Blogger and model Maia Cotton has more than 12,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts perfectly composed, monochromatic snapshots of her life: outfits, inspirational quotes, dream purchases and lots and lots of shoes. The social media channel has had a big impact on the 15-year-old: she was "discovered" by 62 Models' booker Andrea Plowright after posting a photo of herself, and has since been signed to Ford Models in New York.
Like most teens, Maia has a huge digital appetite: as well as her growing Instagram, she has a blog "dedicated to style, health and happiness". The 15-year-old, whose father is the artist Shane Cotton, is also a talented dancer - she began ballet and contemporary dance aged 4, and now trains six days a week.
ME & SOCIAL MEDIA
"In my hometown, I have family and friends all in one place, and am part of a very close community. That has taught me so many amazing things, but it is also the main reason I love social media, because it allows me to go further than Palmerston North. After discovering Instagram, I was able to connect with those around the world who share the same passion and interests in fashion. As long as our generation remembers to look up from our devices and experience life too, social media can open the door to so many opportunities, it's an amazing thing to be a part of."
"Before social media and technology, New Zealand teenagers didn't have the same opportunity to connect and see things around the world, being so isolated, and in many ways this didn't give them much motivation to get out there and create that for themselves. I actually think New Zealand teens have a lot of aspiration to experience and explore, perhaps even more than they did generations before."
THE COOLEST THING THAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR
I have been so lucky to have experienced such amazing things since modeling, but I think as cliché as it may be, my most favourite thing that has happened is going to New York! When I found out Ford Models were interested in signing me, barely one week passed and I was on a plane straight to the city. The excitement of it all was crazy, and I was able to shoot with so many talented photographers in the space of one week. That trip was something I will never forget, because it was the stepping stone to what would soon be an amazing year!
My blog is super important to me. One of the reasons I love modelling so much is because it is a job where I can combine my interests for photography and also fashion. The blog is the same, and once I started modeling, I wanted to learn more about the industry, and develop my knowledge. My Instagram already had the foundation for this, but the blog gave me a little more freedom to write also. I will usually style a look made up of pieces I like, or give my opinion on a new collection, and I have also done a little on beauty looks. I am still learning but have some cool posts planned!
I think I would describe my style at this moment in time as being quite preppy and monochromatic, but also youthful and fun. It never stops changing though! I tend to wear clothes bought mostly when I was traveling like Topshop and Zara, but closer to home I love clothes from Workshop and Superette, when I can afford them.
MY DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS
My three goals would be, to be on the cover of Vogue, walk for Victoria's Secret, and work with Karl Lagerfeld. Right now I am already so lucky to be doing what I am doing as a model, I can't even fathom these things coming true!
MY FAVOURITE FASHION BLOGGERS
My favourite is probably Amanda Shadforth of Oracle Fox. I think her blog has some very original and unique content, which is nice to come across as a reader. Also Margaret Zhang of Shine by Three, and Vanessa Hong of the Haute Pursuit for the same reason - but also their attention to detail within their imagery really inspires me to do better with my own blog.