Brands Seek to Partner With Four-Year-Old Instagram Model
America's next top model may be a four-year-old boy dressed up in the manner of Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, and other famous faces on Instagram.
Collete Wixom runs @MiniStyleHacker, an Instagram account in which her young son Ryker can be found "hacking" the defining looks of Hollywood heartthrobs while posing with an iPhone (or just an ice cream sandwich). It's attracted more than 175,000 followers since Wixom opened the account less than a year ago, and she's beginning to be contacted by fashion brands who want Ryker to strut their stuff."I started this to do something creative and fun other than sword fighting and mud piemaking," Wixom told CNBC. "I never imagined it would become what it is today."
It's become profitable enough that Wixon, who says that she's received free products from Skechers and other brands, estimates that she'll be able to quit her job in sales publishing next year. While she originally started the account to demonstrate how to dress children fashionably on a budget, it's evolved to incorporate Ryker's best style approximations of Pharrell Williams and Liam Hemsworth, among others (he also makes a pretty good James Franco).
"I was very surprised when brands started reaching out," said Wixom. "This is all very new to me."
It's also new to Ryker, who is sometimes unaware his mother is photographing him. And while he knows about the blog, he's occasionally unclear on why these actor dudes are jacking his swag.
"I've showed him the blog, and he asks me why guys dress like him," said Wixom. "I say, 'I don't know, they must really like your style.' "
Wixom and MiniStyleHacker are part of a larger trend in which fashion brands use social media influencers to showcase their products. Gap is partnering with three tastemaking Instagram accounts to promote their fall lineup, while Wixom recently started working with an agency that matches her and Ryker with popular fashion brands.
Nevertheless, she emphasized that the blog's continued existence is entirely dependent on her son. "I don't want it to be something he doesn't like doing. He is a four-year old. He's not a model kid who will do whatever I say," she told CNBC. The earnings from MiniStyleHacker will go toward Ryker's college fund.
Still, he's going to have to do something about Ryan Gosling stealing those glasses.