GLO's First Model: Adrienne Gao

At thirteen years of age, there were few things more entertaining to me than flaunting in pretty clothes or prancing in front of a camera or some combination of the two. And if that sounds shallow, it’s because it sort of is. That being said, you can imagine how I jumped at the opportunity when I was approached by Zehra and Sophia in the seventh grade to become a model for GLO. In my mind, it was a simple tradeoff — I got some cool, new photos for my Instagram feed and GLO got promotional material for their upcoming collection. But gone are the small Instagram store days! Five years later, GLO has managed to carry out two Empowerment Campaigns and pull representation from every corner of the globe to help redefine what it means to be a woman in this day and age. I was lucky enough to watch and be part of GLO’s expansion from just another online store to major social justice trailblazer.

Over the years, social media has evolved from platforms where you might share your #ootd or what you ate for breakfast to full fledged businesses with sponsorships, brand deals and online entrepreneurs. For girls who are growing up during this extremely digitally-influenced age, this transformation is as terrifying as it is incredible. Social media has become a business in which the main source of profit is the exploitation of insecurities. And although capitalising off vulnerable young girls is a tempting and undoubtedly lucrative path, GLO’s aim has always been empowerment through their huge social media presence.

However, I must admit that although deciding to model for GLO may have seemed like an easy decision at first, it also made me keenly aware of my own insecurities. When GLO was still relatively small and I was relatively superficial, I’d often visit their Instagram account to check the amount of likes or read and re-read people’s comments on photos of me to see how they were being received and unsurprisingly, I let myself be disappointed when I saw a mean comment or noticed the ‘like’ count was lower than usual.

But as the brand has grown, it’s safe to say that I have, too. The brand’s focus on empowerment has not only redefined my previously shallow perception of the purpose of social media but is also redefining the impact a brand can have on tens of thousands of girls by maintaining positivity and inclusivity in a virtual world where body shaming and self-doubt often reign supreme. Having been involved with GLO for so long now, it’s been incredibly moving to watch women supporting women every step of the way. From two sisters empowering their fellow girl friends through fashion and modelling, to the beginnings of both a social justice and social media empire. GLO is one to watch.

gloZehra Naqviz