The Fashion Spot recently revealed its “World’s Top Model” rankings, and Polish-born Anja Rubik snagged the number one spot. The rankings are based on several categories, including the number of runways the model has walked in the past 12 months and the amount of social media followers she has. The other contenders were runner-up Freja Beha Erichsen, followed by Lara Stone in third, then Abbey Lee Kershaw, and finally Constance Jablonski in fifth.
The numbers don’t lie. Rubik appeared in 59 print publications (this includes magazine editorials and ad campaigns), walked in 43 shows, has almost 55,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and has been Googled about 3 million times in the past year alone. Pretty impressive, right?
There’s no denying Rubik’s supermodel status: her career is monumental and her work is significant. But we’ve noticed that some media outlets have referred to her not only as this year’s top model, but also as this year’s most influential model.
Of course, influence is an authority that extends past monetary gain and professional presence. Being genuinely influential requires a force — whether that be a person, a group, a movement, etc. — to have a substantial impact not just on an individual, but also on an entire industry’s choices and actions, ultimately leaving a lasting impression on contemporary culture. Though models rarely design the clothes they wear (there are exceptions to this, of course), they can be just as influential (and sometimes more so) than designers. After all, they are the face of an aesthetic, an attitude, and an ideal.
Take Kate Moss. Moss will absolutely go down as one of the most successful and in-demand models of our time (and she just so happens to be one of the few lucrative model-turned-designers), but aside from her professional accomplishments, Moss is an innate trendsetter. Everything about her — from her hair, to her style, to her rebel-without-a-cause attitude — is cherished by her adoring fans and debated by her harshest critics. She is a staple of the fashion industry, a titan of style, and the face of a decadent, elite lifestyle. She is irrefutably influential.
So, what about Anja Rubik? Successful? Absolutely. Influential? We’re not so sure. Has she inspired trends? Has she impacted retail and style beyond the runway? Has she come to represent a unique lifestyle that propels dreams and invents enthusiasts? Not yet.
For now, she can hold her head high as she as the world’s most in-demand model. But considering her talent and the professional success that she has already attained, we expect that it won’t be long before Rubik will also be fittingly recognized as resoundingly influential.