You Could Be an IMG Model Thanks to This Hashtag

Being discovered as a model used to be largely a matter of "right place, right time," but that's rapidly changing. We have officially entered the age where anyone with a cellphone camera and an Internet connection has a shot at fame. Major fashion brands such as Marc Jacobs, Guess, and DKNY have already used social media to cast runway shows and ad campaigns, but now a modeling agency is taking online scouting to a whole new level. IMG Models has launched We Love Your Genes, an Instagram account that allows "regular" girls the chance to be seen by agency scouts simply by taking a selfie and typing a hashtag.

We Love Your Genes launched in mid-December and has already gained 5,700 followers. Modeling hopefuls can post photographs to Instagram with the hashtag #WLYG to increase their chances of being seen by IMG scouts. And, so far, the tactic seems to be working. According to a blog post on the IMG website, the agency had already signed about a dozen new girls via the app by December 18th. That number is bound to be even higher now that We Love Your Genes is in full swing.

Jeni Rose, VP of scouting for IMG, told Fashionista via email, "Instagram allows us to see potential models' natural beauty in their everyday lives. They no longer have to spend lots of money on photo shoots or portfolios. Instead, they can come directly to us with simple smartphone snapshots and a lot of enthusiasm."

Of course the girls posting to the hashtag are mostly traditionally "model gorgeous," so it doesn't seem to be breaking the mold in the sense of increasing diversity. However, I do think using social media to scout for new talent could eventually lead to different (read: more realistic and inclusive) standards for the industry at large and that's definitely a good thing.