This year, Instagram proved itself as the platform for tapping talent. Celebrities used the photo-sharing service to discover everyone from makeup artists to music video costars. Brands, likewise, crowd-sourced entire campaigns from Instagram submissions. Success on social media has already been confirmed to be integral for established models like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, but it is quickly showing itself as the perfect platform for artists, designers, and models to be discovered, whether by a celebrity or brand.
Here are seven lucky people and brands who collaborated with the likes of Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, and more, all thanks to IG.
After Rihanna's "Bitch Better Had My Money" video dropped, there was one question on everyone's mind—who was her accomplice? The internet went to work and quickly discovered that Rih's costar wasn't an actress or model—nope, she was Sanam, a 25-year-old resident of Seattle, who, NBD, Rihanna had contacted via Instagram DM. The message came on Wednesday, and by Friday, she was in LA for the shoot. The power of Rihanna, y'all.
LMDN's "Not A Tour Hoodie" was already extremely popular, and then Justin Bieber posted a photo pleading for someone to hook him up with one. That someone, fittingly, was the British company, who told MTV News, "sales had doubled as soon as he posted the picture on Instagram!" So, yeah, some celebs are using Instagram for discovering cool brands and designers and contacting them privately, but Justin prefers a more public approach. Hey, it all worked out for JB—he was gifted two of the (totally sold out) sweatshirts by LMDN.
In June, Miley Cyrus stepped out in a painted leather jacket, which included an homage to Floyd, Snow White, various fruits, and more. The jacket was hand-painted by London-based designer Phiney Pet, who revealed to MTV News that Miley had started following her on Instagram and subsequently inquired about a jacket. After three days of painting Miley-centric details—like the Happy Hippie foundation logo—Phiney sent her the jacket. Miley was obviously eager to have it in her closet—she wore it less than a week after receiving it. In the words of Phiney, "The power of social media, ay!"
Marie Sophie Lockhart
Sometimes, all it takes for you to catch one of your faves' attention is tagging them, even if you're doing it as a joke. That's exactly what happened to Marie Sophie Lockhart, an embroidery artist, who added the praying hands of Drake's "6 God" art into the back pocket on a pair of jeans. She tagged Drake "as a joke," she told Refinery 29, but then he reposted it. Marie then DMed him to thank him, and he responded with a request for customized denim AND the praying hands jacket. She summed up the power of Instagram—and, LBR, Drake—saying, "He created an avenue for my art to be seen, which is an invaluable gift to any artist."
If there's one thing Kylie Jenner loves posting, it's photos of her face. From showing off her lip kit to sharing mirror selfies, Kylie's face makes a lottttt of appearances on Instagram, which is why it makes total sense that that's exactly where she discovered her 20-year-old makeup artist, Ariel Tejada. The two connected, Ariel told Allure, when Kylie sent him a DM saying, "Look, whenever you're in L.A., I want to work with you, let me know." He quickly responded, booked a flight to LA, and waited to hear back from Kylie. She, of course, ended up responding and they have been working together ever since. Ariel has also done makeup for Khloe and Kendall, so one DM has turned into several jobs. NBD.
In the fall, H&M made waves for including a model wearing a hijab in one of its campaigns. That model is Mariah Idrissi, a 23-year-old Londoner who was scouted via Instagram. In an interview with Fusion, she revealed her initial skepticism, asking the scout, "Are you sure they know I wear a hijab?" Not only did H&M know, but it's one of the reasons they contacted her—the brand's Close The Loop campaign stars models who are not typically in the forefront of the fashion industry, including plus-size models, an amputee model, and more. Next time someone critiques your love of selfies, you can respond, "I'm trying to land a history-making campaign for the second largest retailer in the world, OK?"
Gigi Gorgeous recently topped our Best Social Media Stars of 2015 list for good reason—she was everywhere this year. Though her popularity was well-established thanks to her popular YouTube page, it was just this year that she teamed up with Miley Cyrus, which really put her in the spotlight. It all started when Miley DMed her about the Happy Hippie foundation—from there, Gigi starred in Miley's #InstaPride campaign, costarred with Miley in a spread for Marie Claire, and, eventually, landed a gig hosting a beauty series on Kylie Jenner's app. So, yeah, if you have a feeling Miley might contact you one of these days, stop refreshing your email and check your DMs—she loves 'em.
Instagram is not only providing people the platform to showcase their talents, interests, and gorgeous selfies, but also acting as a source of untapped talent, with celebrities and brands scouring to find the perfect person. While 2015 definitely saw an increase in discovery, interest in Instagram as a source shows no sign of slowing down—in fact, Rihanna's recently-launched beauty agency will be relying on social media to mine for talent. Get your best selfies ready, y'all—Rihanna make be checking them out. It wouldn't be the first time.