Gigi Hadid: The Instagram supermodel who gave up on Twitter

The model might have quit Twitter, but here’s why it won’t impact her social media clout


Anamika Chatterjee

Published: Tue 8 Nov 2022, 4:12 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Nov 2022, 4:53 PM

Modelling had been in her genes. After all, Gigi Hadid’s mother Yolanda was a successful model in her own right who went on to capture more eyeballs when she appeared in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

No wonder then, when Gigi was all of two, she landed an assignment with Baby Guess. However, she shot to fame in 2014 when she made her debut at at the New York Fashion Week and came to be associated with brands such as Desigual and Tom Ford. Many covers in top glossies followed. A star was nearly born.

However, what sets Gigi Hadid and other models of her generation apart is the fact that their stardom also coincided with the rise and rise of social media. While many of their successful predecessors relied on the ramp and magazine covers to make their presence felt, models like Gigi have truly harnessed the power of social media to turn their stardom into superstardom. Something that has earned the likes of Gigi the moniker of Instagram supermodel. Which perhaps explains why the news of her quitting Twitter, which she believes would become “cesspool of hate and bigotry”, following Elon Musk’s takeover, is a news many are coming to grips with.

Will it impact her celebrity? After all, losing 10 million followers on a social platform is no joke. But here are some reasons why it may not make much of a difference.

1. Insta Queen

Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Twitter is a suitable platform to gauge the zeitgeist, start and participate in important conversations or setting the record straight. But for those in the business of fashion, a more visual platform like Instagram makes the stakes get higher. And this is where Gigi scores really high. At the time of writing this article, she commands a robust following of 76.2 million on Instagram. This, combined with the might of 5.6 million likes on her official Facebook page and 934,000 followers on TikTok means that she is assured a robust space in the social media universe.

2. It’s All In The Family

Together with her younger siblings Bella and Anwar — both models — the Hadids are often regarded as the first family of fashion. Glimpses of which are often spotted on their respective social media channels as well. Remember that moment when she posted a stunning picture of Bella in black and white? Or when Bella lovingly posted an uber glam image of both while wishing big sis on her birthday? While it’s not uncommon to routinely make special appearances on a sibling’s Insta account, together Gigi and Bella enjoy social media clout which has close to 133 million followers. And that’s not including brother Anwar Hadid who has 5.9 million followers on Instagram or mum Yolanda who has 3.9 million followers.

3. Friends in need are friends indeed

When you are a celebrity, you are less likely to be short of friends. Gigi, for one, isn’t. Her closest pals have been Kendall Jenner and Taylor Swift, both celebrities who mark their presence on social media rather prominently with the following of 263 million and 230 million respectively. In a culture that remains curious about how celebrities are in real life, gazes are always fixed at celebrity social media handles to catch a glimpse of the moments that might just make their way to the Insta stories. Thankfully, Gigi never disappoints.

4. Love and longing on Instagram

This is a generation that doesn’t mind wearing its heart on its sleeve… or social media. Gigi does so proudly and unapologetically, which only makes her real. This Father’s Day, for instance, she posted a tribute to her own father while also giving a shout out to “Khai’s baba” Zayn Malik. Khai is Gigi and Zayn’s daughter. Ever since they split last year, the couple has refrained from posting anything personal. But prior to that, their respective Instagram handles were a treat to fans who could spot images of both truly, madly, deeply in love. In fact, the couple had confirmed their romance with a black-and-white photo on Instagram. Rumours are now rife that she is dating Leonardo di Caprio, but no signs yet of that on her Instagram.

5. The rules of the game have changed

Not too long ago, Rebecca Romjin, best known for her role as Mystique in X-Men had said back in the day, models of her generation had to really earn their stripes and that the culture of social media supermodels was making things too easy for young girls. “No one has proven yet that numbers of followers translates to revenue. So it is frustrating. I know a lot of people — legitimate fashion people — can’t stand it. Hate it that these social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion. They are not true supermodels,” she is believed to have said. In response, Gigi once said that social media has only helped bust the dumb model stereotype. Besides, fashion — both high fashion and high street fashion — cannot afford to be elusive anymore. A robust social media following on a model’s page means that the brand they have liaised with can find exposure too. And Instagram is where these collaborations are being played out.

6. Looking beyond me and myself

Before we scoff at a supermodel for having considerable following on Instagram, let’s examine the possibilities it opens up for them. Last year, Gigi was driving on the streets of New York City when she spotted model Nanga Awasum. Taking a quick picture of her, the supermodel gushed about Nanga’s sense of style on her Instagram stories, saying, “Shoutout to my NYC inspiration of the day: This queen.” That single story and an exchange on Twitter changed Nanga’s life. From being turned down by many modelling agencies, she suddenly found agencies contacting her for new projects. But what was more heartening was the fact that her single story did volumes for Nanga’s self-belief. “I've been told I was ugly, I've been turned down by so many agencies, I've been turned down by so many jobs and just to have someone like her see me and tell me that I was pretty and tell me I was major, it changed the trajectory of my month,” she reportedly told E! News.

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