Can You Be an Instagram Success Story Without Being a Sex Symbol?


On the first anniversary of Instagram Stories, the company released a ranking of the fashion names with the highest engagement rate. The ranking is based on the cumulative number of story views over the past year among top accounts with over 10 million followers.

  • For those of you who may not be familiar with the scope of InstagramStories: their global audience has reached 700 million users of which 250 million use it daily, easily surpassing Snapchat.

Not being a devotee of the model/fashion scene, I had to do a bit of research to figure out what’s going on e.g. why does Cara Delevingne with 40.7 million followers rank #5 for engagement while Emily Ratajkowksi snags the top spot even though she has almost a third less followers?

  • At first blush, most of the girls are epic sex symbols.
  • They are today’s Playmates, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models, Video Vixens, and Supermodels – all rolled into one and all available on everyone’s cellphone 24/7
  • Their  sexual game is obviously very strong
  • They’re notorious for taking controversial positions on everything from sexuality to religion

What I am stunned by, however, is how many of my female friends are following these girls. I will be checking in with them to get the inside scoop on what they find so intriguing about them.

Top 5 in Fashion

#1: Emily Ratajkowski (14.8 million followers) – Pics above

  • American model/actress/activist
  • Came to prominence after appearing on the cover of the March 2012 issue of erotic magazine treats!, which led to her starring in controversial music video: “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke
  • In 2013, Esquire named her “Woman of the Year” and Rolling Stone listed her among its twenty hottest sex symbols.
  • She appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.
  • Made her professional runway modeling debut for Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week in 2015.
  • Appeared in a Buick Super Bowl commercial during Super Bowl 50.

Read on below for more on the top 5 as well as the full list of the 15 rankings.


#2: Chiara Ferragni (10.2 million followers)



  • Italian blogger known as The Blonde Salad
  • Designer and business owner with her own shoe line.
  • In 2011, she was profiled as the Blogger Of The Moment in Teen Vogue
  • In 2015, her blog and shoe line, Chiara Ferragni Collection, became a case study at Harvard Business School.
  • Ferragni was selected for the cover of the April 2015 Vogue España, making her the first fashion blogger to appear on any Vogue cover. Since then she has appeared on over 50 fashion magazines covers.
  • Mattel created a Barbie version of Chiara Ferragni in 2016 wearing shoes from her Chiara Ferragni Collection.



#3: Candice Swanepoel (11.3 million followers)

  • South African Victoria’s Secret Supermodel and “Angel”
  • Ranked #1 on the 2014 Maxim “Hot 100 List”
  • In 2016, ranked No 8 on the Forbes’ “World’s Top-Earning Models” list with earnings of $7 million


Candice Swanepoel


#4: Hailey Baldwin (10.5 million followers)



  • Model, daughter of Stephen Baldwin
  • Evangelical Christian/home-schooled/ frequently posts biblical quotations on social media
  • In 2017, named the most beautiful woman in the world by Maxim
  • While still a teenager, appeared in various music videos and on SNL alongside her uncle, Alec Baldwin
  • Big controversy about whether or not she’s had plastic surgery – especially her lips. She denies it but…..


Hailey Baldwin in 2011 (left) and in 2016 (right).


#5: Cara Delevingne (40.7 million followers)


  • English model/actress/ comes from a ritzy family
  • Openly bisexual
  • Her godfather is Condé Nast executive Nicholas Coleridge and her godmother is actress Joan Collins
  • She was discovered by the same modeling agency that put Kate Moss on the map
  • Was propelled to fame by Burberry’s Christopher Bailey in 2012 while working part-time in the office of a fashion website. Bailey cast her in the company’s ad campaign.
  • That same year, Vogue described her as their ‘crush of the season’ and The Daily Telegraph called her ‘THE’ girl of the season.
  • In 2013, Delevingne was the most Googled fashion figure and the most re-blogged model on Tumblr
  • Her focus is increasingly shifting to acting

With her brand new pixie style haircut

the more typical look

Making out with actress Michelle Rodriguez at a Knicks Game



The Instagram fashion accounts with the highest engagement on Stories:

1.Emily Ratajkowski
2. Chiara Ferragni
3. Candice Swanepoel
4. Hailey Baldwin
5. Cara Delevingne
6. Adriana Lima
7. Victoria Beckham
8. Miranda Kerr
9. Gigi Hadid
10. Dior
11. Dolce & Gabbana
12. Kendall Jenner
13. Gisele Bundchen
14. Louis Vuitton
15. Christian Louboutin

For more, link from BoF

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