FMA Winner: Taylor Hill, Model of the Year, Social Media

by Eddie Roche

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IMG model Taylor Hill enjoyed a major milestone this summer—she hit the million-followers mark on Instagram. Did the 19-year-old Illinois native do anything to celebrate?

Why is social media important to you?
Because of the possibilities it gives me as a model. I have more of a voice, and it shows more sides of me than before. You are perceived by how you look, but with social media you can say what you want and show your life. People can connect to you in a way that they couldn’t before.
You reached 1 million followers on Instagram this summer. What was that like?
I didn’t know what to think—I was a little shocked. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly! It exploded out of nowhere.
Did you celebrate?
No, but it’s something to be excited about it, because it shows my hard work and my progress. I was grateful.
How long have you been on Instagram?
About three years. I was young when it first came out, but I couldn’t get it because I didn’t have an iPhone at the time. I finally got one! I’m a bit of a tech nerd.
Do tell!
I love technology and computers. I want to take classes for video editing and make my own videos. I used to do a YouTube channel with my sisters. My older sister is a photographer, and she’d make the videos. The shows were about the travels in my modeling career. Not a lot of people get to see what it’s really like. Reality shows make it more dramatic than what it is, or they sell people on the negative of what the fashion industry is going to be like. It would be cool for people to see a clear perspective of what it’s like to be a model, and the only way to do that is to do it yourself.
Who do you follow?
Everyone—friends from my hometown to people I look up to. I follow photographers who I think are really cool, like Mario Testino. He’s like a little teddy bear. How could you not? I don’t follow a lot of people. Some people follow 500 or so, but who has the time to scroll through all that? I limit my feed to what I want to see. I don’t like to follow people I don’t know, unless it’s a celebrity like Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez.
What’s your favorite emoji?
The smiley face emoji with the blushy cheeks. He looks really happy. I love the monkeys, too!
Which social media platform do you spend the most time on?
Instagram and Snapchat, because they’re visual. I like to follow my friends on Snapchat to see their stories and find out where they are. It makes me miss them more, but I still feel like we’ll have something to talk about when I see them again.
How do you like Snapchat?
I’ll Snapchat when I have something fun going on, but it’s something you have to always be aware of and think about, which I don’t like. I want to be aware of what’s happening naturally in my life. I don’t want to be the person who picks up the phone and has to video everything. I only do it when there’s time!
Do you read the comments people leave on your Instagram posts?
No. I used to when I was younger and not as big, because it was mostly positive, but I read them a few months ago and swore off them.
How much time do you spend online?
It depends—I do a lot of stuff online, like my banking and e-mail. I watch a lot of Netflix when I’m not working. I’m watching Season 5 of The Office and I’m obsessed. I like to watch things that make me laugh, like Friends.
Does anything annoy you about social media?
I wouldn’t use the word “annoy,” because that’s a mean word, but I get a little confused about it. What do you Instagram and what don’t you? When do you do it and when do you not? The line between real life and the Internet is a bit blurry.
What do you keep private?
I’m actually a private person. There are things that you’d naturally never put on the Internet, like naked pictures or where I live. That’s a given!
What have you been up to this summer?
I went to Rome with all the Victoria’s Secret Angels for the holiday commercials, which was pretty awesome. It felt like camp to be with all my friends. I also went to Laguna Beach in California for a few days with my boyfriend, and we stayed at the St. Regis.
Are you in New York a lot?
I’m here for two weeks at a time out of the month. I travel so much. Sometimes I feel like I’m never here, and when I come here it feels like I never left. It’s a very strange world!
Does your dog travel with you?
Domestically, and when I travel internationally my boyfriend takes care of him. He’s a miniature Labradoodle named Tate.
Does he like Tate’s Cookies?
My mom actually bought me some with a sweatshirt that said, “It’s a Tate thing.” I would give him a few, but I don’t want him to get sick from the sugar and chocolate.
Who are your model besties?
All the VS girls, because we work together all the time!
What do you like the most about being a model?
I love meeting people and traveling. The whole experience in the industry is exciting, because it all has so much to offer. Because I started out as a model doesn’t mean I have to retire as a model. These days, modeling gives you a platform and you can mold into other things.
What do your parents do for a living?
My dad is a natural gas engineer, and my mom raised four kids.
What’s next for you?
I’d like to start a brand or a charity. I’ve always wanted to help people and make the world a better place. I might also work with UNICEF. I still have time to figure all that out!

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