7.2m Instagram followers can’t be wrong…
Abigail Ratchford has emerged as one of the most popular social media models over the last few years, and it’s not hard to see why.
The 25-year-old is no stranger to a stunning selfie or two, and the ‘Queen of curves’ has developed one hell of a following online.
loaded spoke to Abigail about her early days in the industry, the weirdest stuff she’s ever experienced with fans and coming really close to landing a part in Baywatch.
loaded: You’re one of the biggest models on Instagram now, but how did you first get started in the industry?
Abigail: Three and a half years ago I didn’t do any social media at all, and I just did a photoshoot with this photographer. He ended up posting the pictures from it on his Facebook page. Within a couple of days they were in Sports Illustrated and a bunch of different men’s websites. Everyone was like, ‘who is this Abigail Ratchford? I haven’t heard of her before.’ So I thought, ‘what’s the worst that can happen, why don’t I go with this?’ So I started an Instagram and a Twitter, and then I just kept getting offered more photoshoots and set things up with the right people. My following just grew pretty quickly and then before I knew I was getting emails for people in LA inviting me to castings. I was on the other side of the country, and I think it was probably 9 months into when I started that I made the decision to move to LA, because I was like, ‘If I want to take this to the next level then I have to go where all the opportunities and jobs are.’ So I moved in 2014, and then I just had a plan in motion; I linked up with the best photographers and I guess the rest is just history.
loaded: Do you think your success has changed the way models use Instagram now?
Abigail: I got in the door at exactly the right time when social media was really taking off. So right before me, you had the Jen Selters, and a few other big names. But when I got started, probably a few years ago there were just a few names that were really taking off and I was in that group. I got lucky with that, because now it’s so oversaturated, there are just so many people trying to do the Instagram thing, or the funny YouTube video thing. I definitely think I made my mark at the right time. Obviously, people know who I am now.
loaded: What advice would you give to people looking to break out in the industry?
Abigail: I think you definitely have to hook up with the right people; the right photographers, good makeup people…. And then you just have to come up with content that sets you apart from everyone else doing the same thing as you. So, a lot of the time girls would do bikini or lingerie stuff, and I’d do that stuff too, but I’d kind of come up with themes. You know, for my merchandise I came up with one that was food porn, which was me with all this sexy food items – pizza all over me and donuts and stuff. Just stuff like that, which gets people talking and is just more creative. It raises the bar with what your followers expect from you.
loaded: You seem to have a great relationship with your fans, but do you ever get negative attention online?
Abigail: There is some negativity, but I always just try to block it out. I never reply to trolls or comment back, I think that’s the worst thing you can do. I notice some girls will do that, but to me, I think, ‘why would you waste your time?’. Just delete it, ignore it, whatever. If you reply you’re just giving them what they want. I’d rather reply to my positive fans. As far as creepy stuff goes… I don’t get that much. Obviously, I get loads of creepy comments, but as far as having a stalker or anything like that, it’s not happened to me yet, thank God. I try to keep my stuff a little bit mysterious. Like, for example, now in London – as much I want to take pictures of the outside of the hotel I have to wait until I leave. Because if I do it while I’m here, you run the risk of people waiting outside for you or trying to ‘run into you’. Stuff like that you definitely have to be careful of.
loaded: Do you find that guys ever get intimidated when they meet you in real life?
Abigail: I think when guys in LA or New York talk to me not as a fan, or if they’re actually trying to talk to me or flirt with me, they definitely go get intimidated somewhat. I mean I think the right guy would be confident enough to deal with it.
loaded: You must get loads of guys trying to DM you though, right?
Abigail: I get tonnes of weird stuff… I don’t even check my DMs, because they’re so weird. I’ve had a lot of celebrities, like a lot of athletes, try to DM me and stuff though. So, yeah, you’ll get like a few famous people, but then you’ll get a million dick picks from strangers, so it’s hard to weed them out. So if they want to talk to me I’d rather they put in a good word to one of my friends they might know or like a mutual connection rather than slide in my DMs.
loaded: You’re known for posting pretty raunchy selfies online – do you ever get hit by Instagram’s ‘no nudity’ policy?
Abigail: I never have been. The cool thing is, once you get verified, they kind of let you get away with a lot of stuff. One of my girlfriends who posted a picture with, like, a wet t-shirt on and you could kind of see her nipples through it. She wasn’t verified at the time, and they suspended her account for two weeks. I guess the verified thing lets you get away with stuff. I think I’ve only had two photos taken down that people reported, but on Facebook, pictures get reported and taken down all the time. They’ll be, like, headshots too. Instagram are a lot more lenient.
loaded: You had a part in Parks and Recreation… tell us about that
Abigail: I was so excited about it. I was telling everyone about it, letting my whole family know I was going to be on Parks and Recreation. I tweeted out about it, and I was taking pictures at the Universal Pictures lot where they film it. The scene was – I’m at the pool, I say about three lines to Aziz Ansari, because he was blocking a sign or something. We did it, and I was telling people, “wow, today really inspired me to get into acting more…” and then my part ends up getting cut out the show (laughs). It got totally cut. So everyone was tuning in to watch, and they were like, ‘where were you?’. That taught me never to publicise stuff until it’s actually out.
loaded: Would you consider getting into acting more?
Abigail: I think it would be difficult to get into acting now, because I’m known for being myself. Unless I did some kind of TV show where I played myself, maybe. It would just be kind of weird for me at this point.
loaded: That’s a shame – we thought you’d be perfect for something like Baywatch…
Abigail: I actually tried out for it. Last year they had, like, a group of different Instagram girls. They called me to audition, I was one of them. Yeah, I really honestly thought that I could get it, because I thought I had the right look.