What, exactly, is an "IT girl?" Although hard to define at times, there's a real yet almost intangible difference between that title and something like, "superstar." The former refers to more than just beauty or fame, or even having "the whole package" - it refers to someone possessing a certain je ne sais quoi that propels them from incredible talent to muse. Historically, a majority of IT girls have been actresses, singers, and the Hollywood elite, acting as inspiration for industry insiders. But there have also been an equal amount of models who have claimed the title that propelled them into greater fame and additional opportunities. From Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick in the 60s to the rise of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in the 90s, models have risen to the level of muse both in the fashion industry and beyond. In the post-90s era, the title was claimed by celebrities and a new crop of pretty-faced party girls like Cory Kennedy and Cat Marnell, but the past few years have offered us a bevy of inspirational new models. And while the trend of celebrity offspring walking the runways continues to climb - with up-and-comers like Kaia Gerber, Sofia Richie, and the Hamlin daughters hot on the Hadids’ heels - the real muses of tomorrow are starting from the bottom and going all the way up.
We've compiled a list of our favorite model babes rising in the ranks for your viewing - and reading - pleasure. Some faces may be familiar and some may be new, but we predict that they'll all be household names in the near future. In true MISSBISH spirit, you’ll notice some common themes when it comes to our criteria, with feminism, inclusion, and unwavering body positivity as "IT girl" must-haves. From teens taking the curvy industry by storm, to punk princesses, and lots of beauties in between; the new class is rising and they're doing it on their own terms. Get to know our roster of bad bishes below!
Who: Diana Veras
Instagram: @mynamesdiana | Age: 21 | City: NYC
Brand Highlights: Print campaigns for Nordstrom and Lazy Oaf; Features & editorials in magazines like Glamour, Seventeen, ASOS online, and two consecutive editorials for Teen Vogue; Partnership with NARS makeup that included a body positivity feature with Paper Magazine as well as some recurring Instagram love.
Why She’s IT: She's not only bomb herself but runs with a very cool circle of city kids, including other curvy models like Barbie Ferreira and Dounia Tazi. She’s worked with X photographer Petra Collins on an editorial for the sacred CR Fashion Book as well as a Me + You campaign, and with her runway debut for Chromat’s S/S 17 show, she is only beginning to rise to stardom.
Why We Love Her: Diana is very vocal about loving yourself (and your hair!), diversity, and feminism and is usually seen rocking an X necklace. She's pro body positivity and lists her career highlight as posing nude for NARS x Paper Magazine. Get it, girl!
Who: Staz Lindes
Instagram: @yostazyo | Age: 25 | City: LA
Brand Highlights: S/S 17 Runways for Saint Laurent, Max Mara, and Jeremy Scott; Editorials in CR Fashion Book, W Magazine, Vogue Russia, i-D, and Love Magazine.
Why She’s IT: Check her out in Spring 2017 campaigns for American Eagle as well as Yves Saint Laurent Beauty, following in the footsteps of supermodels Kate Moss & Cara Delevingne. She's been a consistent fashion & Tumblr icon since she was a teen and is now a creative director and Hedi Slimane’s muse, featured in his photography series alongside her brother Misha.
Why We Love Her: Originally discovered in a local bowling alley, Staz is down to earth, quirky, and is full of street style inspo. She’s also a guitarist in the badass, all-girl rock band The Paranoyds. And while she's been a part of the industry for years, we feel that 2017 is going to be the year she pops.
Who: Sita Abellán
Instagram: @sitabellan | Age: 23 | City: Milan
Brand Highlights: Interviews in magazines like Notion, Flaunt, Purple, and Nylon Mexico; Acted as a guest editor for ODDA Magazine; Styled herself for an adidas Originals Campaign, her shoot for Vogue Spain, and a Nikelab video & photo campaign; Featured frequently on street style sites like the NY Times Fashion & Style section.
Why She’s IT: Usually seen in shades, Sita is also a DJ and stylist and has already launched her own capsule collection with MSBHV called “Pain.” She attends insider parties alongside industry influencers like Purple Magazine founder Olivier Zahm, gets to DJ all of the coolest events including a Balmain after party at NYFW and a Vogue Italia x Steven Klein exhibition event, and sits front row at all of your favorite shows including Fenty x PUMA by Rihanna at PFW (they're besties after Sita starred in her 2015 music video for “BBHMM”).
