What is an Instagram Model?

Social media changed our lives so much we can hardly remember what it was like before we could use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. They permeated through all areas of life and the modeling market is one of them. Today, all you need is to become an Instagram model to become recognizable all over the world and sign contracts with famous brands.

The beauty of it is pretty much anyone can become an Instagram model. Forget about strict beauty standards that dictate what weight, height, and body measurements you’ve got to have to be a model. Quality visual content and a decent following are all you need.

Such is the magic of Instagram. The platform offers ample opportunity regardless of who you are. You can be a designer, a musician, a waiter, a life coach, or a housewife. Someone’s mom, someone’s husband, or a student can tell amazing stories about their lives.

And still, it seems like the most popular people on the platform are models and celebrities. Cara Delevingne has over 42 million followers. Gigi Hadid has 56 million followers. Kendall Jenner enjoys a huge following of 136 million. Can you imagine it? Kendall Jenner’s audience is as big as the entire population of Mexico plus 10 million.

What can you do? Fashion and beauty industries are probably the largest and fastest-growing on Instagram. IG models become the faces of the most popular brands. No wonder some experts compare them to supermodels from the 90s.

“So you are a model? What’s your agency, Instagram?” has become a running joke. But as we go forward and as social media keeps shaping the way we see things, it becomes less of a joke and more of a reality. Lots of IG models have long proved they can be no less successful than their offline counterparts. In fact, they are becoming beastly more successful.

But what does this relatively new social media phenomenon mean? What’s it like to be an IG model and is it really worth it? Well, that’s exactly what I am going to talk about here, so make yourself comfortable and read on.

What is an Instagram model?

Public Figure on Instagram
As the name suggests, an Instagram model is a person who got famous thanks to Instagram. They often work as influencers in their own niche and have thousands (sometimes millions) of followers. Brands often choose them to take part in their marketing campaigns and pay them hefty amounts of money for collaboration.

Thanks to the huge popularity of social media, IG models are often their own bosses. When there’s an opportunity to partner with brands directly, any intermediaries and agencies become unnecessary. Besides, brands become increasingly interested in looking for their models in social media. Why? Because of the social influence these models wield offers more than just extra income. It’s also about the credit of trust and increasing the number of potential customers.

Where did they come from?

It’s quite impossible to say now who became the very first Instagram model. It seems obvious, however, that this phenomenon comes from the celebrity culture of the 90s and has a lot in common with it. Celebs were all over the mass media than trying to be as relatable as possible. Now influencers turn their everyday lives into a colorful show and keep their audiences on the edge of their seat waiting for updates.

Maybe it all started with fashion blogs of the early 2000s run by teenagers like Tavi Gevinson or Jane Aldridge. It’s people like them who paved the way for future social media influencers by making a substantial contribution to the democratization of the fashion industry.

Who can be an Instagram model?

There are no specific restrictions dictating who can be an Ig model and who can’t. Those standards set by modeling agencies decades ago just don’t work anymore. If you are an influencer with a sizable following, chances are marketers will notice you and shower you with offers.

What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to be a young attractive girl to try yourself in IG modeling. More often than not, marketers look for more diverse models with unusual, out-of-the-box looks. Sure, you can still be very conventionally pretty and be a successful IG model. Or you can have tats and piercings all over your body, with your hair dyed in all possible and impossible colors and still be successful in this field. Because at the end of the day, it does not necessarily look that matters. It’s an original creative idea, charisma, vivid personality. And the number of followers, of course.

What are the requirements for being a model on Instagram?

Instagram model

What kind of criteria defines your success as an influencer? The number of likes, comments, and followers. Think of your Instagram popularity as your capital. Your profile becomes the basis to build it on and the main tool to make it grow.

It’s important that your profile has a lot of appeal to your audience. The way to design it and fill it with content is a kind of art really.

But what else do you need, apart from the pretty wrapping and quality content? Here are some things that make you stand out:

  • Unusual, conspicuous appearance;
  • An original creative idea and basic concept;
  • A working strategy;
  • Readiness to dedicate a lot of hard work and time to your profile growth.

It’s equally important to build a strategy of attracting new followers. Do keep in mind that attracting them organically is much more preferable to simply buying them. As soon as you have a decent number of followers, you’ll find marketers and other brand representatives knocking at your door.

Here’s one more thing. Being a good Instagram model also means being a good content creator. Sure, there is a difference between blogging and modeling. They will hardly expect you to generate deep philosophical content on an everyday basis. Still, your content must be engaging. It must make your followers comment and discuss and share it with others, after all.

