Lameka Fox arrives to the Vogue.com offices giddy and glowing, giggling when she admits that she’s a little starstruck: “I saw Karlie Kloss on the way up here and I died a little bit on the inside.” Only thing is, Fox had better get used to it: She is newly repped by the same agency as the Victoria’s Secret and Vogue-cover veteran. See, Fox is a fresh-faced, chomping-at-the-bit newcomer, sourced via the industry’s favorite new model-scouting trend: a hashtag. After reading an article about IMG’s digital scouting campaign @WeLoveYourGenes, Fox tagged three photos of herself with the campaign hashtag, #WLYG, on Instagram. “I didn’t realize that other girls had Instagram profiles dedicated to it,” says Fox. “I just hashtagged three pictures where I looked the most natural and wasn’t wearing really any makeup.” Less than 24 hours later, a representative from IMG contacted Fox through Instagram to ask for more photos. Within two days, Fox headed to New York, was signed, and made her debut on the Marc Jacobs resort 2016 runway a few months later.
If it all sounds like a story based on timing and a fair amount of luck, well that’s not an altogether foreign concept to the fresh face. Before the runway, Fox was a high school Maryland native who spent her free time training horses. “I grew up in that whole racing scene. My dad trains and races Standardbred [horses]. I used to help him train and jog them,” says Fox. She bets on them too: “This year, I bet on American Pharaoh who won all three of the series! First time since the seventies. And I won a little bit to buy a new bag!” But even when it came to her off-duty equine life, Fox always managed to infuse a bit of fashion into the racetrack. “A family friend gave me a horse,” says Fox. “And I named him Versace.”