the year of the nepo baby

The Catwalk Nepoti

Brands love a familiar face — no wonder so many top models are second-gen.

Photo-Illustration: New York Magazine;
Photo-Illustration: New York Magazine;

What are genes, really, but subcutaneous IP? It’s no wonder that, in our sequel-ridden era, nepo babies make up so many of today’s top models: There’s Kaia of the Crawfords. Kendall of the Kardashian-Jenners. Hailey of the Baldwins and the Biebers. And, of course, Lily-Rose, an (until recently) undinged Depp. For brands, these second-generation somebodies are money in the bank.

Modeling as an industry lends itself to nepotism. While the practice of modeling is not as easy as it looks, a familiar face gets you a hell of a lot closer to your goal than if you were trying to, say, write Top 40 songs. So does having the financial support of a famous family in an industry notorious for paying pauper’s wages for all but the highest-profile jobs. And when every model is expected to be their own cross-platform social-media polymath, the nepo baby’s built-in network of high-profile posters — famous mom, famous dad, famous boyfriend, famous whoever else — is an easy value add.

Recently, Depp made the mistake of grousing to Elle about being called a nepo baby: “Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.” The side-eye from fellow models was swift. Anok Yai, who was born in Egypt to a family of South Sudanese refugees, was one of a few who shared their own career stories on social media. “I know you work hard and have your struggles just like the rest of us,” Yai wrote, addressing “the privileged” (but not calling out Depp by name). “But goddamn if you only knew the hell we go through just to be able to stand in the same room that you were born in.”

Children of Reality TV

Photo: Peter White, Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Mother: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Yolanda Hadid

Bella Hadid
IG followers: 56.6 million
TikTok followers: 6.7 million
Met Galas attended: 6
Known as: The top of the top. Every show, multiple campaigns per season, Vogue covers.

Gigi Hadid
IG followers: 76.4 million
TikTok followers: 943.5K
Met Galas attended: 7
Known as: Second only to her sister, with her own cashmere line. (But she seems to be losing interest in modeling.)

Photo: Estrop, Dave Benett/Getty Images

Kendall Jenner
Parents: Kris and Caitlyn Jenner
Age: 27
IG followers: 266 million
TikTok followers: 4.4 million
Met Galas attended: 8
Known as: Fashion’s favorite Kardashian half-sibling and one of the world’s most highly paid models.

Amelia Gray
Parents: RHOBH’s Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin
Age: 21
IG followers: 1.3 million
TikTok followers: 83.9K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: The girl who walked for Balenciaga with a face full of fake piercings. A favorite of power stylist Katie Grand.

Children of Actors and Musicians

Photo: Ken Ishii/Getty Images for CHANEL; JP Yim/Getty Images

Lily-Rose Depp
Parents: Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis
Age: 23
IG followers: 6.9 million
Met Galas attended: 4
Known as: A Chanel ambassador like her mother before her. Moving toward acting but still makes time for international Vogue covers.

Hailey Bieber
Father: Stephen Baldwin
Age: 26
IG followers: 49.5 million
TikTok followers: 10.5 million
Met Galas attended: 7
Known as: Double nepo — she’s both a Baldwin daughter and Justin Bieber’s wife. Saint Laurent ads and multiple magazine covers.

Photo: Andreas Rentz, Daniele Venturelli via Getty Images

Iris Law
Parents: Jude Law and Sadie Frost
Age: 22
IG followers: 686K
TikTok followers: 276.7K
Met Galas attended: 1
Known as: A former face of Burberry Beauty (she booked that at 16) who has since walked for Missoni and Cavalli.

Paris Brosnan
Father: Pierce Brosnan
Age: 21
IG followers: 201K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: An off-and-on model for Ralph Lauren and Balmain. Recently shot a Korean GQ cover with brother Dylan.

Photo: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images;

Esther McGregor
Father: Ewan McGregor
Age: 21
IG followers: 48.7K
TikTok followers: a mere 1,562
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: A Miu Miu favorite (the label is practically Nepo Baby HQ). This part-time tattoo artist has also booked Acne ads.

Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney
Parents: Björk and Matthew Barney
Age: 20
IG followers: 26.8K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: One of the year’s big nepo breakouts. Ads for Miu Miu, the cover of Brit mag The Gentlewoman, and an acting gig with her mother in The Northman.

Children (and Nephews) of Supermodels

Photo: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho, Taylor Hill via Getty Images

Kaia Gerber
Parents: Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber
Age: 21
IG followers: 8.8 million
Met Galas attended: 2
Known as: Supermodel 2.0. Graduated from Vogue covers with mom to Vogue covers solo.

Lila Grace Moss
Kate Moss
IG followers:
Met Galas attended:
Known as:
The look-alike daughter of one of modeling’s all-time greats. Already booking Fendi, Tommy, and Calvin Klein gigs.

Photo: Pietro D’aprano, Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

James Turlington
Aunt: Christy Turlington
Age: 28
IG followers: 31.1K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: The nephew who traded college baseball for Ralph Lauren shows.

Mingus Reedus
Parents: Helena Christensen and Norman Reedus
Age: 23
IG followers: 42.1K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: The kid whose dad did Prada campaigns — and whose mom has done everything. Baby booked Versace this season.

Photo: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for ABOUT YOU; Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Leni Klum
Mother: Heidi Klum
Age: 18
IG followers: 1.7 million
TikTok followers: 552K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: A Dior Beauty ambassador who’s now doing mother–daughter lingerie shoots for Intimissimi.

Aoki Lee Simmons
Parents: Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons
Age: 20
IG followers: 731K
TikTok followers: 221K
Met Galas attended: 0
Known as: The Harvard student who takes time away for the occasional Sergio Hudson or Pyer Moss runway show.

Photo: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Anna Cleveland
Mother: Pat Cleveland
Age: 33
IG followers: 96.1K
Met Galas attended: 1
Known as: The daughter of a legendary Halstonette, and a runway fixture in her own right for over a decade.

Children of VIPs

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP; JP Yim/Getty Images

Eve Jobs
Parents: Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs
Age: 24
IG followers: 459K
Met Galas attended: 1
Known as: Having more name than face recognition. A favorite of Louis Vuitton.

Ella Emhoff
Parents: stepmom Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff
Age: 23
IG followers: 342K
Met Galas attended: 1
Known as: A textile-art student turned Second Stepdaughter turned runway regular for Proenza Schouler and Miu Miu.

Nepo Mommy

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Maye Musk
Son: Elon Musk
Age: 74
IG followers: 627K
TikTok followers: 87.4K
Met Galas attended: 2
Known as: A longtime model — who didn’t become a CoverGirl or sign with IMG until the age of Tesla.

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Fashion Loves a Familiar Face