You know when your mum used to say that personality was more important than beauty and you thought she was just consoling you? Well there's a whole new generation of fashion models that are proving her right. They've risen to the top of their game with less than conventional good looks by being unafraid to be themselves; no hiding behind the industry's blank-stare-pout. They're not running for Miss Congeniality, wishing everyone world peace. In fact, one of the faces of this new class of model is Binx Walton who Vogue has named fashion's favourite bad girl alongside fellow model BFF, Lexi Boling. It's their knack for keeping it real that has catapulted these girls to fame.
Hanne Gaby Odiele, Cara Delevingne, and Walton are some of today's top fashion models who exemplify this trend. None of them would be considered classic beauties, Delevingne's model sister Poppy would probably fit more into that category and Walton, whose real name is Leona Anastasia Walton, is nicknamed for her resemblance to Star Wars character, Jar Jar Binks. Yet these women are walking the most prestigious catwalks, winning coveted campaigns and even taking the top honours of collaborating with the brands they model for; Odiele and Walton have both scored shoe collaborations and Delevingne has designed a series of bags for Mulberry as well as a capsule collection for DKNY.
So what are the traits we think these girls possess that have made them the faces of high fashion?
Authenticity These girls have character and aren't afraid to show it on the runway, in front of the camera and off-duty. You see it in Odiele's fearless sense of personal style that has made her a hit with street style photographers worldwide. She was even asked to style herself for Dazed 100, the digital publication's guide on those who are redefining the future of style and youth culture. Walton's interests outside of modeling are skateboarding and playing soccer, lending a tomboyish athleticism to any brand she models for. Delevingne is the reigning queen of "character-fullness", a term designer Erdem used to describe her boundless energy and beauty. This could be just the edge needed to successfully transition from model to actress with no fewer than five films to be released in 2015.
So where models used to be paid and styled to disappear and appear chameleon-like on every job, the new school are getting booked soley on originality and personability.
Relatable Behind the scenes, in the press and on their social media, these girls look like they're having fun and aren't taking themselves too seriously. They're skateboarding to castings, making silly faces when asked for a photo and don't appear to be too concerned with all the glamour that surrounds their work. Their personal style is reflective of who they are and what they do and don't confine to the cookie cutter model look. They also have regular interests outside of fashion that we can relate to like playing a musical instrument, doing sports, battling on computer games. It's no wonder we feel like we can (and want to) hang out with these girls.
Open Social Habits Part of why we think we know them is because they share their lives unabashedly through their social media feeds. With posts that never look overly orchestrated, a good mix of modeling exploits and downtime fun, each has amassed a sizeable following.
The willingness to be unguarded is distinctive of this new class of model but it may not be entirely their choice. It's been reported that labels are refusing to consider models that don't have a fanbase of at least 10,000. It seems the newest vital stat has nothing to do with body size and all to do with social media digits for the marketing potential it has for brands.
We're not sure how we feel about the need for a model to have certain social media numbers but we definitely support the trend of popularity for personalities' sake. Being fearless and celebrating our own individuality is something we should all aspire to.