Everything That's Been Said in the Great Supermodel Debate of 2016
Are Gigi and Kendall "supermodels"? The answer, it seems, is not so clear
Not everyone agrees.
Specifically, not all the supermodels of decades past. More and more of them have been speaking out about Kendall and Gigi (and the whole crop of models who moonlight as social media sensations) — and whether or not they think they’re legitimate players in the biz.
Here’s everything that’s gone down so far.
First, Rebecca Romijn seemed to throw down the gauntlet in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying that “legitimate fashion people” hate the rise of the social media star model hybrid. Specifically, Hadid and Jenner were mentioned in ET’s question, which asked Romijn about her “thoughts” on the newest generation of models.
Her thoughts? Well, it seems she’s not a fan of the crossover of social media stardom and success in the modeling industry.
“No one has proven yet that numbers of followers translates to revenue,” she said. “So it is frustrating. I know a lot of people – legitimate fashion people – can’t stand it. Hate it that these, you know, social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion.” Then, she went on to make a pretty blunt statement: “They are not true supermodels.”
Romijn kept going from there, calling out Vogue for following the pack, so to speak, when it comes to the new generation of models.
“And the thing is, I have always looked to Vogue magazine to lead the way, not be a follower,” she continued. “I rely on Vogue to set the standard, not follow what everybody else is doing. So I have been disappointed that fashion magazines have been supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards. But it will change; fashion always does.”
After Romijn’s statements started to cause a stir, she took to Twitter to clarify.
But Romijn’s tweet didn’t stop Hadid’s mom, Yolanda Hadid, from sending out a few tweets to support them.
To which Romijn replied:
Kendall and Gigi, on the other hand, kept quiet throughout the whole ordeal.
Think things seemed settled? Not so. More models came out of the woodwork to comment on the tiff between Romijn, Jenner and Hadid.
Miranda Kerr said Romijn’s comments were “not very nice.”
“They work hard like everyone else,” she told the New York Daily News.
Cindy Crawford also placed herself in the pro-KenGi camp, telling PeopleStyle she admires the KenGi generation of models.
“I don’t understand why it would be debated. To me when your name breaks out of just the fashion world and other people are aware of you, that is what ‘supermodel’ has come to mean. I don’t differentiate between supermodel now and supermodel then,” she shared. “Modeling is modeling. It’s the same if you’re doing catalog or if you’re doing Vogue. The experience of being in front of the camera really isn’t that different. Certainly I think social media is a great tool for this generation to promote themselves and get their message out.”
Fellow modeling vet Carolyn Murphy says that being active on social media is simply a responsibility of the younger generation of models.
“I just got reprimanded last week for not Instagramming enough,” she told Cosmopolitan. “And I thought that seniority ruled. I thought, Well, if I’m almost 43, isn’t that Kendall Jenner’s job?”
Amber Valetta is also on #TeamKenGi.
“These girls are really smart and clever, and they figured out how to be brands,” she said.
However, Romijn isn’t the only one to express some negative thoughts about Jenner and Hadid’s generation of models.
Supermodel Stephanie Seymour told Vanity Fair that Kendall and Gigi are “completely different than we were.”
“Supermodels are sort of the thing of the past,” she said. “They deserve their own title. [Kendall and Gigi] are beautiful girls, and I support all of them, but they need their own title.”
It was when Seymour asked what KenGi’s new title should be that things got a little dicey.
“Bitches of the moment!” she said (with a laugh). “That would be a good title for them.”
It was Seymour’s comments that finally prompted Jenner to speak out and defend herself — on her website and app, of course.
Jenner said she had looked up to Seymour (note: past tense was used) and that she was sure Seymour didn’t think about someone “publicly shaming” her own daughter when she called Jenner and Hadid “bitches of the moment.”
“If you’re going to tell us not to be in “your moment,” then don’t be in mine!” she wrote. “This moment is all about being supportive– NOT cyberbullying. But, if you choose to be a cyberbully, I’m going to stick up for myself.”
“Being a “supermodel” is a relative term,” Jenner continued. “If people want to call Gigi and I supermodels now, it doesn’t take anything away from supermodels of the past. Obviously, I have so much respect for those women, but right now, we’re the models of this time. Significant? Maybe. Hardworking? For sure.”
Jenner went onto vow that she’ll work to build up models who are breaking into the industry when she’s older — and thank the older models who have done the same for her.
She tweeted out a link to the post, and Hadid responded with a heart and two “hang ten” emojis.
Because sometimes, emojis say what words can’t.
Most recently, Seymour herself took to Instagram to apologize for her remarks, which says were taken out of context.
“I don’t usually address rumors, but since feelings have been hurt I would like to set the story straight,” she wrote. “At an event last week I was jokingly asked if the “era of supermodels” was over, what should we call the new great “it” girls?? There were no names mentioned, and NO ill intent involved. A supermodel is a supermodel. I respect and admire all these women in my industry, in particular Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Having been in the business over 20 years I know how hard these women work. Bravo to both Gigi and Kendall for their success!!”
RELATED PHOTOS: Stephanie Seymour Apologizes to Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid After Comments She Made to Vanity Fair
Ah, peace at last.
Well, not quite.
Top model queen Tyra Banks chimed in in an essay on her website, saying that she understood her fellow OG supermodels’ frustration — they rose to fame in an era without the convenience of cell phones and social media, and she said it can be hard to watch younger models rise the ranks so quickly.
“We worked runways and shot magazine spreads together, schlepped to countless go-sees, used pay phones for on-the-go communication, and subways for transportation around the globe – no cell phones, Ubers or Lyfts around,” she said. “Our GPS were huge, awkward maps in Italian and French that we pulled out when lost and scared…We witness young girls on reality shows and super popular girls on social media now being called Supermodels and think, ‘WHAT?! It’s not fair! Is that kind of success even real?'”
But she then went on to discuss how times change — and that all sorts of “supermodels” should come together and appreciate one another’s differences.
“And we must open our arms even wider,” she said. “The modeling industry is no longer an exclusive, unattainable club that few can access. Anyone can be a model! If you have social media accounts, you can pose and post away, build your followers and make cold hard money all while having lots of fun. The modeling world is now a democracy and we need to celebrate it, lean into it.”
And that’s the where this story ends — for now.
The talk started to die down after that (because Tyra, naturally, should have the last word). That is, until the days before the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which Hadid and Jenner will be walking in for the second year, and Hadid’s sister Bella, another “Instagirl,” for the first.
Model of the moment Hailey Baldwin chimed in, saying that her generation isn’t trying to rewrite the past — or that many don’t consider themselves “supermodels” at all.
“The older supermodels sometimes don’t agree with the fact there is a new generation of models,” she said. “We’re not saying we’re supermodels. I’d rather people look at us as business people, and, yes, modeling is our business right now, but we’re not trying to take anybody’s spot and we’re not trying to discredit the past.”
A few weeks later, iconic supermodel Linda Evangelista spoke out in support of the new class of supermodels.
“They can give me advice,” Evangelista told PeopleStyle. “They’re so fabulous, they’ve got the world in their hands. They’re so aware and so in control — they’re just so fabulous.”
Fellow Victoria’s Secret model — and Angel for a record-setting 16 years — Adriana Lima is also a fan. She stood up for Jenner specifically, praising her work ethic.
“You know, she works as hard as we do, so I give her credit for all the effort,” the model added. “And I think she is going to do great because Victoria’s Secret is all about personality, and she has her own personality.”
And that’s the where this story ends — for now.
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