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Instagram's International Influencers: One Global Recipe

Nabcosmetic pop up store in Paris, France
Nabcosmetic pop up store in Paris, France
Melissande Kingue

PARIS — In the beauty and fashion industry, Instagram and brands have begun to blend into one. And it's happening all over the world. As Sabine Delanglade explains in Les Echos, the French business daily, the social media success stories tend to follow a certain script. You need at least 50,000 followers for sponsors to start being interested in your profile, which can lead to partnerships with existing brands. Top one million, and you might start to think about launching a makeup or clothing line of your own.

But every Instagram "story" is different. Posting in English is usually required to rise to Instagram megastar status, but many haven't started out that way. Here are five international "Instabrands' who've made it big.

@MichelleLewin — VENEZUELA

Michelle Lewin was born in Venezuela but moved in 2012 to Miami, FL. At the age of 17, she focused on a fitness career. The now-fitness model started posting videos of her doing her workout, giving advice on sport and healthy eating in 2014. She has always posted in both Spanish and English on social media since she has moved in the U.S. You now can watch Lewin's workout videos in Spanish and English. She started doing partnerships with fitness brands and even wrote a book in June 2018: The Hot Body Diet: The Plan To Radically Transform Your Body In 28 Days. The Spanish version was also available (La Dieta Del Cuerpazo), a month later. She ended up creating her own clothing line WHEN (gym and streetwear) and developed meal and workout plans apps (they all have their own Instagram pages).

Michelle Lewin wearing her fitness collection one0one — Photo Michelle Lewin/ via Instragram

@HudaBeauty — DUBAI

Huda Kattan has 37.8 million followers on her professional account. Based in Dubai but born in Oklahoma City in the U.S from Iraqi parents, Kattan first started in 2010 with a Wordpress blog named Huda Beauty which today is the most viewed beauty blog on the Internet, with hundreds of makeup tutorials and tips. In 2013, she launched her beauty line also name Huda Beauty, which is sold in Sephora stores worldwide. Forbes reports that it's grown into a billion-dollard brand. Many consider Kattan the most powerful influencer in the makeup industry, even if the first product she sold were false eyelashes!

Huda Kattan at Huda Beauty's new office — Photo: Huda Beauty/ via Instagram

@ChiaraFerragni — ITALY

With 16.8 million followers, the Italian blogger/stylist made branding history with a beautifully sponsored wedding last September. For her nuptials, Ferragni inked partnerships with not with one but seven brands for her special day: Prada, Dior, Versace, Trudi, Alitalia, M&M's and Alberta Ferreti. They even had a sponsored plane transport their guests to the wedding destination. She posted: the plane was #SuppliedByAlitalia. All the sponsorships were tagged with the hashtag "#suppliedby". The hashtag #TheFerragnez was used 26,255 times during and after the wedding. Ferragni has become a huge celebrity in the fashion world, mostly with top Italian brand. By now, most of her posts are in English but she still sometimes sprinkles in some Italian, especially in her Instagram "stories." She recently "crossed the Alps' to launch a makeup collaboration with the French brand Lancôme to be available in 20 countries worldwide.

Chiara Ferragni & Fedez and their "Pomellato" rings — Photo : Chiarra Ferragni / via Instagram

@MuradOsmann — RUSSIA

Murad Osmann is known for his photos series #Followmeto. Everything started in the streets of Barcelona in 2011 when this Russian photographer went on a trip with his wife Nataly and took a simple shot of her walking with his arm outstretched holding her hand. It went viral. That moment turned his passion project into a legitimate travel business. Now, everywhere they go, he snaps a #Followmeto photo for their 4.1 million followers. More than 3 million posts have the hashtag created by Murad Osmann. The couple has their own 20-minute TV show on Channel One Russia, a kind of behind-the-scenes of how they make their online photo and video posts. The TV show is in Russian but English subtitles are available. By now, almost all of their Instagram posts are in English, as Murad and Nataly Osmann also have deals with Macy's and Napa Valley's Beringer Vineyards. Za Lyubov!

#Followmeto Moscow, Russia — Photo: Murad Osmann/ via Instagram

@Nabilla FRANCE

Like her Kardashian kounterparts, Nabilla Benattia is famous for being famous (or infamous) after her stint on a French reality TV show. Originally from Geneva, Switzerland, she came to France to take part in Les Anges in 2012. The following year, fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier choose her for the presentation of his autumn-winter collection. Benattia was a star at making headlines, most notably in 2015 for stabbing her boyfriend in a dispute. She served six months in prison, her boyfriend survived and they got married. Social media needs people like this!

With 4,4 million followers on Instagram, is one of the biggest influencers in the French language, reaching Francophone audiences around the world. Her edgy teenaged image has since been replaced by a high-brow woman. Yes, the focus is on branding, and she has recently launched a beauty brand Nabcosmetic and swimwear line. Et voila!

Benattia wearing her makeup line — Photo: Nabilla/ via Instagram

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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