Instagram's rapid rise in popularity in recent years has opened the floodgates of female model accounts. Both established and aspiring female models post an endless stream of glamour photos, seemingly-casual selfies, and 'humble-brag' posts from exclusive parties in luxurious locales. However, despite its popularity, Instagram modeling has become somewhat of a polarizing subject.
Some purists in the beauty and fashion industry, including former supermodels, have a negative view of Instagram modeling. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Rebecca Romijn said that she does not consider IG models to be "true supermodels," and hates that "social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion."
Meanwhile, proponents of IG modeling say that the social media app offers an effective tool for self-promotion and help generate revenue through sponsored advertisements. Instagram has also provided greater opportunities to those aspiring models who have been otherwise rejected by modeling agencies for not adhering to the narrow beauty standards of mainstream fashion industry. Here now are 12 gorgeous exotic IG models who you need to follow, immediately. These strong and beautiful women come from diverse backgrounds and prove that they are more than just a pretty face.
12 Dannie Riel
This self-professed foodie and fitness enthusiast initially got her start in the world of import car modeling. Hailing from Manitoba, Canada, the Chinese and French beauty hasn’t allowed her small stature (5’2) stop her from becoming a hugely successful glamour model and YouTube personality. Riel’s Instagram account, which currently has 1.2 million followers, showcases her in various swimwear and lingerie at various photo shoots and car shows. She also uses the platform to document her frequent travel adventures around the globe, including more than a fair share of food photos.
11 Brittany Dailey
Being of Black, Apache and Irish descent, Dailey has an alluring look that has helped her gain well over 200,000 followers. The buxom bombshell has starred in several high-profile music videos including Snoop Dogg’s “Boss’ Life”, Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”, and Pretty Ricky’s “Push It Baby”. She has also appeared in several television shows, including seasons 5 and 6 of the hit MTV show, Wild 'N Out -- a stint that lead to rumors that she had an affair with the show’s star and creator, Nick Cannon. In 2014, Dailey took to Twitter to dispel these rumors, stating that she "never had an inappropriate relationship with Nick, never been in a room alone with Nick."
10 Samantha Harris
Born in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Harris grew up in Australia’s Gold Coast/Northern Rivers region to an Indigenous Australian mother and German-English father. Modeling since she was 13 years old, Harris has appeared in a countless number of high-end fashion photoshoots and runway shows, including the June 2010 cover of Australian Vogue and multiple shows at Australian Fashion Week. More recently, Harris was a contestant in the fifteenth season of Australia’s Dancing with the Stars. Her Instagram account, which has 64,000 followers, showcases Harris’ fashion editorial and runway work, fitness workouts, and healthy culinary dishes.
9 Neelam Gill
Hailing from London, England, this Sikh Indian beauty is arguably the most accomplished model on this list. First signing to Models 1 at the ripe age of fourteen, Gill is now represented by Wilhelmina International. Her extensive portfolio includes photoshoots for Burberry and Abercrombie & Fitch, appearances in Vogue magazine, and walking the runway for Kanye West's Fashion Week Show and Dior. She recently became the first Indian model featured in a Burberry campaign. With more than 71,000 Instagram followers, Gill also has a YouTube channel which she uses to speak out against bullying, depression and body confidence issues. Her IG account showcases her thriving fashion portfolio, fierce selfies, and photographs of legendary rapper, Tupac.
8 Lynn Chu
This sultry Bay Area, California-bred native may not have the same level of experience as some of her peers on this list, but that hasn’t stopped her from reaching more than 800,000 followers. Chu, who is of Taiwanese and Vietnamese descent, recently won Miss HIN Honolulu 2016 -- a major accolade in the import car scene. Currently studying to become a dental hygienist, Chu also plans to attain a dual degree in public health and Mandarin. Her IG account offers plenty of bikini and lingerie photographs, fitness routines at the gym, and delicious eats at some of North Cali’s top restaurants. In a recent interview with Pop Crunch, Chu said that while “fitness is really important” to her, she doesn’t think it “should take over one’s lifestyle.”
