Model Charley Barker on Social Media and Staying Real
A lesson on staying down-to-earth, even with 612 thousand followers.
You probably recognize her from photo shoots for Diesel and Teen Vogue, but Charlie Barker definitely isn’t your average up-and-coming catwalker. A quick scroll through her Instagram—which is filled with cute stickers, tie-dye everything, and an ever-changing rainbow of hair colors—reveals that this English cool girl has an aesthetic all her own. It’s what first captivated the freelance model scout Nikki Sheldon about two years ago, when she stumbled upon Charlie’s Insta.
Nikki got in touch, saying that she’d like to introduce Charlie to some London agencies, and the rest was fashion history. She signed with Select Models in the U.K., home to modeling greats like Agyness Deyn and Devon Aoki, and Muse Models in the U.S. “This was really insane for me to come to grips with, because although I had always dreamt of walking runways as a child, I never ever thought I would end up fresh bait in the immense fashion industry ocean,” the 19-year-old said. But Charlie doesn’t seem to have any problems navigating her own path—even in the ridiculously competitive field–thanks to her A+ social media game.
These days, 612 thousand people like to follow her every move, outfit, and (duh) hairstyle. Charlie admitted there are both pros and cons to having such a massive following. “The best part for me is that I can reach out to thousands of people if and when I need to send an important message. I'm an advocate for individuality, and by consistently presenting this on my page I hope to help people who may struggle with expressing themselves,” she explained. “I've lost count of how many people have complimented my methods and claimed it has made them stronger. Every time I hear or read this it motivates me to continue.”
But then again, Instagram fame comes with plenty of haters and fake friends. “A negative to having a huge following is, as stupid as it sounds, trusting people. As if we don't all already have trust issues, now I'm constantly faced with people treating me like a princess (not complaining), but not because they genuinely like me and not because they think I'm cool and want to hang out." Instead, she said, it's “because it looks pretty cool to be friends with that ‘Instagram chick,’ and if I post a picture with them, then damn they're winning.”
Followers aside, Charlie has somehow managed to keep it real (which is why we love her). Her advice? Stop conforming to fashion and pop culture pressures, as hard as it is. “I totally understand that with Kylie and Kendall walking around in £94,729,834 clothes and the celeb culture evolving into something dangerous and addictive that it can sometimes be easy to think that's how you need to act,” she said. “But seriously, do what feels comfortable! As cliché as it sounds, there’s so much more to life than looks. If you're feeling insecure, go skydiving or snowboarding or elephant riding.” Noted.
So while you plan your next epic adventure, get inspired by Charlie's here.