Make sure you choose your niche. This will significantly increase your chances to get those coveted brand partnerships. It’s only logical that brands will look for fashion models among those who have asserted themselves as fashion experts.

Instagram model vs. Regular model

We live in a world where traditional media marketing declines and social media marketing skyrockets. People have little trust in TV commercials and newspaper ads. At the same time, they tend to trust people they call “influencers”. Social media personalities are seen as much more relatable, much more trustworthy than perfect goddesses looking down at you from billboards. As a result, they are much more likely to buy a product recommended by a “regular” person online than the one advertised by a photo model. As a rule, there are a few distinct criteria that differ one from the other:

1. Looks. Fashion and runway models have to meet strict requirements as to their size and overall appearance. IG models enjoy much more freedom in that regard.

2. Method of product advertising. IG influencers (good ones, at any rate) don’t so much advertise as recommend. They try the product, they share their thoughts and impressions, they offer genuine opinions. Regular models just lend their faces to one ad or another. You can’t really know how much they like the product or whether they use it at all.

3. Method of getting brand deals. An Instagram personality attracts the attention of potential business partners by building their online presence and increasing the number of followers. A regular model has to contact agencies and attend castings to get a job.

Instagram model vs. Celebrity

Both Instagram models and celebrities might have a large number of followers. So what’s the difference between the two? The main difference is where this following comes from.

While many celebs have multimillion followings and get those sweet brand deals, it’s not Instagram that made them famous. They got popular offline and have armies of fans in real life. Should they decide to leave the platform, they will still have those fans and the famousness.

It’s different for IG models. They depend on their following in a major way. It’s their audience that made them popular. It’s thanks to their following that they get partnership offers from brands.

As a result, Insta influencers tend to be much more careful about what kind of products and services they recommend.

Why trust the model?

Obviously, you shouldn’t trust just about anyone who calls themselves an Instagram model. As in any partnership, there are many important factors to consider before starting a collaboration.

But let’s say we are talking about an influencer with the authentic following, high-quality content, and genuine desire to share their honest opinions and impressions with their audience. Why should you trust them?

Because this authenticity and relatability that they can offer will easily convert into trust for your brand and increased sales. While many marketers still believe that IG users won’t be able to tell blatant advertising from a genuine recommendation, it’s far from the truth. Honest opinions make them trust an influencer and this trust extends to your brand and what it has to offer.

Should my business be marketing via an Instagram model?

The simple answer is yes, you should, in case you want to get access to wider audiences and raise your brand awareness. Just think about it: they have thousands of followers who excitedly wait for them to post content and are genuinely interested to know what they have to say.

Sure, this might prove to be not as effective as you expect if their following isn’t entirely authentic. Fake followers, bots, paid likes and comments have become a real issue. Luckily, there are ways to check just how influential and authentic an Instagram person is. For example, using services like trendHERO you can track numerous metrics for any IG influencer’s profile.

Collaborating with an IG model would make the most sense if your brand is offering products or services pertaining to fashion, beauty, health, or lifestyle industries.

It’s important to make sure that the person you want to partner with really tries your product and has time to form an opinion about it. In this case, their recommendations will be fair and sincere, which will make their followers trust them more. More trust means more interest in your brand. More interest means more new customers.

Famous Instagram models

1. Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid
Young Gigi conquered the modeling world by storm. Her career was lightning-like and now she has whopping 56 million followers and deals from fashion industry giants like Dolce & Gabbana.

2. Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne
English model Cara Delevingne often says she’s got no social media addiction but she managed to get over 44 million followers on IG. Everything she gets to post is always accepted with great enthusiasm, biggest brands offer her the best deals and Hollywood producers invite her to new projects.

3. Emily Ratajkowski
Emily Ratajkowski
Emily has been on the modeling scene ever since she was fourteen, so Instagram modeling is nothing new for her. That’s not the only thing she’s famous for. Young model showed up in several movies and was noticed in music videos. No wonder she’s got a hefty following of over 26 million.

4. Sommer Ray
Sommer Ray
Sommer Ray is a fitness model and one that can be called a true IG model because it’s here that she’s built her career. Quite a successful one, too, judging by her 25.3 million followers.

5. Jordyn Woods
Jordyn Woods
Beautiful Jordyn is another influencer who owes her tremendous career to Instagram. She has over 11 million followers and promotes her own sportswear brand.

Read also: Top 25 Instagram Models to Follow


Let’s face it: no matter how glamorous Instagram modeling might seem, it’s not that easy in reality. This is a job and it requires a lot of hard work. There can be hours of photo shooting, selecting, retouching behind each photo. There can be years of promoting and building your personal brand behind each brand deal. You just have to really love what you do to consider it as your career.

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