If you're not in love with rising male model of the moment, Lucky Blue Smith (who goes simply by Lucky Blue), then it's probably because you're not a 14-year-old girl. I'm going to refrain from making a Zoolander joke about Blue Steel, because I want you to think that I'm above "dad jokes," but please just imagine it in your heart. Smith is riding some serious momentum coming out of Paris Fashion Week: His band played their first show, he's nabbing national ad campaigns, and he's got everyone paying attention to him. Though Lucky Blue has traditional male model features (i.e. chiseled ones), his look is youthful overall, and his washed-out blonde hair makes his surreal blue eyes pop.
Just a few short months ago, no one knew L.B.'s name but thanks to the internet — and the way his fans use it to engage with him — he's blowing up and even being called fashion's current "it boy." Sure, being shot by French photographer Hedi Slimane at the age of 12 definitely gave him a good push in the right direction, but it's the hundreds of thousands of teens who have helped propel him to this level of stardom.
Watching adolescents freak out over Blue's spot in the H&M Loves Coachella Campaign is bringing back all of my boy band worship memories (hey Zach Hanson), but like, on a whole other level. With nearly 780,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 100,000 on Twitter, his following can best be described as rabid. Seriously, one comment I read said, "I love you more than I love myself."
But that's not all: When Lucky offers his fans a chance to meet him by setting up meet-ups on Instagram, hundreds show up in a mob of hormones and devotion. Because he's got natural-born, traditionally attractive "model looks," it's not like he couldn't be a model without this social media support. But it's definitely capital that brands are cashing in on.
So many of the things that are made for the "teenage girl gaze" from One Direction to Pretty Little Liars, get brushed off as being unimportant or frivolous. The celebrities they like, the clothes they wear, the books they read, the way that they talk, and the music they listen to classed as vapid and unimportant. This is often code for the girls themselves being considered vapid and unimportant. It's not a new phenomenon and the fangirls have been labelled "silly" for decades now — which irks me to no end. I'll never forget my fourth grade teacher's dismay over the way I chose to demonstrate my above-average reading level by devouring the Clueless book series.
As adults, we call the things that they enjoy our "guilty pleasures" or even mock them (like in Jimmy Fallon's sketch "Ew"). But like it or not, teenage girls drive sales and create stars: Smith's rapid success proves that they have their influential hooks into couture fashion now, too. It's an endorsement for Smith's career as much as it is a testament to teen girls' taste-making ways.
But it's simply frustrating and infuriating to watch adults take their money to then turn around and laugh at how seriously these girls take themselves and the things they care about. Teen girls are more than their hobbies and interests, certainly, but their interests are shaping industries of all kinds. They're nuanced humans in progress and deserve to be treated as such, whether it's about school or social issues or the male model du jour.
Images: Getty; Instagram/luckybsmith