Scrolling through the ream of infinite selfies on Instagram, it is easy to assume that everyone on the photo sharing site thinks that they’re a model. Inspired by the Insta-models, such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, everyday users upload an incessant stream of selfies and contrived ‘candids’ to impress their followers.
It may all seem a little narcissistic and vain to those who use the app recreationally, but for those that dedicate a large quantity of time to their ‘online brand’, it is a savvy business move. With 800 million active users per month, Instagram is the tool that all talent scouts are using to source the latest stars.
Forget the days of being “discovered” whilst at a shopping center or an airport (à la Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss), in this modern world your future is at your fingertips.
Anok Yai knows only too well the power that Instagram yields, after she went viral earlier this week and subsequently landed contract offers from three different agencies.
The 19-year-old sophomore at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire had long aspired to be a model, a dream which has now come true by pure coincidence.
Yai, who grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, attended the Howard University Homecoming Weekend celebrations in Washington DC, where she happened to be caught by a photographer present at the event.
“Saw her right at the end of Yardfest,” wrote ‘theSUNK’ as he uploaded a series of photographs he had taken of the young beauty.
The photographer, who has remained unnamed, told The Boston Globe how his mission was to document and showcase the outfits worn at the event. When he snapped Yai, he told her that there was potential that her pictures would go viral on his Instagram page which has 16,000 followers.
His predictions weren’t wrong, as Yai’s pictures quickly accumulated 11,000 likes. Users flooded the comments section with stunned messages upon seeing the student. “HOW IS SOMEONE THIS PERFECT,” wrote one user, while another typed: “One of the most beautiful humans I have ever seen.”
Yai was dumbfounded by the support she was receiving. “My phone just started vibrating rapidly for a long, long time,” she told The Boston Globe. “At first, I honestly thought someone made a meme of me or something.”