Of the 10 supermodel Instagram accounts that gained the most followers in 2016, six belong to women who have at some point adorned the cover of a men’s magazine.
Translation: among its other various and sundry functions — networking platform, meme factory, plagiarism safe haven — Instagram is the new pinup calendar. (Which might help explain why the velvet-suited svengali of men’s magazines, Playboy, earlier this year decided to do away with their famously unclad photoshoots altogether.)
As pointed out by Harper’s Bazaar, the results of this top 10 list “probably won't surprise you” — it’s a who’s who of the most popular supermodels on earth in 2016. But which supermodels? And why?
To try to answer that, we did some really, really arduous research and came up with a couple speculative theories about the 10 women who ended up here.
Rule 1: Don't be a Jenner or Kardashian
Gigi Hadid topped the Instagram-compiled list, with more than 16 million new followers in 2016. But for anyone who slogged through news of the Kardashian-Jenner-Kanye trifecta this year, it should strike you as odd that none of the ladies topped the list (or even placed at all). Harper’s attributes the absence this way: “Fellow It girl Kendall Jenner didn't make the list, most likely due to her recent short Instagram hiatus.”
Unfortunately for their fact-checkers, it turns out Kendall actually gained around 24.7 million followers this year, over 8 million more than Hadid. Not to mention the over 30 million both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian racked up. So either Instagram is incapable of reading their own statistics or, despite covering Vogue’s September issue this year, they don’t want to admit Kendall Jenner is a real model.
Rule 2: Do be friends with a Jenner (preferably Kendall) — or Taylor Swift
The top four on this list (Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid) are all pals with at least one of these two pop culture darlings. No need to go to modeling school anymore — just photobomb your way to the top.
Rule 3: Victoria’s Secret is still the one true arbiter
While not all appeared in this year’s extravaganza, 6 out of the 10 models on this list have appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at some point (both Hadids, Delevingne, Gisele Bündchen, Taylor Hill and Candice Swanepoel). If you think the Instagram followings these women have gained because of appearing in their underwear isn’t having an effect on their followers (like, say, your daughter), you’re wrong.
If you're interested, here’s the full list (so you can make sure you’re following them all):
- Gigi Hadid @gigihadid: 16 million
- Cara Delevingne @caradelevingne: 14.3 million
- Hailey Baldwin @haileybaldwin: 5.9 million
- Bella Hadid @bellahadid: 5.8 million
- Emily Ratajkowski @emrata: 5.7 million
- Victoria Beckham @victoriabeckham: 5.2 million
- Chrissy Teigen @chrissyteigen: 4.8 million
- Gisele Bündchen @gisele: 3.9 million
- Taylor Hill @taylor_hill: 3.6 million
- Candice Swanepoel @angelcandices: 3.5 million
Main photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret