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Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown
Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

Anatomy of a 2015 It Girl

Hannah Bronfman is the perfect It girl for the Instagram age.

Clara Bow. Chloë Sevigny. Tavi Gevinson. These are just a few of the women who have been considered It girls at one point or another, and however problematic the term may be, the archetype continues to endure.

It girls are beautiful and stylish, culturally relevant and unerringly cool; among their ranks are actresses, pop stars, models, muses, athletes, politicians, and socialites. In 2015, it could be argued, It-dom has never been easier to engineer, or at least dissect. The internet has made fame less difficult to come by in general, and social media has allowed the whole process to play out in public.

What exactly does it take to be an It girl in this day and age? We break down the most crucial components, using the ever-present Hannah Bronfman as our model.


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Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Privileged Background

Though not necessarily a prerequisite, a fancy pedigree certainly helps when it comes to achieving It girl status — just look at Cara Delevigne or Paris Hilton.

Bronfman is the youngest daughter of billionaire Edgar Bronfman, Jr., heir to the Seagram liquor fortune and former CEO of Warner Music. Her mother, Sherry Brewer, is an actress best known for starring in Shaft and was once engaged to Miles Davis. Though Edgar and Sherry divorced when Hannah was two years old, she and her siblings "mingled with guests like Arthur Ashe, Samuel L. Jackson, and Motown songwriters Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson" at cocktail parties as kids, according to New York magazine.

Bronfman went on to attend New York's tony Spence School, but was expelled for smoking pot, finishing out high school at Brooklyn's Poly Prep before heading to Bard College. Hannah has never tried to hide her background, explaining in an interview last year: "I had no idea when I was younger that my friend's brothers or uncles or cousins would be connections that I would one day need. Simply from growing up in the city, my network is very vast."

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The DJ Career

DJing has long been a socialite career-of-choice, but the music world was nothing new to Bronfman. "As a kid, I was around musicians and actors, so I think that I've always had a very musical influence," she told LookTV. "Not to mention that my father loves to write music. He's written many love songs for Celine Dion and Dionne Warwick. I think I definitely have musical blood, but I myself don't have specific talents in being a musician. But I do DJ, so I guess that's where I harness it."

She stumbled upon her DJ career by mistake. Her friends, who happen to own The Jane Hotel, called her one night while she was in college and asked her to DJ a party: "I said, ‘You guys, I've never done this before!' And they said, ‘Yeah, but you said you might want to. Come 20 minutes early, we'll give you a tutorial. Just make sure you've got all the music on your computer.' Next thing I knew, I was playing till about 5:30 in the morning that night at The Jane, and it was so much fun. I kind of never looked back."

Bronfman has become a go-to for fashion companies looking to hire a cool-girl DJ, having spun for the likes of DKNY, J.Crew, Lanvin, Balmain, and H&M. She's also caught the attention of media brands, DJing parties for Cosmopolitan, New York, and even the New Yorker.

Photo: HBFit/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Fitness Obsession

We are in the midst of a cultural moment where green juice and boutique fitness reign supreme — and Bronfman has figured out how to capitalize on it. Bronfman cites her ballet background as the foundation for her interest in exercise; after college, she moved to the city with "a mission to try everything out there" and frequented spinning and boxing classes.

Last year, she evolved her in-vogue hobby into a business, launching her own health and fitness site, HBFit, where she shares workout routines and recipe ideas. Her site has turned her into a fitness personality who gets featured alongside Tara Stiles and Mary Helen Bowers and offers chia bowl recipes and "butt-blasting" tips to publications like Glamour and Style.com.

"No matter how busy I get though, I don't compromise on my eating and I don't compromise on my workouts," she told OKREAL. "I now know what people like to see from me: fitness, food, a little bit of DJ and fashion, overall girl power shit. I'm about that on a daily basis."

