It Girl Inc.: How Much Money Social Media's Biggest Style Stars Really Make

2016-8-18 fashion Fashion


Seven years ago, after a bad breakup, Arielle Charnas was looking for a way she could get back at her ex. So she started a blog.

"I wanted to get revenge and look really good on the Internet so he would see. Eventually, he began to fade, and I fell in love with what I was doing every day," says Charnas, the 29-year-old behind the wildly popular fashion blog Something Navy. "Everything changed for me once Instagram launched, followed by Snapchat."

Post by post, each documenting her oh-so-stylish skinny jeans, designer satchels, and balayage highlights, she has cultivated a social-media empire, with 892,000 devoted followers on Instagram; last year she appeared in a commercial for Tresemmé shampoo, the kind of endorsement deal usually conferred on TV or film starlets.

THE '80S HAD CHRISTIE, ELLE, AND IMAN. THE '90S HAD CINDY, HEIDI, KATE, AND NAOMI. THE VICTORIA'S SECRET GIRLS DOMINATED THE 2000S. BUT THESE DAYS, RUNWAY PHENOMS GIGI AND KENDALL SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT WITH A NEW CADRE OF YOUNG, HYPER-CHIC SO-CALLED INFLUENCERS.

Every decade has its It girls. The '80s had Christie, Elle, and Iman. The '90s had Cindy, Heidi, Kate, and Naomi. The Victoria's Secret girls dominated the 2000s. But these days, runway phenoms Gigi and Kendall share the spotlight with a new cadre of young, hyper-chic so-called influencers whose massive followings on social media have crowned them celebrities in their own right. Arguably the most famous among them: Chiara Ferragni, the 29-year-old, Italian-born, Los Angeles-based blogger and creator of The Blonde Salad, whose 6.2 million following on Instagram beats that of Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling combined; L.A. fashion-and- interior-design starling Aimee Song, whose Song of Style garners 2 million page views a month; and, of course, Leandra Medine, better known as "Man Repeller" to more than 2 million fans who track her anything-goes fashion concoctions across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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