What is it about them?
This photo of the girls launched over 16,000 likes and counting. Posted by their mother to Instagram, the photo of twin sisters Ava Marie and Leah Rose made waves on the Internet with headlines that include “twin beauties captivate the world.” Of course they are pretty girls but we can’t help but wonder why these sisters made such an impression. What is it about Instagram stars that make them just that – stars? We’re curious as to what makes a picture go viral other than its obvious beauty.
We’ve all heard the classic saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but is that true in every case? Do we all walk the streets seeing the world just differently from one another? Are there images that one person would find appealing but another find repellent, or is there truly a universal standard of beauty? These questions pushed us to look into what beauty truly means and why we respond so eagerly to the things we find aesthetically pleasing.
The mystery twins
This Instagram post went viral for these girls’ pretty faces with users commenting on their looks. The Clements twins’ account saw its follower count skyrocket shortly after it was launched. Since the vast majority of fans’ comments was on the twins’ outer beauty, we feel safe to say that people’s reactions to the sisters was based on their stunning appearance. As such, we’re going to focus on trying to understand what about their external looks makes them so captivating to behold, though we’re sure they both are lovely on the inside, as well.
Beauty on the surface
These twins were labeled “the most beautiful twins in the world” by a number of publications that highlighted their rise in popularity. For this, we believe it is important to keep our focus on understanding just what it is about an appearance that registered immediately as something that is beautiful. Recent studies have concluded that rather than beauty being in the eye of the beholder, there some people who are simply considered beautiful across the board.
Life in perfect symmetry
Recent studies argue that physical beauty relates directly to the “math” of someone’s face. How does math make its way into the way we view attractiveness? We can mark someone’s face into ratios and symmetry. These studies argue that the proportions of one’s face directly correlates to the evenness of bone structure and facial shape. They argue that these proportions are already ingrained into our brains and instinctively define for us what makes someone attractive.
The perfect ratio
1.618 is the exact ratio scientists claim a human face needs to be to reach prime beauty. They call this number the golden ratio. It correlates directly to the facial proportions when looking straight on at a person’s face. Dr. Stephen Marquardt, a plastic surgeon in Southern California, studies physical attractiveness from a scientific and sociological perspective and argues that human perception of beauty is constant, and that most humans are attracted to the same qualities.
Based on Dr. Marquardt’s argument, the Clements twins come extremely close to this ideal golden ratio. That seems explain the instant attention they have received, but it also raises a number of ethical questions: regardless of how cute these girls are considered, at seven, should they really be expected to be able to choose such a public career path? We look at young starlets such as Drew Barrymore who received this sort of attention at a very early age and dealt with some heavy consequences. Are they just too young?
Let’s start from the top
Before we attempt to tackle these ethical dilemmas, let’s first try to understand how this all started. Allow us to take you back to the beginning: the twins’ mother, Jaqi Clements, gave birth to the girls two years after their older brother was born. They were overjoyed with the news that they were about to expand their family. They had no idea just what kind of future life had in store for the girls and their family.
How could they have known?
Understandably so, no parent thinks about the social media future for their newborn babies. Before we jump to conclusions about the parents’ motives to post their daughters shots to the Internet, we have to admit there is no way they could have predicted the outcome and response when they decided to go public with these images. As far as Jaqi was concerned, she was just a mom proudly showing off a picture of her two adorable little girls.
Starting from birth
Almost immediately after they were born, family friends told Jaqi there was something special about her girls. Ava Marie and Leah Rose were born in 2010 with perfect health with big blue eyes and dark blond hair. People would come up to Jaqi on the street and compliment her children on their beauty and insist that Jaqi start taking them to modeling gigs. Because they were just infants, Jaqi was apprehensive about taking her daughters to these opportunities.
Despite her initial hesitation, it didn’t take long before Jaqi decided to sign her daughters up at a modeling agency. They were just infants, unable to talk, before she signed the dotted line and began taking them to photoshoots. They appeared in a number of baby brand ads posing for photographers and hawking the latest item. Jaqi argued that she was receiving so many compliments that if anyone were to usher her children into a modeling career it might as well be her.
Changing their minds
The Clements parents decided after much deliberation together that their children would go into the world of modeling. It’s impossible to know the implications of this initial decision and just what it would lead to. They weighed the pros and cons and the pros won out. Acknowledging their daughters’ natural abilities in the field, the parents agreed that one of them would always be with the girls on sets and that they’d discuss every detail of their modeling career with one another.
After some time with the modeling agency, though, the Clements decided to pull their young daughters out. Jaqi decided that it was too hard to manage all of the family’s’ affairs on top of a budding modeling career for their kids. Her first son was just entering school and her husband worked long days at the office. The lifestyle was just too hard for the family to manage and they decided to try their hand at raising their kids in a normal environment.
The Clements’ decision to take a step back seems understandable to us. We know how hard it is to raise a child: there are the sleepless nights, diaper changes, and in their case, they had three young children to care for, with two of them being infants. Ask anyone who has had twins about the difficulties of raising not just one, but two children at the same time. Their decision to live a simpler life came from the common struggles of raising babies.
Liking the attention
In the years after taking the girls out of the modeling agency, their mothers Jaqi saw the girls’ personalities develop. She wrote in her blog that as they grew from infants to toddlers to little girls, they began to form opinions and ask questions. They would dance at dinner parties for friends and neighbors and even for strangers out on the street. They seemed to thrive on the attention she would get from their surroundings, which made the idea of them modeling something she felt she should reconsider.
Returning to the spotlight
Jaqi insisted that the decision to return to modeling be up to the twins themselves. Even though they were barely seven years old, she says it was their eagerness to return to that world that encouraged Jaqi to submit them to modeling agencies. She says they wanted to do a test model shoot for a family friend’s new children’s boutique and Jaqi was able to get some headshots for agencies. She was ready to have the spotlight be shined back on her children once more.
Asking the twins how they felt
“I presented my idea to the girls that, if they were up for it, in addition to their dance classes and swim team practices they had every week, they could give modeling a try,” Jaqi wrote on her blog. She insists the decision was totally up to the twins, and that despite their very young age, signing up for a child modeling career was their decision, as they thought it would be fun to do.
Natural born superstars
The girls loved being on stage. Jaqi says that the twins loved to pose for a camera and sing a song to anyone who would listen. She said it was time to return to that stage. “Like I said before, it had been over six years since I had attempted to find an agent,” she wrote. “I still had a handful or contacts, so I decided to start there. To my surprise, I heard back from almost every single one asking to set up a time to meet the girls.”
What’s my age again?
Jaqi asked the girls on their seventh birthday if they wanted to return to modeling. She justifies the age by saying that she felt they were old enough, so that they had the judgement to make decisions for themselves. She also says she chose their seventh birthday because seven is a lucky number. She believes in the power behind the number and its multiple mystical and spiritual meanings. She says that she knew it would be a positive year for them (and the family).
Lucky number seven
The girls were born on July 7th (7/7). Jaqi applied mystical beliefs onto this number and decided their seventh birthday was the perfect time to broach the subject of returning to modeling with the girls. She says that people always told her about the positive cosmic effects of the number seven and knew it was the perfect time to mention a career to her two seven-year-olds. She also decided to pursue a modeling career for her nine-year-old son.
Insisting that it was what the twins wanted, Jaqi decided that the time was right. She says there was no question in her mind that it was time to return her children to the world of modeling and that they wanted it, too. Clearly the number seven really spoke to her. “I just had a feeling that this year was going to be a fun and exciting year for them,” she said. And man, was she right.
Ready for the world
Ava and Leah were born four and a half weeks early. Jaqi says it was their eagerness to enter the world that led to their early birth. She reflected in her blog that she knew her twins (and son) were destined for big things. The twins showed up announced on that July day and Jaqi says it perfectly encapsulates their personalities. Ava and Leah are precocious, excitable, and adventurous. They too seemed to know that life had a lot in store for them.
Although they were too young to remember their infant modeling careers, the twins jumped at the opportunity to re-enter the world of fashion and modeling. Jaqi says the twins discussed the decision with each other, as well. It comes as no surprise considering the early attention they received and the encouragement from others that they should model. It was always in the back of their minds. Finally, they decided to take the leap of faith and dive right back in.
The girls started off small. Jaqi’s family friend was just opening a boutique clothing store for children and needed models to highlight the clothing brand. They jumped at the chance to showcase their friend’s merchandise and snap some photos. She also used the opportunity to build the girls’ portfolio before she made a pitch for the Los Angeles-area modeling agencies. She figured that one may be interested, but little did she know just what the universe had in store for them.
Smile for the cameras
And so it began. The girls modeled their family friend’s clothes and began to showcase their distinctive look. Like anything in life there was a learning curve. The girls got comfortable in front of a camera and from taking direction from photographers. There was, however, some tension on the set, as the girls grew uncomfortable under the heavy lights and powdery makeup. They nevertheless powered through it, so that at the end of the day, Jaqi received the shots she needed to send off to agencies.
Turning to social media
Jaqi decided to not just send the photos out to agencies, she also started an Instagram account for the twins. She began the ClementsTwins account to boost the new photographs of her children in hopes of raising their profile online. The introduction began with this tasteful photo of the twins in a half-smile and ruffled matching dresses. The page grew in followers steadily , while Jaqi took their images door to door, to Los Angeles’ and Orange County’s modeling agencies.
Little did she know
Jaqi had no idea what was in store for the family. How could anyone predict that they would go viral? She learned how to manage social media accounts and studied the best hashtags and techniques to use to grow a fanbase on Instagram. As she continued to post pictures of their photoshoots, people began to catch on and thousands of followers subscribed to the page overnight. It didn’t take long before the twins were bonafide celebrities.
After their Instagram photos went viral, agencies began contacting Jaqi themselves. Rather than going after agencies herself, offers began to pour in. Jaqi decided to sign them up for not just one but two modeling agencies in Los Angeles and Orange County. Work came at full force and both agencies sent the girls out on auditions immediately. Mom says that they were so excited to get into the modeling world and to begin booking some jobs.
A viral family
Once the girls began to go viral in their own right, attention turned to the Clements family. Who produced these stunning girls? It turns out the girls come from good-looking stock, and that their older brother is also an aspiring model. Fans of their Instagram account were treated to a more relatable look with family photos like these. They fell in love with the family’s charisma and more personal moments. It became clear where the magic came from.
The twins are a support system for each other on and off set. They appear together in editorials and are inseparable during their downtime. It’s also the reason why audiences fell in love with them. They’re a family. Because they’re so young, fans are excited to grow up with them and discover what life has in store for them. Will they continue modeling? Will they become social media personalities? Is Hollywood next? We’re all waiting to find out.
Who knows what will come after this. For now, the Clements family is just enjoying the ride and their newfound fame. They can quit modeling at anytime and maybe they’ll do just that. Fame is not an easy thing, especially when you’re only seven years old. We’ve seen child stars lose themselves in the pressures that come with fame and success. For now, though, Jaqi and the girls are just excited about their endless possibilities.
Going with the flow
As much control as we think we have in life we can never truly know just where it will lead us. Sometimes what we think we want changes and sometimes we move far away from the place we said we’d never leave. Ava and Leah still have their whole lives ahead of them, and we get to catch them at the beginning of their journey. Thinking about their world is a little mind-boggling – could you imagine living this kind of life when you were just seven years old?
What a life
Think about where you were when you were just seven. What were you learning in school? What was your favorite sport on the playground? We imagine you weren’t driving with your mom to auditions and photoshoots. We can only imagine what a strange and unique life it is to be generating an income so young while your peers are in school and having playdates with friends. It’s definitely an atypical life they live.
Perhaps the strangest thing about this is that their family is profiting off of the work of seven-year-olds. Who’s to truly say that they are not being exploited, pushed into modeling before they’re able to fully consent to it. They are reportedly active with after-school swimming and dancing classes but most of their time is spent in the offices of fashion executives. Jaqi’s decision to sign a contract and signing her girls up for a career at such a young age raises ethical questions and dilemmas.
Growing up famous
We’ve seen throughout Hollywood history the implosion of child stars. For every Jason Bateman or Natalie Portman, there is a Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Corey Haim. We’ve seen these young stars succumb to the pressures of impossible beauty standards with stints in rehab and mental lockdowns. It’s not easy to grow up in the public eye, and it’s understandable when the burdens of expectations become too much to bear. To be regarded for your looks at seven years old certainly sets a dangerous precedent.
Setting hard limits
As long as the Clements parents keeps their children safe, they will have nothing to worry about. Psychologist Ginger Clark at the University of Southern California says that it’s up to the parents to maintain boundaries. “If you don’t have a really stable parental unit that’s setting limits ahead of time, then the roles get flipped easily and the child becomes the parent,” she says. “They’re not ready for the responsibility. And you see kids spin out a little bit.”
In the hands of the parents
Another child star, Melissa Joan Hart, told USA Today that the sanity of a child star lies in the hands of the parents. The Sabrina the Teenage Witch star says she has seen parents of child stars enable poor behavior and model bad self-esteem growing up. “You see these parents wanting to live their life through their children,” she said. “You see parents who want the spotlight. They start to look more glamorous and drive fancier cars than their kids.”
We hope that as they grow up, Leah and Ava will be allowed to stay true to themselves. As long as they are encouraged and supported to pursue – or not pursue – anything they want, they will be in safe hands. Living under a microscope, especially as you grow up and your looks change, is extremely difficult. It could be isolating and especially lonely. They must be encouraged to be strong, confident, and compassionate, with their support system that does its best to make their futures brighter.
In addition to keeping up with a hectic work schedule and constant scrutiny comes the expectations from the fans. Because they made their name on Instagram, there is a higher demand for more content. Jaqi posts pictures of the girls several times per week in new looks and outfits. We believe that as long as the kids are having fun, it isn’t time to throw in the towel. There will always be demand for a sought-after content, but the focus needs to remain on the twins.
There is no sign of the Clements twins slowing down anytime soon. Jaqi took to her blog to refute any claim that she forced the girls into this business and that it’s their idea to continue pushing forward. In the meantime, the girls are active on their mom-run Instagram account and fans can look forward to new snaps and upcoming campaign ads. They made quite a splash last year, and we’re excited to see what 2018 has in store for them. See you around, girls!