From Gigi Hadid to Madeline Poole, why beauty’s new stars are all on Instagram

A photo posted by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

Gigi Hadid

With a Calvin Klein contract already under her belt, supermodel Christy Turlington landed her first Maybelline New York deal in the early ’90s after years of runway and editorial work. In 2015, Palestinian-American model Gigi Hadid already had a staggering Instagram and Twitter following when she signed on with the beauty brand—not long before, she was just a high school senior, filling out college applications in between volleyball practices. Welcome to the era of the social media models, where followers and likes trump magazine covers and experience, and a new breed of supes — like Hadid and her close friend Kendall Jenner—are poised to become the Christy, Naomi or Linda of their generation.

“[Kendall and I] started in the modelling world at the same time, and it’s been really awesome to experience it together,” says Hadid. Her CV is already stacked—a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit gig, walking in Chanel’s runway protest (“I held a sign that said ‘Boys Should Get Pregnant too!’”) and a Tom Ford campaign, which she landed with a little help from her “fashion fairy godmother” Carine Roitfeld. When Hadid’s agent emailed her about a meeting with the former French Vogue editor, “I kind of thought he sent it to the wrong person,” says Hadid.

It seems she is acutely aware of the cultural significance of this moment. “I feel really lucky to be a model in the time of social media. We’re not just someone that a girl likes because she saw her once in a magazine. We get to be the models that people like because they like the same bands and pizza and mascara as us—that’s stuff that we can share through social media. I think that’s really cool.”

A photo posted by Madeline Poole (@mpnails) on

Madeline Poole

Before being named Sally Hansen’s global colour ambassador, Madeline Poole had virgin fingertips. “I didn’t start painting my nails until I became a manicurist,” says Poole, an art school grad who held odd jobs, like manning a food truck, before she realized that decorating digits was a legit job. “I was on my first photo shoot as an assistant to the prop stylist and I saw the manicurist doing the models’ nails and was like, ‘Oh, what does this lady do?’”

On her fast track to the top, Poole has built a rep for turning tips into mini MOCA installations (many of which are catalogued on her Tumblr) and has keyed shows for designers like Stella McCartney and Adam Selman. At Selman’s Fall 2015 collection, her squiggle motif confirmed that negative space manicures are still a thing. “It’s like wearing a belly shirt and leaving that sliver of skin showing. Your skin becomes part of the outfit,” explains Poole.

Though her passport confirms that she’s a millennial, the 28-year-old doesn’t relate to the label. “The idea of a generation is so big, I can’t really compare myself to kids who were born in the 2000s—it feels light years apart.” And as much as she loves her Bitmoji avatars, she still pines for the pre-Android days. “I moved to LA with a flip phone, and I used to write out directions from a paper map onto a sticky note and paste it to the steering wheel of my car. Having that memory makes me really appreciate the convenience of what I have now, but I’m also nostalgic for getting lost.”

A photo posted by Ally Frankel (@allyyyfrankel) on

Ally and Taylor Frankel

In a world where beauty hauls, sponsored selfies and contouring how-tos are landing YouTube stars cosmetic contracts, it may seem like every teen wants to look like a Kardashian. Not so, say 16-year-old Ally and 18-year-old Taylor Frankel, co-founders of Nudestix. “All our role models are very natural,” says Ally, who cites Shailene Woodley, while Taylor has a “huge girl crush” on Jennifer Lawrence.

The Toronto-based siblings launched their line of multi-purpose face crayons to fit with their no-makeup makeup mantra. “The beauty industry wants to relate to a younger generation,” explains Ally. “But whenever my sister and I walked into a store, we’d walk right past all these makeup counters. It [felt like] our mother’s makeup.” (Their mom, Jenny Frankel, is a chemical engineer who co-founded Cover FX and helped formulate some of M.A.C’s bestsellers.)

They also wanted something uncomplicated that didn’t require mastering a technique. “My friends were talking about how they love watching all those [Internet] tutorials, but they never know how to duplicate the look,” says Ally. “No matter how many they watch, they still don’t know how to do their makeup.” And though we picture them glued to their iPhones 24/7, even the I-woke-up-like-this generation welcomes an opportunity to go off the grid every now and then. “I almost find that we’re getting too technological,” says Taylor. “Sometimes it’s good to go back to a pen and paper. Now, you get to do your makeup with pencils. What could be better?

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