Let me begin by saying that I am not the first person to speak about nepotism in an sseditorial. No-no. Last month, I read this Nepotism in Fashion article. It was a fun read, but mostly because it confirmed a few of my beliefs about the connection between fashion and nepotism. Earlier this year, I gave my thoughts on what a model had to do to achieve supermodel status. In short, the answer is to work hard. But that definition and roadmap to success may have changed. The original supermodels have had babies, and now those babies run rampant in the fashion industry. The high fashion girls are mad about it.
One of the reasons I hang back and watch the nepotism attempt to thrive in fashion is because of how well it has done in the film and tv industry. Let’s take a quick rain check. Jennifer Aniston – is fantastic. Angelina Jolie – great. Kate Hudson – great. Scott Eastwood – great. John Washington – great. Dakota Johnson – great. The film and tv industry is overrun with nepotism. From being the son of an actor to the daughter of a director, there is no shortage of nepotism babies (“NBs”). However, one of the apparent differences between modelling and film and tv is that the film and tv NBs are great. It’s shaky ground to say that NBs in fashion are in the same league as their drama counterparts.
I keep hoping that Naomi Campbell or Gisele’s daughters will save the industry one day, but let kids be kids!
This month, top model Vittoria Ceretti shared her views on nepotism in fashion. In short, she explained why she is not a big fan of how children of stars get treated over those in the industry who have had to go to great lengths to prove themselves. In every social scene, there is favouritism. That favouritism gets you places without needing to prove your identity. Vittoria is often still passed over for models who work less, but have more prominent family names. It is painful to watch your career stunted because someone less talented has a more extensive reach. The same thing happens in film, but the difference is it is clear who the good and bad actors are. As mentioned, modelling is taken at face value, so it’s easy to see the frustration build up.
A while back, Anna Wintour attended an event and didn’t bring any identification. She was stopped at the door because (I am assuming) the lady didn’t know who Anna was. Anna looked puzzled at the entire situation. Eventually, someone else came and let Anna into the building, and Anna made a joke out of the problem. The girl faced ridicule because “How can you not know who Anna is?” But no – not quite. Firstly, she was doing her job as a security guard. Only some people know who you are. The video physically represents what it’s like to watch NBs get booked before you, even if you’re more talented.
Models need to go on go-sees. Go-sees are effectively auditions to book runway jobs. Go-sees can take hours, and often, they will have multiple go-sees in one day. The most successful models plan their days early to quickly get in and out of jobs to see as many casting directors as possible. Once they begin to make a name for themselves in the fashion industry, the waiting time decreases. People know who they are and begin to book them without auditions. The main benefit is that models have fewer go-sees in one day, increasing their chances of securing more jobs for fashion week. More jobs means more money. Models typically have to work for four years before receiving this treatment. Case in point – Vittoria Ceretti.
Four years is a very long time. Imagine if an actress books a runway show because of who her parents are. No queuing at go-sees and doesn’t view it as a privilege? That would be frustrating, especially because nepotism’s benefits are unfair at its root. No matter how many parents set high bars for their children, no loving parent would see their child through hardship. The bank of Mummy and Daddy exists. That’s not to take away from anyone’s talent because, as exemplified earlier, acting NBs are brilliant. But modelling is slightly different to drama.
High Fashion Girls
Modelling is a harsher environment than drama because everything is taken at face value. For example, models rarely put products in their hair during fashion week because it will give the stylists more work. Models are there to be a muse, the object of someone else’s fantasies. They’re not there to share opinions but to be a vessel for creativity. If they do not fit the look, they don’t get booked. Modelling is cut-through, especially when you’ve travelled worldwide and have no money or way to speak to your family.
Too short. Too tall. Have a scar on your face. The hair texture is too coily. Eyebrows are too thin. Too dark (colourism). An extra inch on your waist. These impossibly ridiculous reasons are enough not to get casting callbacks. 5-10 years ago, it was brutal! It’s why I champion and actively look for inclusion and diversity on runway shows. It presents the idea of progression.
Nepotism in fashion is underwhelming. To have a mother as a supermodel should make modelling that much sweeter. For example, Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, received top modelling advice from Naomi Campbell. Naomi went over what shows Kaia should and shouldn’t do as a new breakout star, which helped her craft her career. Is Kaia a supermodel, though?
There are no true stars in modelling right now. Well, there is one. And I genuinely mean one. Miss Bella Hadid.
I will explain why Bella is a contender for the supermodel status, but not today.
Nepotism & High Fashion Girls
Understanding nepotism and using it to provide equity is today’s social status. We all benefit from our talents in one way or another. People find you pretty, funny, wealthy, famous and intelligent open doors. A few years ago, another model who benefits from nepotism said that even though she was the highest-paid model, she cherry-picks her jobs and could never do 30 shows in one season. Most models could never have this perspective when it comes to modelling. They’d be out of a career because of the sheer competition.
The future is for those who help others and not those that hide behind privilege and pretend it doesn’t exist. Moreover, the horror of acting one doesn’t truly benefit from it.
Sama is the Editor in Chief of SSEDITORIAL Magazine. She currently oversees the creative direction of the magazine after ending her role as Runway Director to develop the SSEDITORIAL RUNWAY division. When Sama is not leading the team. She likes to contribute, primarily to the high fashion section of the magazine.