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5 (Role) Models Who Are Worth The Follow

In the day and age of intimate social media access, models have become an even hotter commodity than they were as unreachable glamazons. While some use their accounts to garner likes by posting selfies, others have taken advantage of the platform to further their advocacies. With so many young people claiming they want to be a model, here are five role models that not only are successful in fashion, but that we think are setting a wonderful example for humanity as a whole.


Karlie Kloss, IG: @karliekloss


The 25-year old Victoria’s Secret alum is a tower of power in more ways than one. Standing six feet and two inches, Karlie Kloss has changed the face of modeling by using her fashion-fueled fame to launch Kode with Klossy, a program she started that: “hosts girls’ coding summer camps, awards career scholarships to young women developers and helps create a national community changing the role of girls and women in tech.” Kloss was recently the cover story feature of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 issue, where we learned that the supermodel not only invested seven figures into Kode with Klossy, but worked out a way for the brands she endorses to forward funding to the project as well. To boot, Karlie also shoots for and manages her own YouTube channel, and has a cookie brand on the market—a collaboration with pastry chef Christina Tosi. Word on the streets is that she’s figured out how to program a drone…that will deliver you cookies.


Cameron Russell, IG @cameronrussell


As the accusations of sexual harassment tore through Hollywood like a forest fire, Model Mafia founder Cameron Russell took to her Instagram account to create a safe haven for assault victims in the fashion industry. As stories poured into her direct messaging inbox, Russell shared them with the world, taking care to obscure names, but going full force in holding people in the industry accountable. This is not the first sign of activism from the Columbia University graduate. Cameron spoke at the United Nations conference on climate change in 2015, and continues to be vocal about equality issues that deal with gender and race. The Vogue Paris covergirl, Victoria’s Secret Angel, and Prada campaign face is no ordinary mannequin.


Petra Nemcová, IG @pnemcova


For those in the fashion world that remember the tragic tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004, news of model Petra Nemcová’s survival was often part of the narrative in the succeeding days. Her fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, drowned on that fateful post-Christmas day. The year following her loss, Nemcová started the Happy Hearts Fund, dedicated to rebuilding “safe and resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters.” The fund, which has now joined forces with All Hands Volunteers and rebranded as All Hands and Hearts, has built over 170 schools in the Philippines, Thailand, Haiti, Indonesia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, and the United States. Petra also runs her home decor business, Be the Light.


Natalia Vodanova, IG: @natasupernova


One of the most in demand models of the past two decades, Natalia Vodianova, has had quite the charmed life. After leaving the Soviet Union to pursue her career in fashion, the industry favorite took the runways, magazines, and billboards by storm, earning her place as Forbes’ third top earning model some years ago. Natalia has five children (three with British aristocrat Justin Portman, and two with LVMH exec Antoine Arnault) but it is the birth of the Naked Heart Foundation and The Elbi app that catapult her to the top ranks of role model-dom. The app streamlines donations and with the click of a “ Love Button” allows people to send money to a variety of charities, and was called Elbi because of the LB (little big) philosophy of “making a big difference through little actions.” The Naked Heart Foundation is Natalia’s commitment to the children of her native Russia, ensuring each one has safe spaces, the freedom of play, and a loving family.


Christy Turlington, IG: @cturlington


As one third of the “Trinity” (along with Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista) this California native has been cemented as the classic face of the 1989 Calvin Klein Eternity campaign. 2017 saw Turlington’s come back as the endorser of the fragrance once again, but it is what she’s been doing in between that deserves a deeper dive. Making the shift from being in front of the camera, to taking the helm as a documentary director and filmmaker, Christy Turlington released No Woman, No Cry — an exploratory piece on pregnancy and childbirth in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and the United States. In 2010, she took her investment in global pregnancy conditions further, and founded Every Mother Counts, to support maternal care in countries near and far.