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Scientists Figure Out a Formula to Determine Top Model Success

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Model Sasha Antonowskaia in Christian Dior.
Model Sasha Antonowskaia in Christian Dior.
Photo: Francois Guillot/Getty Images

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A team of Indiana University researchers report that they've been able to predict which new models will break out from the pack with an 80% accuracy rate. The scientists use advanced computational methods to analyze modeling stats and data from Instagram. Yahoo Style thinks Tyra Banks and the America’s Next Top Model crew ought to be worried.

Here's how the study worked: the IU scientists selected 400 models to track from the Fashion Model Directory, recording stats like the models' hair and eye color; height; hip, waist, dress and shoes size; modeling agency; and the number of runways they'd walked. The scientists then analyzed the models' Instagram accounts, cataloging their number of followers, posts per months, likes, and comments. All this research was conducted in the fall of 2014, to see how the models would do in the next season's shows.

The team then narrowed the models to 15 new faces, and six of the eight models they predicted to break out from the pack did just that. Sofia Tesmenitskaya, Arina Levchenko, Renata Scheffer, Sasha Antonowskaia, Melanie Culley, and Phillipa Hemphrey were ranked as the six most popular new models of the Fall/Winter 2015 season. Popularity was defined as the number of runways new model walked in during the Fall/Winter 2015 season.

For all the models, success factors included representation by one of 20 top modeling agencies, frequent posting on Instagram with a high number of likes and comments, and being especially tall. An additional inch over the average roughly doubled a model's chances of walking a runway.

Why were researchers studying fashion models at all? "We chose the fashion industry for this research because it represents a strong 'winner-take-all' mentality," computer scientist Emilio Ferrara said in a press release. "This aspect of survival of the fittest, plus the large amount of statistical data on professional models, makes it a perfect subject for advancing research on 'the science of success.'"