As these intellectuals become spokesmodels, professional models seem to be increasingly photographed with books. In May 2019, Kendall Jenner was seen lounging near a pool in Cannes reading “Literally Show Me a Healthy Person” by Darcie Wilder. In December 2019, Ms. Jenner was snapped on a boat in Miami reading “Tonight I’m Someone Else” by Chelsea Hodson.
Both Ms. Wilder and Ms. Hodson have said that their books sold out on Amazon after the photos circulated online. “This capitalistic boost benefited me monetarily and, if I do say so myself, her culturally,” Ms. Wilder wrote in an essay for The Outline, because it signified Ms. Jenner’s interest in “a more imperiled creative class.” Ms. Jenner has since shared a number of books online, including “How to Cure a Ghost” by Fariha Róisín.
Celebrity book mentions can also bump book sales. The author Alisson Wood, whose book “Being Lolita” was featured by Ms. Gerber and Ms. Ratajkowski, said she saw “huge jumps” in sales and her follower count, “which, for a book that’s not a best seller, that’s a big deal.”
Ms. Wood believes that this new authors-as-models and models-as-bookfluencers dynamic is a consequence of society’s growing comfort with “beautiful women to also be smart, and for smart women to also be beautiful,” she said. “Amanda Gorman is a brilliant poet, but she can also model because she’s beautiful. Kaia Gerber is gorgeous, but she’s also really smart and loves books and wants to talk about books.”
Ms. Róisín has yet to see material gains from Ms. Jenner’s photos, but is impressed that she is engaging with the issues in her book, which “is about unlearning white supremacy and patriarchy,” she said. “It’s talking about abuse and trauma, so the fact that Kendall Jenner is reading that book, and that she’s been reading it consistently, is pretty wild.” And of the supermodel’s other reading material, given to her by her agent Ashleah Gonzales?
“If Kendall Jenner is reading Lydia Davis, that’s pretty cool.”
Harry Styles at the Strand
Ms. Gonzales, too, shares “Alt Lit” reading recommendations with her roughly 78,000 followers. “If I read something I love or something that I find relatable, I’ll pop it on Instagram to share sort of in that moment,” she wrote in an email.