If looks could steal

Strut your stuff: Models on the runway for Vivienne Tam. You - yes, you! - could be starring in Tam's next catwalk show, thanks to a contest the designer is doing with WeChat.

A crook that looks like a male model has caused an online frenzy. Has the world gone mad?

Ah, the wonders of social media. Besides providing an avenue for people to erm, socialise, it’s a platform nowadays to unearth potential models. Just witness the (unwarranted?) online frenzy that ensued over “Hot felon” Jeremy Meeks.

Last month, Meeks, 30, was one of four men arrested in raids in Stockton, northern California after a spate of robberies. His booking photo was used on the Facebook page of the Stockton Police department.

That Facebook page was then flooded by women with lust-fuelled comments about a criminal who looks distinctly like a male model. They swooned over his sharp cheekbones and baby blue eyes. And despite finding out that he is married, many still want to know what he is up to.

Within a day, his mugshot had over 11,400 likes and more than 2,800 comments, while it had been shared nearly 300 times on Facebook.

The mugshot that launched a thousand lust-fuelled comments. This photo of Jeremy Meeks, a 30-year-old convicted felon, garnered over 11,400 likes on Facebook. — AFP

“OMGGG superrrrrr Delicious,” commented Adjutha Lambertina, while Michelle Asher Morales asked: “Can we be handcuffed together ... lordy!!” Aiyo, Americans, they’re a crazy bunch, eh?

Due to his infamy, Meeks – also dubbed “the world’s most handsome crook” and “Dreamy McMugshot” – has gotten himself a talent manager. “Jeremy has an amazing look and has received international attention, which I feel can only help him flourish in the entertainment industry,” said Meeks’ agent, Gina Rodriguez. (Me thinks Tyra Banks is already scouting police lockups for her next instalment of America’s Next Top Model.)

The 186cm-tall Meeks is being offered modelling contracts and a role in a porn movie. In a statement, the porn company (charmingly named Dogfart Productions) said it is ready to “make the dreams of hundreds of thousands of horny women and one man looking for a new start come true”.

Away from this unhealthy fascination with bad boys, Vivienne Tam has just announced a partnership with WeChat. What’s the connection between a renowned fashion designer and the fastest-growing social communications app, you’re wondering?

Well, they are kicking off a worldwide contest to find the next runway “It” girl. That winner will be flown to New York for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk the catwalk in Tam’s Spring/Summer 2015 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September.

Open to contestants across the globe, aspiring fashionistas can submit their information using the WeChat app or contest site (wechatapp.io/vivienne-tam-model-contest).

From all the entries, Tam will select her top choices. She will then turn the contest over to her WeChat community who will vote to select the final runway winner. The runner-up will also receive one free pass to attend the NYC Fashion Week show.

“WeChat with its all-inclusive platform, allows me to connect globally with my fans to discover new faces who will have a unique opportunity to become fashion’s next supermodel,” enthused Tam. “I am excited to find a super talent who embodies true spirit to star in one of the biggest fashion events of the year.”

A visual of the Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign. Casting through Instagram appealed to the designer.

Meanwhile, the executives of Marc by Marc Jacobs also skipped model casting calls in favour of a social media contest.

“It seemed like a great idea to me, as casting through Instagram seemed cool, current and strong,” designer Jacobs said in a media interview. “We wanted the ads to shout with youth and energy … to be fresh and reclaim the spirit that the collection had when we first conceived of it – to be another collection, not a second line.”

There were nearly 70,000 submissions (tagged #CastMeMarc) in the week-long contest. The submissions were narrowed down to 30 girls from around the world, and ultimately to nine lucky winners who will appear in the fall campaign, launching next month.

Also plucking their latest face from an Instagram contest was Asos. The online British retailer selected Lauren Punter from more than 2,000 entries to front their plus-sized section. The #MakeMeACurveModel winner told Vogue UK: “I entered the competition on the final day and I have never done anything like this or entered a competition like this before.”

All these makes one wonder: Whatever happened to the good old days of getting “discovered” as one strolls down the street?

Somewhere out there, Kate Moss must be pouting in disapproval.

William may not be model-worthy but his diva dog is; check out his Instagram (@willkckee). Or send your feedback to star2@thestar.com.my. We’d love to hear from you!

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If looks could steal


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