Cindy Crawford has decades of experience as a top model in fashion. Naturally, she taught her daughter, Kaia Gerber, everything she knows. However due to the evolution of the industry, there’s some areas Gerber has had to navigate on her own. Namely, building a personal brand on the internet.
“[Social media] was something that my mom couldn’t really teach me,” Gerber told the audience at Vogue‘s Forces of Fashion conference. “We were learning it together, especially starting in an industry that was so heavily influenced by social media, when that didn’t exist when she was doing it.”
Overall, she thinks social media has not just benefitted models and the industry, but also her followers. In Crawford’s day, people were only exposed to images of models in ads and magazines, with professional hair and makeup. But now, models are giving their followers a much more realistic view of their lives. “You see us from the second we wake up until we go to sleep and you’re not just seeing us all done up. I think that is really nice to realize that you’re not always looking like you look on the cover of Vogue.”
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Of course, it’s not without its drawbacks. “Even if you’re not a model in the traditional sense, everyone’s a model. Being a 16-year-old girl is not what it was before,” she continued. “Your pictures are still out for the world every single day. It is something that I think is very new and difficult to navigate. It definitely was for me.”
Crawford also recognizes how social media has changed not only the scope of modeling, but how it is perceived as a profession. “I don’t think my generation grew up wanting to be models. You didn’t even really think that it was a real job. Then it was the supermodel moment,” she said. “Then everyone not only could be a model, but they were a model in their everyday life. There isn’t a 12-year-old that doesn’t know how to take a great selfie and how to retouch it perfectly. So when people would say, ‘Well, how could you let Kaia start modeling?’ I’m like, every young person is modeling in their own life.”
That said, both acknowledge that social media has intensified how we view ourselves. Possibly more so for those who live in the public eye. “I do think having more followers and more eyes on you has sometimes felt like a lot of pressure for Kaia,” Crawford mentions. “Sometimes she’ll want to just post something silly or funny and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Okay, does this fit my image?’ As you were saying, it’s been a great tool, but it also sometimes feels like pressure.”