Why We Love Her: The self-described “techno princess” has spent the past year traveling the globe to attend fashion weeks and to DJ a slew of parties - Instagramming it all along the way. Although 2017 may hold more music than modeling for Sita, we'll be keeping our eye on her style in the foreseeable future.
Who: Barbie Ferreira
Instagram: @barbienox | Age: 20 | City: NYC
Brand Highlights: Features in Teen Vogue, Bazaar UK, Office Magazine, and the upcoming cover of Glassbook Mag; Editorials in Elle and Cosmopolitan (including starring in a Cosmo video series titled “New York Minute"); Print campaigns for American Eagle Outfitters' Aerie line, Clarks shoes, ASOS, Violeta by Mango, and Prabal Gurung's Lane Bryant collection.
Why She’s IT: She's a total NYC tastemaker who has come up alongside other NYC teens like Manon Macasaet and local artist Chloe Wise who also created a dope painting of her (which hung at a local gallery during Art Basel Hong Kong). She works and hangs with Dounia Tazi and Jordyn Woods, who shot Polaroids of her for The Kylie Shop, and is also part of Urban Outfitters’ Class of 2017.
Why We Love Her: Barbie doesn’t allow any of her Insta shots to be altered, she “stands up for stretch marks,” and promotes body positivity on her channel. She is leading the curvy girl revolution!
Who: Simone “Slick Woods” Thompson
Instagram: @slickwoods | Age: 20 | City: NYC
Brand Highlights: F/W 17 runway shows for Yeezy, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, and Jeremy Scott; Features in Glamour, Purple Magazine, Oyster Mag, and a feature & cover shot by controversial photographer Terry Richardson for Office Magazine; Video content and an editorial in Vogue; Campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ray Ban, and adidas for Urban Outfitters.
Why She’s IT: She's a Yeezy model, low-key parties with Bella, Kendall & Stella, and is a straight up bad bish.
Why We Love Her: Her Instagram tagline alone makes us swoon: Astronaut/Backwood Slayer/Retired Trapper/Assassin/Professional Hanger/Viking/Naive Oldhead/Lion of LionsNY/Real N*gga Activist/CryBaby
Who: Halima Aden
Instagram: @kinglimaa | Age: 19 | City: Minnesota
Brand Highlights: F/W 17 runway shows for Yeezy (her catwalk debut), Max Mara, and Alberta Ferretti (alongside the Hadid sisters); Features in Vogue and Refinery29; Interviewed by her “queen” and fellow Somalian model IMAN for her first print editorial & cover for CR Fashion Book shot by fashion legend Mario Sorrenti.
Why She’s IT: She originally made headlines last year as the first Miss Minnesota contestant to wear a hajib on stage during the pageant, and has since skyrocketed into the world of modeling. In between hangs on set with Paris Jackson and Gigi Hadid, she also attended this year's International Somali Awards to show support.
Why We Love Her: Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Somali-American Halima wants to use her platform to continue to spread the message that “diversity IS beauty." Now that's a message that we can stand behind.
Who: Naomi Shimada
Instagram: @naomishimada | Age: 29 | City: London
Brand Highlights: Features in Cosmopolitan UK, i-D and Wonderland Magazine; Campaigns for Nike Women, TTYA London’s Christmas collection, and adidas; Partnered with H&M for LFW.
Why She’s IT: She was just named the “New street style star to watch” by Vogue, recently wrote a piece on feminism and the naked female body for Refinery29 UK, and is always that girl at the fashion week parties from Kenzo to Topshop. She receives coveted invites to industry events like the British Fashion Awards and the Elle Style Awards, sits front row at shows like Ashish & Marques Almeida, and takes Instagram photos with Stormzy.
Why We Love Her: Naomi is a model, activist, travel filmmaker (she considers herself "the female Anthony Bourdain"), a regular columnist for InStyle, and seemingly having a good time. If we're ever in need of a mood lift, we head to her Instagram which is chock full of colorful photos and amazing videos of her “dance therapy." Trust us, she's worth the follow.
Who: Tavia Bonetti
Instagram: @taviabonetti | Age: 23 | City: LA
Brand Highlights: Feature interviews in W Magazine, Hype Fresh Mag, and Paris online pub Folkr; Editorials for Highsnobiety, Hypebae, and Leen Mag; Burton Girls Ambassador.
Why She’s IT: She's followed on Instagram by industry influencers like OFF-WHITE's Virgil Abloh & Gigi Hadid, regularly hangs with A$AP Nasty, and has an Instagram full of shots taken by cool kid photographers like Hannah Sider and Shane Gonzales (Founder & Artistic Director of streetwear brand Midnight Studios).
