Models Have Depth: A response to Patrick Kullenberg of Biotherm International

By Jasmine Chorley Foster and Natalia Zurowski

In the 80s and 90s, most models were "just" models. Now, most of us do something more than just model: models are students, journalists, activists, designers, athletes, photographers, musicians, etc. Above all, models aren't just mannequins, we're creators. That requires a lot more depth to a person than we're given credit for.

In November, Biotherm announced American actress Leighton Meester as their new global brand ambassador. General Manager of Biotherm International, Patrick Kullenberg, explained the choice:

“We wanted to have one person who was legitimate with our desire to recruit younger customers to the brand. We wanted to move away from just models to people who have real stories and something to say — more texture and more depth to them.”

via WWD

via WWD

That did not make us happy.

The power of a good model behind a brand shouldn't be underestimated. The notion that models don't have a voice couldn't be further from the truth, especially thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Now more than ever, we can express ourselves, and can promote a company's product outside of a campaign. Showcasing our personalities allows consumers to get to know the spokeswoman or spokesman on a more personal level. 

In Mr. Kullenberg's (General Manageer at Biotherm International) defense, having an "unknown" face or a lesser-known model compared to an actress attached to an international brand like Biotherm, can greatly affect sales. Consumers idolize celebrities and so purchase products they promote.

With Biotherm's newfound venture to reach a younger demographic, Leighton Meester is, all things considered, the perfect choice. But it's not Leighton herself who sways customers into buying products, but her character, Blair Waldorf, on the hit TV show, Gossip Girl. Many young girls all over the world aspire to be like Leighton's character, Blair, and will purchase whatever products they have to in order to be somewhat like her, even just by buying a face wash she endorses. 

Even though few models are celebrities outside of the fashion world, they have become characters in their own right. They're finally able to showcase their personalities by, as mentioned previously, social media. For example, Miranda Kerr is known for being sweet, natural, and conservative, while Cara Delevingne's personality has become synonymous with all things quirky, goofy, and fun. Both models have proven they're more than just vacant mannequins and the same can be said for many others. And with each model boasting over a cool couple million followers on Instagram, they can easily promote products to their fans and reach an audience even beyond those numbers. 

The bottom line is, cast who you want, but don't arbitrarily bash an entire labour force in doing so.