When (& Why) Your Fave Celebs Steal the Runway

Beautiful, rich and famous. Who could want more?

That’s the first question I asked myself whenever I saw a celeb gone model. Why aren’t they sitting at home preventing wrinkles? It’s actually more common–and frugal–for celebrities to model because it diversifies their portfolio. Modeling, and other side gigs, acts as supplementary funds for celebrities when they’re not working on a project. And when everyone’s fav celebrities can work the runway and represent a different body size, shape, color and message, we might just need more of it.

Diversifying one’s portfolio is not just for business or finance majors anymore. Last year, Forbes discussed how it’s important to diversify one’s own portfolio to cover for risks and make wise investments. Instead of stocks or bonds, celebrities are marketing on modeling. Sometimes it’s for a single shoot. Sometimes it’s a brand collaboration. Either way, they’re not just acting or singing or being socialites.

When One Direction fragmented some members went off and worked in fashion. While they were once professional singers and had a range of merchandise, perfumes, etc., when they went solo they started to develop their personal portfolios outside of singing. Zayn Malik collaborated with Versace (RIP) while Harry Styles is modeling for Gucci’s latest ad campaign.

Celebrities don’t just model for high fashion or haute couture. Remember when Avril Lavigne’s fashion line was on sale at Kohl’s, or Selena Gomez’s ‘Dream Out Loud’ collection at Kmart? High-end fashion lines’ endorsements definitely add some zeros to celebrities’ bank accounts, but selling merchandise directly to consumers still makes them money. Maybe those celebrities want to be more accessible to people, so they sell their collections at a store everyone can afford. According to Marie Claire, most celebrities’ careers aren’t their main sources of income. This might surprise you, but their income typically comes from things like endorsements and merchandise.

However, money’s not always the motive–especially this year. 2018 is the year of activism, calling people out of their seats and calling celebrities onto the runway.

Seeing as fashion is one of the most important expressions of voice and culture it’s only natural that amidst the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements to see voices of the movement on the forefront of fashion. A few months after Uma Thurman detailed what happened between her and Harvey Weinstein. She took a stand by standing, walking and closing the Miu Miu Resort 2019 fashion show. I took this as a personal statement by Thurman as a way of reclaiming her power and showing women how to be strong. She was accompanied by many other sisters in feminism and bad ass-ery such as celebrity Chloe Sevigny and models Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah.

Gwendoline Christie, A.K.A. Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, also swaggered down the same runway. Rising to a height of 6 feet 3 inches, Christie reigned over the other models who were at an average height of 5 feet 9 1/2 inches. Seeing her, a strongly built woman of such height, on a runway that is molded by a warped sense of beauty and body standards was a step toward body positivity and representation for all. Not only was she supporting a message from Thurman and their feminist friends walking in that show but she was also standing up for all those who do not fit what the modeling industry approves for the runway.

Visibility and representation aren’t a new theme this year as the fashion industry has been working toward a more diverse field. Celebrities and models alike have been switching up standards. Model Winnie Harlow has represented people with vitiligo and opened the door for people to model with skin conditions, unlike the norm. Actor/musician, Jaden Smith was the face of Louis Vuitton’s 2016 s/s women’s wear line, nicknamed ‘the new man in a skirt.’

When celebrities come on stage not to act but to walk a runway, it’s not always for the money. Celebs gone model can mean they’re sharing their voice and vision in a different way. In efforts for solidarity, transparency and equality.