Why We Love Her: Tavia has been referred to as "the human equivalent of a tequila shot" for her sense of humor and enthusiasm, and is able to balance sexy, cool, and tomboy in almost all of her shoots. In addition to modeling she also doubles as a snowboarder/skateboarder (hence the Burton partnership), and her Instagram account bounces from cool editorial shots to group skater photos and street style snaps of her covetable tomboy swag.
Who: Genesis Vega
Instagram: @genvegaa | Age: 19 | City: NYC
Brand Highlights: Features in NR Magazine and Galore; Highsnobiety Valentine’s Day editorial; Print campaigns for Samantha Pleet S/S16 and Slashed By Tia for VFiles; Modeled her exclusive underwear set for "body positive lingerie" brand Neon Moon.
Why She’s IT: While just getting her start in the industry, she's always hanging out with the other NYC cool kids at VFiles, is part of Urban Outfitters' Class of 2017, and was named the “latest girl obsession” by Flare Magazine.
Why We Love Her: Genesis is of Dominican and Pakistani descent and goes by the motto “Petite is the new model.” She is always advocating for different body types and skin colors in the industry and often swaps some pretty cute Instagram comments with another fly NYC teen making waves in the scene.
Who: Paloma Elsesser
Instagram: @palomija | Age: 24 | City: LA/NYC
Brand Highlights: Features in Vogue, Allure, Oyster Magazine, i-D, and Riposte Magazine; Campaigns for Nike's All Woman Project, denim line Good American, and video for Teen Vogue; Partnership with haircare brand Oribe.
Why She’s IT: She is officially Pat McGrath’s “Instagram Muse," posed for Amanda de Cadenet’s Warby Parker x Girl Gaze collection, and is killing it in the Nike Women “The Force Is Female" campaign. With invites to parties for Opening Ceremony and Vogue’s "Americans in Paris" event as well as her inclusion in CR Fashion Book's Class of 2017, this bish is out there slaying the curvy game.
Why We Love Her: Paloma is in with the super cool Oyster girls, sat on a panel for #UNMUTED in NYC on “Living Your Truth," and even sells her stuff on the Depop app with all proceeds going to the ACLU.
Who: Marissa Seraphin
Instagram: @marissaseraphin | Age: N/A | City: Paris
Why We Love Her: Marissa has been featured in print campaigns for Aldo, See by Chloe, and most recently shines in Converse's new “Colors of the Night” campaign. The self-described "Parisian rainbow" modeled in editorials for Purple Magazine and i-D Japan, was named as a “girl crush” by ASOS France, and recently partied alongside french musician Soko, Bella Hadid, and other industry tastemakers at the Dior Ball in January. (Fun fact: She's also muse and "wife" to Stéphane Ashpool, designer & founder of streetwear brand Pigalle).
Who: Josephine Pearl Lee
Instagram: @princessgollum | Age: 24 | City: LA
Why We Love Her: Josephine has been featured in King Kong Magazine, Nylon, and Vogue, a print campaign for bespoke LA jewelry line Legier, and most recently was the muse and protagonist of a Ghost in the Shell art initiative by LA creative Jas Davis in collaboration with the film. She's also a DJ and stylist and was just featured in Vice & i-D’s “9 LA Creatives Killing It" list. Oh, and she cited one of her proudest moment as the time she successfully made eyebrows out of Hot Cheetos fries.
Who: Minzly Johnson
Instagram: @kingminzly | Age: 23 | City: Houston
Why We Love Her: Minzly has been featured in Nylon and CRWN Magazine, a print campaign for 323 Clothing F/W 17, and slayed the street style game at this year’s SXSW music festival. She frequently collaborates with amazing photographers and creative directors for shoots (her Instagram is full of dope shots) and when she's not partying with the cool kids at VFiles, she's working on her new clothing line King Minzly Experience - a collection of custom denim garments.
Who: Braina Laviena
Instagram: @brainalaviena | Age: 27 | City: LA
Why We Love Her: Braina is a Puerto Rican dancer-turned-model who was one of the original Yeezy muses, having walked in West's show for three consecutive seasons and acting as the face of his first adidas Originals line. She most recently stars in campaigns for Kohl's and Jourdan Dunn for Londunn x MISSGUIDED (alongside Rainy Milo & Georgia Palmer), and as a budding photographer is also building her portfolio by shooting backstage at runway shows and for brands like Good American.
Feature Image by: @nikewomen