Food content has been flooding social media, but fashion models have especially found themselves immersed in a world of quirky recipes and daily updates.
Discourse around eating and food has been prevalent for as long as humans have communicated. Whether it be the passing down of generational recipes, or the latest reality TV star’s cookbook, the influx of social media over the last few decades has only made this easier.
TikTok and its digestible format is the latest hub for creators to share what they’re eating, how they’re eating, and the comments carry on this conversation. But models on TikTok are at the forefront of the food content trend, with the hashtag #modeleatinaday being at 1.3m views.
Many of these videos consist of casual run-throughs of what a model may be eating at that moment. These videos appear to be fun, light-hearted and help bridge the gap between the glamour in their line of work and nuances of everyday life and relatability.
Iris Law, a rising model and daughter of British actors Sadie Frost and Jude Law, is high up on the newfound list of part-time food creators. Whilst she may be known for major campaigns such as Versace or the latest Victoria’s Secret film, online it is her niche eating habits that are picking up attention.
One of her most watched videos has over 300,000 views and Iris is seen sitting in her ceramics studio on a break as she details her latest favourite snack; Papaya, Mango, cottage cheese and cinnamon on toast, before going on to list some nutritious benefits of this recipe.
The comments however were undecided over her creativity. The most-liked comment reads “Great snack for a bird” whilst another says “Iris I’m obsessed [,] cooking book when.”
But it is just that conversation that keeps viewers engaged. Whether they would use the recipe or not is far from the intention of the post itself, but rather used as a way to relate to viewers and Iris’ engagement in her comment sections reflects this. She and her audience go back and forth giving each other advice and tips on food.
Iris is one of many models who has used her culinary interests to forge a community of people who wait for her next video and perhaps it is her colloquial style that keeps them coming back.
But food accounts have just as much of a hold over those models without souring numbers of views or followers.
Louie has been working as a model whilst studying and says that he has been posting his meals on his TikTok for six months now.
“It’s not really something I do consistently but when I do, I think it’s more for me. I use it to track and document recipes I have made and I’m a nutrition student too so I also use it to see how what I’m eating will benefit my body”
“In terms of modelling, I think we all have a certain relationship with food where if we eat well, we will look better and vice versa. So when your job is based on appearance you are going to pay more attention to what you’re eating”
Whilst Louie may not engage with his food account for branding and audience purposes like Iris, it is clear to see that models are aware of their relationship with food and often social media is used as a vessel to carry that conversation forward.
Time and time again we see the most successful content creators being those who practice being relatable and expose their quirks in comfortable environments and in exchange this allows the audience to also feel comfortable and helps build on a relationship of closeness.
But since there is such a crossover between those working in fashion and those on social media, roles that are now expected to exist simultaneously, this also comments on the fashion industry’s relationship with food and what this phenomenon means from a brand perspective.
It’s nothing new that the fashion industry has had a turbulent relationship with both food and eating for as long as time goes back.
Whether it be the ‘cocaine chic’ era of the ’90s or the bombshell blonde times of the late 2000s – food has been used as a way to maintain the standard of thinness across the industry and it does leave us to question whether this new age of fashion is a sway towards wellbeing or whether it is simply another marketing stunt.
Victoria’s Secret for years on end was a staple brand within any young girl’s wardrobe, but more than that, it was a fantasy that we enjoyed being engulfed in.
At their peak, they had hundreds of stores across the globe and were raking in $8 billion (£6,6 bn) in sales but it was their runway that sold the real dream.
For two decades the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show would invite attendees from all stretches of the entertainment world whilst millions would tune in to watch the fashion event of the year, however, it was the Victoria’s Secret angels that made the brand what it was.
But this wasn’t just a term coined for anyone who walked their show, it was limited to a select few models who were chosen to be completely intertwined with the brand as it was felt that they represented it best; Their image and standard being what women across the globe would aspire towards.
This image existed off the runway too. The angels, being representatives of the global franchise, were under the spotlight at all times; Even their eating habits.
Before the 2002 show, supermodel Gisele Bundchen was photographed eating pizza whilst in hair and make-up, before walking the show and this sent the media into a frenzy.
A woman whose job was to embody the pinnacle of femininity, much like the models on TikTok today, was playing the role of an everyday woman good enough to be relatable, but just as fantastic so that she could be aspired towards.
Whilst this dynamic continued for many years through YouTube videos and morning show interviews where the models would preface that they did eat ‘normally’ and that it was the intense workouts that kept them at a Victoria Secret standard, in 2018, Adriana Lima, revealed that she did in fact avoid solid food altogether for weeks leading up to the show.
It only snowballed for the brand from here as many other accounts were brought to light, including that of Ed Razek, a top Victoria’s Secret executive at the time, shaming models for eating backstage.
The brand eventually experienced its downfall after issues of inclusivity more generally, but especially involving size and eating culture amongst models. Much of this is revealed in the 2022 documentary series Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons.
Since then, there have been many cultural reforms in the world of modelling, much of those since 2015 when France, a major fashion hub, passed a law targeting brands that used especially underweight models. Changes have been seen by those in the very midst of it.
Amelia, a 25-year-old international model has been working since she was 16 with one of the top agencies in London: “I was around when being skinny was cool and so to be on set as a teenager whilst those kinds of habits were expected of you, it was not the best,” she said.
“But now a client will have a completely different approach. Any set will have a food and drink table with stuff that caters to everyone, there will be scheduled in lunch times, it’s very much about eating normally and well, but just the good things.”
Clinical psychiatrist, Sabaika Tahir, has worked with a large fashion and entertainment clientele for the past 20 years. “A significant change I have seen over the years in terms of approach to work and wellbeing amongst models especially is that there is a lot more accountability on all sides. Models and clients alike engage in dialogues of honesty,” she said.
“This benefits the model in terms of her relationship with food and nutrition, the client is branded to be more authentic and most importantly the especially young people that consume such products are given a well-rounded perspective.”
Featured image by Naina Humayoon.