How Nepotism Ruined the Modeling Industry

By: Betty Downs

To make it as a successful model, it can a long, tough journey. From having the right look to being dedicated, and working hard to maintain an image, gaining the title of 'supermodel' is something that can take years of work. Ten years ago, the word supermodel would have called to mind images of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell - models with undeniable talent. Nowadays, the word supermodel is handed out like candy on Halloween and there is a new generation of models who have gained success due to one common factor: nepotism. 


  1. 1. the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Kaia Gerber are just some of many successful models that have used nepotism to get where they are now. Sure, there is a chance that someone who happens to have famous parents could also be talented, but when you're a Kardashian, for example, who needs talent? Although many models who have used nepotism to their advantage say they've worked hard to get to where they are now, the truth is, without the privilege and publicity they've received from their connections, they could still be stuck in castings for Abercrombie & Fitch. 

Some consider nepotism a touchy subject, and when I've mentioned this issue before, I am often left with comments such as "well it's not like you're any better" or "stop being so jealous." This topic is something that is usually shut down if it is brought up at all. However, nepotism is something that needs to be addressed. What's unfair is that many talented models work extremely hard just to book one job, while models with large followings can be booked without even attending a casting. Men and women work day and night just to make it in the industry while there are others who are in it only for the fame. 

You can't deny that Kendall, Gigi and Bella are pretty girls, but they're just not model material. In comparison to other models, these girls often look stiff and emotionless. For example, in the picture above, Jenner appears stiff and unnatural next to Imaan. Pretty? Yes, but just not a supermodel. It is not just these girls who are example of nepotism, however. Other recognizable names include Depp, Gallagher, Cobain, Richie, McCartney and Beckham. In my opinion, being the son or daughter of a celebrity is an occupation in itself, and it is ruining the modeling industry. 

Being on the cover of a major magazines is a marker of making it in the modeling industry. Landing the cover of Vogue is something that some models work their whole lifetimes for, yet there are some who have been gifted this opportunity after only a year of working in the industry. If a model has talent, then there's no issue, but when a job or a cover could have been given to someone far more deserving, then you know nepotism has been at play. 

There are a total of 192 editions of Vogue published worldwide every year and a large majority of those covers are given to models made successful by nepotism. Obviously, the more your work as a model the more you end up getting paid. However, according to a Forbes report, in 2016, Kendall Jenner (who has been modeling for just a few years) and Karlie Kloss (who has been modeling for over ten years) tied in third place on the list of the world's highest paid models. In the three years or so that Jenner has been modeling, she has been on the cover of thirteen issues of Vogue. In the same amount of time, Karlie Kloss has only had eight. That, right there, is nepotism. 

It is upsetting to know that some amazing talent could be going to waste due to nepotism What are your opinions about nepotism in the industry? Do you consider Kendall and Gigi supermodels? Let us know in the comments below!