Originally from the Love Yourself Weekend Mini-Zine

When Leah Stanley has a break in her day, it’s not uncommon for her to find a brand, either locally or elsewhere, to pitch doing some influencer work. They range from nearby donut shops to recognized lingerie brands. This is completely self-started and only possible due to her 100,000+ Instagram followers.

What is an Influencer? How are they different from Models? Or Brand Ambassadors? Bloggers and Vloggers? It’s important that you, we, and the industry recognize the differences. It’s also very important that we use the correct terminology when referencing industry professionals.

“We build our own brands, network, and create,” says Leah, an independent influencer. “We conceptualize, style and direct the majority of our content. As an influencer it’s so much more than being pretty in front of the camera. It’s about making a statement, make waves within society and being driven by our will to empower one another.”

This is true. But, are influencers models? Some are. But, not all. The same way that all models are not influencers, at least not on social media (they may be influential). The two definitely intersect.

“The popularity of social media has blurred the line between what it means to be a model versus an influencer or digital content creator.” Says Lisa Schoenberger, Plus Size Influencer.

Leah Stanley, @voluptuousleah, conceptualizes her shoots and pitches brands.

Influencers work with brands for either free product or payment in order to promote a specific product or service on their social media accounts. There are a number of ways they can get paid, from affiliate codes to clicks to upfront payment based on their followings. In essence, influencers are their own managers: finding, selling, and working with brands to provide exposure.

The same way there are sorts of influencers ranging from micro-influencers to the Kardashian family, there are a variety of different types of models: Fit, Runway, Print, E-Commerce, etc. A model is someone who is either signed to an agency or works freelance. They still meet certain height and size requirements. Models are paid a fee to exhibit a product in front of an audience, whether that be at a fashion show or even for a designer trying to find the right shape to their clothing. If they are signed to a major or minor agency or Management Company, their fees are less flexible and they have certain limitations that come along with their exposure to larger brands.

“A brand hires a model to be a blank canvas to showcase their clothes. The brand styles the looks,” says Lisa Schoenberger. “A blogger, influencer or digital content creator is focused on showcasing their personal style and working with brands to showcase products and services they love and personally use.” 

Why is this important to you? There are so many women who read our articles about influencers and want to learn to do the same thing. But, there’s so much confusion as to what makes an influencer and what makes a model. Often times, beautiful women list “model” on their resume after taking creative photos for social media, maybe in front of a brick wall or next to a sculpture.

Lisa Schoenberger, @mustangsallytwo, wants to make sure you know there is a difference between influencing and modeling.

Plus size models, while rarer than influencers, also have a lot to consider. Our friends in the “fit modeling” world have to maintain their weight and are sometimes even asked to gain weight if there is a vacancy at a size above theirs.

So, when you say you want to be a “model,” you may actually mean you want to be a paid influencer. There will be more diversity in their height, size, age, etc. because it is more a representation of the everyday woman. There are modeling agencies and model management companies who represent niche women. Stay tuned in 2019 for an announcement from Bold Media. 

Transitioning from ‘Influencer” to “Model” is possible. It’s important to consider investing in professional photo shoots, driving engagement on your social media accounts, and building a print portfolio. It also takes a lot of networking. It’s not often that agencies search you out because of your social media following. But, it’s certainly a fun way to get your brand out there and promote plus positivity! \