagram and my agent was like ‘How many followers do you have?’ Because there’s a client who wanted girls who had 30,000 or more followers and if she had less than that he didn’t even want to see their information for the possibility of getting a job. Instagram is so important in the modelling world these days.”
Ferguson adds: “I like to take some silly pictures, but I try to balance it out with my work pictures. I do get some advice from agents or PR people. They told me I need to step it up! They know how important it is these days so they’re just trying to help me out. I like to interact with my fans so I’ve started posting questions and stuff. I think it’s nice to give them a moment of my times. I occasionally respond to comments if something catches my eye.”
Surrounding the magazine’s Monday release, the model says she has gained “like 7,000 or 8,000 followers within the last few days.”
6. “Rookie” Model Kelly Rohrbach
Instagram Followers: 16.2k
“Modelling has 100% changed with the rise of social media,” Rohrbach tells us. “Social media is a great way to take the girl off the page and make her a real person. I think it’s an amazing tool and so many girls are so good at it. I kind of suck at it to be honest, but it can be a lot of fun.”
“I think I got like 5,000 more followers this week,” adds the model-actress. “But I’m working with low numbers.”
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