Instagram models & influencers are really struggling in the quarantine economy

The rise of the Instagram model and Instagram influencer is something I still don’t completely understand. I know, I’m super-old. I feel even older when I really examine the phenomenon. So… how do people even “find” the influencers so that they, the mere peasants, can be “influenced.” Is it just like a next-level “here’s a hot girl, look at photos of her” thing? Men like looking at the hot girl and women want to buy the makeup she endorses? I don’t really know. But I do know that the party is over for a lot of these influencers and “models.” They were riding high with tons of cash and little overhead from shilling diet teas and waist trainers, and now the economy is collapsing and everyone is self-isolating.

Hundreds of thousands of folks are outta work due to the coronavirus pandemic … and even smoking hot girls who get paid for social media posts are feeling the pinch. Abigail Ratchford, who has a legion of 9 million Instagram followers, tells TMZ … her IG sales are grinding to a halt amid the outbreak, which is alarming considering she’s used to making around $500,000 a year from sponsored IG posts endorsing products, paid shoutouts and merchandise.

AR says she still has monthly deals that require her to post and keep some cash flowing in, but she’s gotta get creative to produce content because she can’t call on makeup artists, hair stylists and photographers due to Cali’s “Safer at Home” order. Now, she’s a one-woman band. There is a sliver of hope for the self-proclaimed “Queen of Curves” … Abigail says other IG models are paying her for shoutouts to drive traffic to their pages, and it could continue because it’s harder than ever to bring in new followers.

The outlook is much worse for Ella Rose and her 811,000 IG followers. Ella, who is Julian Edelman’s baby mama, tells us she hasn’t had any new ad inquiries since last week, and she’s used to getting a few daily pitches from companies asking to pay her for tagged posts. Ella says she had 2 shoots scheduled this week, but the photographers both canceled. Now, she’s using a timer to shoot her own content.

Another IG model with over 2 million followers tells TMZ … a lot of her prepaid posts are being put on ice, because some of the products were from China and the companies are worried about backlash and insensitivity surrounding COVID-19. What’s more, she says a lot of her long-term contracts are ending in the next couple weeks, and companies want to wait until April to renegotiate.

Desiree Schlotz, who has 423K IG followers, tells TMZ … things are pretty tough right now, and it’s hard to get content when you’re limited to only shooting inside your house, though it’s forcing her to be more creative and think outside the box. Desiree says she’s had brands back out of working with her because of the sensitive nature of the coronavirus climate, and other people are delaying payments or scrapping plans for paid posts because everyone is losing work.

[From TMZ]

I just… I mean, yes, I feel sorry for every person who is out of work or struggling to put together deals at this moment. It sucks, and it’s going to get a lot worse for everyone, I’m sure. But I also feel like… when you’re job is being hot in the digital economy, you have to know that this can happen, right? When your career is “being good/hot on Instagram,” surely you’re aware of the fragile nature of the thin economic ice on which you’re standing?

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71 Responses to “Instagram models & influencers are really struggling in the quarantine economy”

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  1. Allz says:

    Holy shit that first picture. She doesn’t even look real. How is that goals?

    • whatWHAT? says:

      literally looks like a mannequin. and her hairline is WEIRD.

      • hunter says:

        She is wearing a black headband, look closer and it’s not as weird.

        Otherwise yeah, she doesn’t look normal and is known for a lot of photoshop (she’s not that slim).

    • Mei says:

      This!! I don’t even understand how that is supposed to be something people should think is beautiful or hot or whatever, it just looks incredibly fake to me. Like a real life Barbie, which is absolutely no compliment. And people wonder why there are increasing levels of insecurity and mental health problems stemming from looks – normal is not good enough now.

      • Yeahbutt says:

        I’ve literally never seen any of these “models” & didn’t know it existed. What a stupid f’d up world where women distort & objectify themselves & make bank selling toxic products. Is this covid a plague, like, an angry God thing?

    • Golly Gee says:

      She literally doesn’t look real, like she’s been manufactured in a life-like robot factory in Japan.

    • Arpeggi says:

      My first thought was that this is a bot… And I still think she is. Aren’t there a lot of known bot influencers anyway? (and how can you be influenced by a bot?!?! Darn! I’m old…)

      • Erinn says:

        No hahaa. There’s a lot of bots as followers and commenters… but not real ‘influencers’. There WAS a Lil Miquela and another CGI girl created by the same company at one point. But this is just the result of plastic surgery, about an inch of makeup, and a ton of facetune.

