Bring back the supermodel

We’ve said goodbye to glamour and gone from Kate Moss to Lottie Moss

Artillery Row

I can’t quite believe I’m committing these words to paper, but here goes: can we please bring back the Supermodel?

Let me explain. Back in the mid 1990s, I was your average indie-kid-socialist, writing for my university’s feminist ‘zine and utterly disdaining most of popular culture. I dressed like I had fished my clothes out of the lost and found bin in my local leisure centre. I wore no makeup and never once thought about my eyebrows. I washed my buzz cut hair with a bar of cheap soap and paid a fiver to have my hair cut at a barber shop.

Lottie’s Instagram makes the old Page Three girls look demure

I grew out of my rather aggressive commitment to plainness, but I never grew into fashion.

But years later, I find myself almost yearning for those professional beauties as I look around at our current crop of freelance hotties. Supermodels were declared over a long time ago and many right-thinking women celebrated. No longer would the tyrants of fashion dictate that we all needed strive for unattainable standards of perfection. But what has this democratisation wrought? Girls who are to their fashion and beauty predecessors what McDonalds is to Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck.

The Age of the Supermodel is long dead. Now we have the Age of Only Fans.

Only Fans, in case you don’t know, is yet another platform on which people can overshare. Its business model is driven by content creators who charge their subscribers for nude pictures and videos.

The site’s popularity exploded in the first year of the COVID pandemic, growing its creator numbers from 120,00 to more than a million worldwide during 2020, and now boasting 120 million subscribers, according to a 2021 report by 60 Minutes Australia.

One comedian described Only Fans as a way of hard-up young people to make some much-needed money: Ali Macofsky described it to Joe Rogan as “the new trading of furs”. She jokingly referred to the typical, slightly desperate Only Fans creator interactions as: “here’s nudes — can I make money? Do you need anything?” 

Nothing illustrates this more starkly than the Lottie MossKate Moss debacle. 

Lottie Moss is the 24 year old half sister of 90s fashion icon and It Girl Kate. Last year, the Daily Mail reported Lottie had been axed from the Storm modelling agency (which repped Kate for much of her career) for “selling raunchy photos of herself on the downmarket erotic website Only Fans” and for getting too much plastic surgery.

The transition from catwalk to quasi-cam girl has been problematic for other reasons, too. In January, someone leaked her nude photos, and in response Lottie made all her content on Only Fans free to subscribers. A month later, she was in rehab for a “really bad addiction” to cocaine.

In spite of all this, young Lottie swears she is “proud” of being on Only Fans, where she posts such pearls of wisdom as: “and then i just stand up directly onto the couch and take my top off so you can see my tits.” Meanwhile, Kate is reported to find Lottie mortifying. 

Is it just me, or does this seem like a downward trajectory for women as a whole? I may be biassed toward my own generation, but I’m with Kate on this one. For me it’s both a matter of aesthetics — Kate’s beauty and style are far greater than Lottie’s — and also a matter of discretion. Lottie’s Instagram, which is full of crotch shots and garish lingerie, makes the old Page Three girls look demure. 

Now men have hardcore porn on tap 24/7

Gen X’er Kate was far from wholesome . She caused controversy for being too thin, for looking too young and being caught hoovering cocaine up her nose in a recording studio. But she managed to maintain a veneer of sophistication and a mystique that mostly protected her — and her net worth — from grubby voyeurism. In order to get Kate in a compromising position, some enterprising lowlife had to undertake an elaborate undercover sting operation. Lottie, on the other hand, is more than willing to out herself.

Linda Evangelista told the world she would not get out of bed for less than $10,000. Not even thirty years on, and Lottie Moss is flashing her bra at passers-by on the street in Los Angeles for clicks.

Not that she doesn’t get paid. It has been reported she makes £70,000 a month, though how she does this while giving away free content to subscribers is unclear.

I’m no economics expert, but isn’t there something about creating value through scarcity?

An argument could be made that Only Fans is a great emancipator. It cuts out the middle man, allows girls to keep more of their earnings, and means they don’t have to impress creepy old Hugh Hefner types in order to get their photos seen. 

Yeah, maybe. Or maybe it’s just throwing more petrol on an already-raging dumpster fire that young women have to walk through to navigate contemporary sexual culture. What incentive is there for young men to charm, impress or commit to a prospective sexual partner if you can just subscribe to Only Fans for an obligation-free sexual release? For £50 — less than dinner for two at Nando’s — you can message Lottie directly with a special request.

I never fully bought the feminist arguments that supermodels gave us all complexes. They were such physical outliers that yes, you felt a pang of inadequacy every time you passed a billboard featuring their impeccable frames and flowing locks. But I never met a man who expected every girl to look like that. A decent personality, a passable attempt at looking good and some availability were enough to have an active dating life. Today though, can you really say that? Now men have hardcore porn on tap 24/7, and even 16 year olds look like expensive 1980s strippers

How can women and girls who don’t want to pornify their lives compete?

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