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Social Media Stardom

A It girl needs to appear everywhere all the time, and there is no better way to be constantly visible than to maintain a multi-platform social media presence. On Snapchat, Bronfman posts videos of her hardcore workouts and time-consuming dinner preps; on Twitter, she answers questions about what brands she wears and promotes events where she's DJing; and on Facebook, she posts updates about her latest campaigns and press.

She has the biggest following, however, on Instagram, where 176,000 fans get a play-by-play of Bronfman's fabulous life. This is where you'll see plenty of photos of Bronfman's toned physique, glamorous beach vacations, and signature nail art. BuzzFeed recently ran a cheeky list with the headline, "Hannah Bronfman Might Be The Coolest Girl On Instagram" and captions like, "OK Hannah, we get it. YOUR LIFE IS AWESOME." It's no surprise that PopSugar announced it's premiering an online series called "Hannahgram" based on Bronfman's popular account.

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Buzzy App

Anybody who's anybody in 2015 has an app. In Bronfman's case, it's Beautified, which she created and invested in along with co-founders Annie Evans and Peter Hananel. The app lets users book last-minute beauty and fitness appointments in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

"I've always been a beauty enthusiast, so I've always wanted to maintain my look, whether that's getting a blowout once a week or going to get my nails done," Bronfman has said. "Sometimes I found myself in a position where I hadn't planned for it, so I would need to sit on Google or Yelp and then call around to salons and spas, and it just was a pain in the butt. I thought to myself, ‘Why isn't there a place that's chic, a one-stop shop and aggregated source of last-minute appointments?'"

The Beautified app has received nothing short of stellar reviews from places like Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair. (We nominated it for a Racked Award last year.)

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Brand Endorsements

Aligning with big national brands is a critical way to remain in the spotlight, appeal to an even larger audience, and make some cash in the process (not that Bronfman needs it — she's set to inherit a sizeable chunk of her dad's estimated $2.5 billion). She's fronted campaigns for Banana Republic, Boohoo, and most recently, Clinique.

Beyond official partnerships (and aside from her DJ engagements), Bronfman consistently hits up events for brands as wide-ranging as Infiniti, American Eagle, and Burberry. She's also becoming a Fashion Week regular, sitting front row at Jason Wu, Michael Kors, and Fendi.

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Hot Boyfriend

Of course Bronfman has an attractive significant other who fits perfectly into her It girl lifestyle. Following a relationship with rapper Asher Roth (and a date with Kanye), Bronfman has settled down with now-boyfriend Brendan Fallis. He is also a DJ, as well as manager to Brooklyn rapper (and Bronfman bud) Theophilus London. The couple met at a pop-up nightclub at Miami's Art Basel in 2011.

They sometimes team up to DJ events together and are anything but reserved when it comes to publicizing their relationship; they use social media to document everything from impressive yoga moves to public displays of affection. They've also invited press into their Soho apartment for home tours and beauty routine breakdowns.

In an interview with Man Repeller last year, Fallis was pretty frank about how Bronfman has impacted him both personally and professionally. "Hannah's been very helpful," Fallis said. "I think the best part about Hannah and me — or in my opinion, dating someone who accentuates and brings out the best qualities in you, not in the cheesy way, she makes me smile when I'm down but someone who gives you different perspectives on things and makes you think more productively and outside the box to improve your overall business sense and mentality towards life."

Photo: Getty Images/Brittany Holloway-Brown

The Girl Gang

A tight group of friends is an essential part of the It girl package these days, but it's notably something that Bronfman lacks. She rolls with plenty of cool girls — the aforementioned owners of The Jane, designer Kaelen Haworth, fellow DJ Chelsea Leyland, celebrity hair stylist Laura Polko — but she doesn't appear to have a certified #squad (see: Taylor Swift, Rihanna). We're calling it: building a girl gang will be the next and final phase of Bronfman's 2015 It girl domination.


Editor: Julia Rubin
Photo illustrations by Brittany Holloway-Brown

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