    • Trillion says:

      If I want to look at something like this, I’ll binge re-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      The last pic scares me more than the first. Just a *tad* too much photshopping on that thigh gap.

      And I would hope these girls would be saving for a rainy day because when you’re business is being “young & hot,” you absolutely have a shelf life. There’s always someone younger and hotter coming up behind you.

      • Nikki* says:

        THANK YOU! I was going to admit, with some embarrassment, I literally didn’t even know it was possible to have so much space around one’s…crotch area! I am flabbergasted.

    • goofpuff says:

      THe so-called influencer/insta-models all use ALOT of Facetune, photoshop, makeup apps to change how they look. Majority of them don’t even look anything like that in real life even with full makeup. It’s all very very super fake. So I called bullshit on not being able to get makeup artists or hairdressers. They fake it all anyway.

  2. Aims says:

    I find these ” models” are vapid and superficial. It might be my age talking.

  3. Pixelated says:

    Yeah….I have more sympathy for actual creators like artists and Etsy sellers.
    Also, I’m 30 and have been in instagram a long time and I still don’t know who follows these people. I think I’ve followed a few but it never lasted long as they seem soooo fake with their heavily edited photos.

  4. Krakken says:

    Ummm. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  5. Aimee says:

    I’m playing my tiny violin for these idiots.

  6. Golly Gee says:

    I wonder how poor Olivia Jade is holding up, having just started posting again. So many crosses to bear. Poor girl can’t catch a break. /s

  7. Snowslow says:

    The notion of Insta influencer/followers makes me instantly grumpy.
    It’s like that song, ‘some people want to abuse you, others want to be abused by you’.

    • Lady D says:

      LOL at instantly grumpy. Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox has a Marilyn Manson version available if you want to get angrier.

  8. Jules says:

    this is depressing, it looks like they all went to the kardashian plastic surgeon. why oh why?

  9. Tammy says:

    They should have a good plan in place because they will get older as well and that will also end the cash flow. As an online retailer/small business woman I am scared for myself and people like me who actually do something to make a living.

  10. Guest with Cat says:

    I was at an outlet store with my 15 year old daughter. We were in the checkout line behind a young woman who was asked to produce an ID with her payment for some reason. She was a very pretty woman but it was clear she never pondered anything particularly deep in life. She insisted that the cashier look her up on Instagram and I kid you not, her exact words were “Because Instagram is, like, it’s like ID. Everybody knows you on Instagram. So, like, that’s the new ID.”

    There is absolutely nothing positive or good in Covid-19. It’s a lethal virus that is killing people and causing untold misery and destruction and stress. But in any crisis we can find the opportunity to identify the potential to make positive changes. And I think this may be an opportunity to step back from the rampant narcissism that has infected our cultures.

    That’s not to say all social media influencers are narcissistic. It’s actually a legitimate way as any to market products to a receptive audience and far less intrusive than the data tracking crap that spies on us nonstop. But certainly there are aspects of the social media culture we can tone down a little and other aspects we can raise up a bit more. Perhaps these influencers can up their game and add more meaning to their content than nonstop self promotion and product flogging.

  11. Erinn says:

    I mean, a lot of these influencer folks are YOUNG. They’re not known for being super bright. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority think it’s a sustainable living just based on a lack of self awareness, lack of life experience, and clearly having parents who have enabled them their whole lives. I doubt many of them are banking away their money because they feel the need to ‘flex’ so much on IG to keep the money flowing. The ones that are smarter likely have money managers, but they’re probably the minority.

  12. ChillyWilly says:

    $500,000 a year?? I just don’t get it. I hope the IRS is making sure these morally bankrupt morons are paying taxes.

    • hunter says:

      NEWSFLASH: Abigail Ratchford is known as a pay-for-play and entertains men for money.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        …Which should not be outed without her consent if true. The fact that it may just may be typical CDON’T Qanon foolishness- in other words, a lie- is just another layer to already predatory behavior.

    • Silverhandle says:

      Kim Kardashian gets $500K per post. That’s the kind of economy we have.

