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Instagram can now predict who America’s Next Top Model will be

instagram predict fashion model success screen shot 2015 09 06 at 11 55 33 am
Eager for spoiler alerts but disappointed by Reality Steve’s coverage? Have no fear — Instagram is here! No longer just a platform for making your life look enviable, Instagram is now being used to predict who the next stars of international fashion runways will be. Thanks to a team of researchers at Indiana University who had the arduous task of looking through gorgeous men and women’s Instagram feeds, we now have an algorithm that can determine which faces will soon not only be Insta-famous, but also famous-famous.

In completing their study, scientists examined statistics — including hair and eye color, height, hip, waist, dress and shoe size — of 400 fashion models from the Fashion Model Directory. They then turned their attention to whether these models were represented by agencies, and the agencies’ caliber. Researchers noted, “Models with a top agency have, everything else being equal, nearly 10-time higher chances of walking a runway than their counterparts represented by non-top agencies.”

Finally, and here’s where it gets interesting, the Indiana University team turned to the models’ social media presences, specifically on Instagram. Metrics like their number of followers, post frequency, number of likes and comments, and the general tone of the comments (positive or negative) were all taken into account, and were ultimately used to predict how successful a model was in the fashion industry.

As Emilio Ferrara, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California who was responsible for much of the research, told CBS News, “When we added the social information, we realized that we will be able to predict with above 80 percent accuracy whether a new face, a new model that just started … would become popular, would run some top runway in the immediate future.”

In fact, six of the eight “new faces” the study’s model predicted would become popular based on Instagram data did indeed make it big, including Sofia Tesmenitskaya, Arina Levchenko, Renata Scheffer, Sasha Antonowskaia, Melanie Culley, and Phillipa Hemphrey.

Of course, there is a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma going on when it comes to Instagram and model popularity. It seems that models who are more active on social media are more likely to become famous than those who keep quiet or keep private. After all, generating buzz about yourself, especially on a medium as visual as Instagram, can never hurt in an industry that is literally predicated on looks.

As Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia told the Daily Mail, “Social media is changing the game dramatically. Traditionally, models don’t interact with consumers; but now their online activity plays an important role in popularity and, ultimately, success.”

So if you’re looking to break into the modeling business, start snapping those selfies. And who knows? Instagram may just be the key to your success.

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Lulu Chang
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