7 Fouz Al Fahad
Twenty-four-year-old Kuwaiti makeup artist Fouz Alfahad has spent a large portion of her professional career transforming women into beautiful goddesses. Dividing her time between London and the Middle East, Alfahad has a contract with the Kuwaiti YouTube channel TVBelMokhba, where she regularly uploads makeup tutorials. Her Instagram account, which has more than 1.2 million followers, features various beauty and health tips, jaw-dropping selfies, and a considerable number of food photos. In one recent post, Alfahad took a selfie of her about to feast on a gigantic, juicy burger. Let’s be honest, here -- there’s nothing more sexy than a beautiful woman chowing down on a burger.
6 Valeria Orsini
Describing herself as being a “Latin Mix”, Valeria Orsini is of Colombian, Italian and Puerto Rican descent. The Atlanta native has modeled for H&M, walked runways for Tara Love and Lace to Lust, and has been featured on the covers of Lifestyle and Mixed Magazine. Her incredibly toned, muscular figure has been shaped by a rigorous exercise routine, which includes doing Muay Thai 4 to 5 times a week. With a staggering 3.2 million followers, Orsini’s Instagram account showcases her daily fitness workouts, bikini and lingerie selfies, and motivational mantras.
5 Megan Milan
This 21-year-old beauty comes from Detroit suburbs, East Lansing, where she is completing a business marketing degree at Michigan State University. Although she is passionate about modeling, she wanted to ensure she had a backup plan to either go into fashion or sports marketing. Milan, who is of Ethiopian, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Jamaican descent, is currently represented by Ohlsson Model & Talent. Milan recognizes that you need to have a tough skin in the world of modeling and not allow people’s hurtful comments get to you. In an interview with fashion blog Colossill, Milan said that she’s “been told [she looks] pregnant”, which is pretty ridiculous considering she’s 115 pounds.
4 Arianny Celeste
Even the most casual UFC fan is sure to recognize Arianny Celeste, who embraced her childhood nickname of “Arianny”. The self-professed fitness nerd, who is of Mexican and Filipino beauty descent, is a five-time UFC "Ring Girl of the Year". Celeste also ranked #23 on Maxim's Hot 100 list in 2010, as well as Maxim’s "Hottest UFC Octagon Girl" for its May 2010 issue. She attended college at UNLV where she majored in fitness management and nutrition. This area of expertise is clearly evident from a quick glimpse by the multitude of fitness and diet-related posts on her Instagram account, which has a whopping 2.1 million followers.
3 Julia Kelly
Julia Kelly is a model and aspiring actress that has appeared in several television and films, including Guy Code, Not Exactly News, and a guest starring role on CBS’s Scorpion. The Los Angeles native is of Korean, American Indian, Irish, African American, and French descent. Her Vine account features a healthy dose of videos focusing on fitness, romance, and friendship. Meanwhile, Kelly’s Instagram account is best known for her beach and poolside photoshoots, silly dancing videos, and food pics. Considering that she’s reached more than 1.6 million followers, it seems like she knows a thing or two about social media.
2 Val Mercado
No one could ever accuse Val Mercado, a New Yorker of Black, Spanish, and Dominican descent, of being lazy. This gorgeous lady juggles the roles of model, journalist, blogger and actress with relative ease. Back in college, Mercado balanced two jobs (which included a production assistant role on the Wendy Williams Show) while studying journalism full time. Since graduating with honors with a degree in broadcast journalism, Mercado hasn’t slowed down one bit. She went on to work as a fashion blogger and red carpet reporter for Seventeen Magazine. Her Instagram account recently reached over 1.1 million followers.
1 Marie Madore
The Dallas-bred Marie Madore got her big break a couple years ago when she was a semi-finalist in the Maxim Hometown Hotties of 2014, an accolade that also placed her among the Top 100 of Maxim Hotties for the same year. The model and dancer went on to win Miss Hot Import Nights Dallas the following year, which led to her touring with the organization as an import model girl. Nicknamed “Madore Sour”, this Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese beauty also hosts a YouTube fitness vlog with her boyfriend, Jay Ho (I can almost hear the collective groans of disappointed readers around the world). With nearly 600,000 followers, her Instagram account documents her adventures in modeling, fitness, dancing and travel.