  13. Gina says:

    These IG famous people are so young and don’t see the bigger picture. They’ve been riding the moment and their moment has come to a crashing halt.

    Lots of young people who’ve been coasting along. Now they are getting a big life-lesson.

  14. OriginalLala says:

    I am definitely not gonna cry if Instagram “influencers” go the way of the Dinosaurs….

  15. Lucy says:

    It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Coronavirus put an end to this vapid brainless influencer culture. They should all go find some real jobs after this. This just shows how empty and pointless these people are. They will not be missed and the world will discover we never needed them to begin with. Farewell, influencers.

    • Mumbles says:

      Agreed. And I suspect, like real modeling, there are very few of them who make a lot of money, some that make a modest amount, but the *vast* majority of them work in exchange for a coupon from a sponsor or a free product – and to brag to their friends that they’re “influencers.” Time for these people to do something useful.

      And as for the looks of these models, they all look like computer-generated avatars. It was hard enough to grow up with the standards of beauty being genetically exceptional men and women who were occasionally airbrushed. It must be awful for kids these days to compare themselves to images that don’t even exist in a real form.

    • Silverhandle says:

      Would have thought their industry was somewhat less vulnerable than a lot of others. if they can do their own makeup and hair, they can still do sponsored posts and encourage people to buy stuff online.

  16. julia says:

    I’m weeping for them. While people are dying, being isolated from their friends and loved ones, these poor plastic women aren’t making any money from shilling products they probably don’t even use. The tragedy. So much more horrendous that a global pandemic..

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    You mean because everyone is quarantined at home and ONLINE, they’re out of work? Because they have to be creative and do it themselves? They’ve never had such an immediate and vast online audience in the history of internet. Bless their hearts.

    • Guest with Cat says:

      Lol, yeah you’d think now would be the time for them to figure out how to ensnare an essentially captive audience.

    • Alisha says:

      I do not know about the people featured in this post, but a lot of these “influencers” are also travel models, so they get sponsored by hotels and airlines or tourism boards to do photo shoots of themselves at various destinations and for some of them that is their full time job. With the travel ban in place, they lose those sponsorships and that income stream.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        So, while the world is quarantined, they can’t capitalize on a captive audience by talking about places they’ve gone, places to visit, what all these locales have to offer, get in the kitchen and make some cultural dishes, design the room with cute apropos decor and dive into culture, discuss their products within these parameters and try to have fun creating a different spin, a job within a job…they can’t do this?

      • SomeChick says:

        It’s a great time to take online courses and level up!

  18. A says:

    If you’re making 500k a year and don’t save anything in such a volatile business that rarely has legs past 30, you have some growing up to do. You should be influencing your people to do some of that too.

  19. ME says:

    Oh you mean the vapid women selling garbage tea to impressionable youth is having a hard time selling their products now? The same products they would never themselves drink? Yeah ok, no sympathy here. Plus this will give them a good dose of reality that they won’t be “hot” forever and that someone/something new will always come along to take their place. Get an education and do better girls.

  20. Jessica Cozzola says:

    f these people

  21. Jane says:

    These aren’t the greatest jobs to have, but I really hope the women holding them don’t get tarred and feathered because of their vapidity. So many jobs are bs, but are considered “respectable” because they aren’t majorly held by women, and aren’t focused on beauty. Beauty is an important part of our culture, and while I hope our standards become better and more inclusive, we shouldn’t dismiss these Instagram influencers for not doing “real work”. It is work. We may not like it, but it’s a source of income that’s currently under threat due to a pandemic.

    • NotHeidisGirl says:

      Sorry, but noone‘s life would be worse if there were no influencer. That‘s probably the most useless „job“ ever.

    • ME says:

      They promote dangerous products to young impressionable women. There is NOTHING respectable about that. Those detox teas are horrible !

    • lucy2 says:

      If someone gets a following for really researching products, trying them, and giving honest, helpful reviews…great.
      If someone earns $500K for photoshoping herself into a barely human to promote fake, scam, or even dangerous products….NO. I’m not going to cry for them.

    • tcbc says:

      I agree with you, Jane.

    • Naddie says:

      That’s the thing, beauty shouldn’t be part of our culture at all. This is what will make them go insane when age comes. And let’s not forget this is not real beauty, but a manufactured version of one of the many types of beauty.

