Ireland’s ‘Instagrammable’ Industry

By Jade Carpenter

Have you ever posted a selfie on Instagram and felt like you could be the next Kendall Jenner? You may not be too far away according to some of Ireland’s young models.

Social media seems to be changing the modelling industry, not just as a means of scouting models but also for promoting them, with the idea of self-promotion being widely encouraged.

Pádraig Ó Luasa, is a tall, chiselled jawed, wolf blue eyed male model whose hair looks like it was cut off a Ken doll. As he sat across from me grinning, his flawless smile was somewhat distracting. Pádraig started modelling at the age of five doing campaigns for brands such as HB ice cream, and later at the age of fifteen he joined an agency where he began modelling in his teenage years.

Pádraig said that social media has had a major impact on modelling: “It happens a lot that people who are more popular on Instagram will get the job over someone else. For example, a few years ago, a lot of people went for castings to open for Givenchy in Paris fashion week, but they gave it to Cameron Dallas who didn’t have to go to any casting…. There is kind of a pressure to keep up an online appearance especially with certain agencies they’d be like you need to be getting this many followers a week, you need to put this up then and this up now, whereas others don’t put pressure on you like that.

“Some agencies wouldn’t even look at you if you didn’t have a certain number of followers because they are all looking towards the influencers now, which is a problem. It’s even in an agreement sometimes before you book a show that you will put up a certain number of photos from that job on your Instagram.”

Pádraig believes being a male is an advantage over the females in the Irish industry: “There is a lot less competition…I’ve worked with lads that are well into their thirties whereas I haven’t seen a girl over the age of twenty-five, yet. Men don’t really hit their peak until their late twenties and you can see that with the faces of brands and who’s walking in shows.”

So would he like to pursue it full time?: “No I don’t think so, it’s just not a good situation to be in all the time, wondering when you will work or when you will get paid, because each job has three months to pay you. I do love doing it and I’ll keep going as long as I can and see how it goes.” Pádraig has since graduated from UCD with a degree in economics and politics.

“Demanding, hectic, rewarding”, are three words full time model Abby Harris, used to describe her experience. The natural beauty from Ballymore in Co. Kildare is signed to agencies in Dublin, Milan, New York, Barcelona and Hamburg. Abby has done many notable campaigns including being the face of Weir & Sons as well as Peter Mark.

Another model scouted on social media, Abby explained: “When I was 16, the managing director of an agency was mutual friends with someone on Facebook and got my number off them and contacted me asking me to go into the agency, so I went in and got some shots taken and then started working from then on.”

Abby was extremely successful within the industry and decided to leave school to further her career: “I started modelling in Ireland and I was so surprised by how nice everyone was, it’s not at all cut throat here, everyone looks out for each other and a lot of the older girls helped and taught me when I began…it’s a lot more competitive abroad…but to further your career as such you’d need to travel.”

Although she loves traveling with the job, Abby said if you were content with the size of an Irish based career, a full time job is possible for a female model in Ireland. “It’s definitely possible for a girl to be a full-time model in Ireland, there’s actually a lot of work here, there’s not so much work for male’s…I think it’s one of the only industries in the world that females can actually earn more than males.”

In today’s society, people strive for the perfect Instagram feed and photos in a world of influencer takeovers. Nowadays, a good social media presence plays a huge part in many jobs in the entertainment and fashion industry. As we can see here, it can be worthwhile, now everyone, you know what to do, get your pouts out on Instagram!

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