  22. nicegirl says:

    These IDIOTS

  23. nicegirl says:

    I think Desiree is the prettiest.

  24. Sequinedheart says:

    This was one of the first things that came to mind when travel bans and safer at home orders were put in place: influences are gonna be hard up for content. Now they can’t post fake photos looking like they are constantly jetsetting because haha, no one is able to go anywhere.
    Omg, you’ll have to actually, like, get a tangible skill set? Shocking….

  25. Marianne says:

    I mean if I were making the kind of money they were getting, I would have made sure to put a decent amount away for savings. If they were smart, Im sure they can easily survive this time. I feel more for those that had minimum wage jobs that are now laid off.

  26. Hannah says:

    Absolutely ZERO f**** given. I go out of my way to AVOID buying anything ‘promoted’ by an Influencer. I block the brand they are shilling on all SM platforms. I am hugely privileged to work with some incredibly talented, hard working actors and actresses and (for me, more importantly) AMAZING crew. On the odd occasion we have ‘had’ to work with an Influencer, the lack of on set etiquette, the diva demands, the tardiness, the time spent taking selfies while we’re trying to get the shot in the can so we can work a 14 hr day, the way they bring their skanky AF nails and get our MUA’s to give them mani & pedis, and they STILL want wardrobe from the shoot – in exchange for exposure makes my blood BOIL. Whew, sorry so salty… I’m sure there are a few good eggs, but I’ve yet to work with one. Rant over :) Peace… Stay safe out there

    • lucy2 says:

      I love all the ones who try to get free stuff, and claim “exposure” when they barely have any followers.
      Exposure doesn’t pay the bills.

  27. Sandy Eggo says:

    Yeah, I’m a cranky old, but I’m saving my sympathy for those who’ve lost actual jobs that require work other than being vapid and Photoshopped. And for people like cashiers at grocery stores who still have their low-paying jobs but are risking their and their families’ lives just by going to work.

  28. Caty Page says:

    I’m in my 30s and these women still make me feel insecure because they warp the minds of men to have wildly unrealistic expectations. I can’t imagine being a teenager in these Insta-influenced times.

    Then again, none of my exceptionally bright students seem interested in this culture and less intellectual minds will always flock toward the vapid.

  29. Kimmie says:

    I bet they wished they actually saved their money instead of buying who-knows-what.

  30. Katrine Troelsen says:

    1) Why does anyone want to look like the first woman? She looks like a doll from Lars And The Real Girl
    2) I feel sorry for everyone losing their jobs in this crisis, except for these people; first of they got paid way too much and so should have saved some of it and secondly, some of them shill shit products like detox tea
    3) Dont they mostly live off of making girls hate their own looks and trying to sell them something? I actually maybe be enjoying if they go out of “business”

  31. KG says:

    I’m an indie writer and my sales are zilch the last couple of weeks. I’m still advertising and getting some post and page engagements but those are not sales (or page reads on Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, for which I am also paid). I’m worried about people getting sick and I’m also concerned about the business I’ve worked so hard to create. We will all ride this out together as best we can. Love to all the writers and commenters who have enriched my life for many years now!

  32. Mina_Esq says:

    I looked at her Insta. She is a pretty girl, but her aesthetic is that of a higher end escort or stripper. I can see why men would flock to her page, but I’m surprised that there are so many women that seemingly aspire to look like that. Is it just the money that they admire? If so, if we are being real, $500,000 per year is not really baller level, if she is reporting and paying her taxes. I don’t understand it, but I certainly cry no tears for these plastic posers.

  33. Veronica S. says:

    I mean, as much as I hate Instagram culture, I’m not going to completely hate on young people using their genetic fortune to drum up cash in a country where college systems are designed to take you for broke and give you obstacles every step of the way to decent money. I just don’t feel particularly bad seeing them get hammered by the recession either, lol.

  34. Bumblebee says:

    You know they’re yacht girls right? Instagram is their shop window

  35. Dani says:

    Just because it’s a good money maker right now, it doesn’t mean there’s a viable business over the long term. Potential advertisers have now discovered the inherent flaw in IG influencer culture – the inability to grab attention through a single person when there are a zillion other things competing for eyeballs – so they will naturally shift the allocation of their ad dollars elsewhere.

    It’s like gravity – what goes up, must come down.