She Is Ludi Delfino and she is known by everyone04.04.2022
“Her work with over a dozen brands and more than ten years of experience makes her the first e-commerce model to be truly iconic. Yet, she is most well-known as “Revolve Girl” and “Oh, that Girl.” Ludi Delfino is fine with this.”
The tweet, which was written last month by @bravohistorian, stated that “This girl really carries online shopping’s weight on her shoulders.” The image shows a blonde model wearing a cutout gown, smiling subtly at the camera. You’re likely to have laughed if you’ve ever shopped online in the past decade. You probably know her as “that girl” because that’s how you know her. She’s undoubtedly the most successful ecommerce model today, yet few people know her name. It’s Ludi Delfino.
I ask her if she has seen the meme. She has. And she also shared some TikToks, which playfully underline her everywhere-ness. She says, “I was dying”, over Zoom from her Los Angeles home days after I DM her asking if she would be open to talking about her unique niche–ubiquitous anonymity in an industry that is all about becoming a household name. I read some of her comments, one saying, “This girl appears as one of my identified friends in my iPhoto People. Because I screen-shot her outfits so often.” Another comment: “She appears on my IG/FB feed more than my children.”
Delfino said, “Those comments made my feel really good. I was like Oh my God, these girls are so special to me. They keep me busy.”
Delfino explains how commenters on memes keep her busy. She says that the more a shopper recognizes and likes the model who showcases clothes they are interested in, the more likely they will buy the item. She says that E-commerce is all trackable. “Obviously they’re looking at our numbers, how much we sell, you’ll know.” I did not. It makes sense. The more a buyer admires or associates with a model the more likely they will be to buy the items they wear in the hopes that they look good. Delfino is more productive the more people she purchases Delfino’s clothes.
Delfino was a model for 17 year. Her mother encouraged her to take modeling classes in Brazil when she was a young girl. After this, Delfino was able to get an agent and try her hand at runway modeling during European shows. The runway was a place of prestige. However, it required that women have a specific look. This was before Insta-models and the need to be aesthetically pleasing or proportional. Delfino says that not having a super-fashion look didn’t help me get far when I was younger. “I wasn’t the fashion-looking girl.”
It’s difficult to imagine young fashion stars being excluded from the industry in a world full of Jenners and Biebers. But when Delfino was growing up, she had to look beyond the strict runway and editorial mold to find a way to reach her customers via direct-to-consumer print catalogues. (Kids, ask your parents). She did this every three to four month. Over time, remote buying moved away from the printed page to the internet. Delfino states, “That was life-changing to the career of models such as me.”
Ludi Delfino, one of the most prominent e-commerce models today, works regularly with brands such as Forever 21, SheIn, subscription services (FashionPass) and more contemporary labels such as BCBG, Lauren Moshi and ASTR. Lauren Moshi’s cofounder Michael Moshi tells me that Ludi is “so fast” when I ask him why Delfino is consistently used by retailers. She gets the look immediately, she’s consistent and easy-going. And she also has a sense for style so when we ask her for opinions like “Would you wear that?” she will always have the right answer.
Revolve is an online marketplace with multibrands that appeals to Generation Z and millennials. It offers a mix of fashion-driven accessories and clothes, established and emerging designers and unrelenting influencer marketing. The prices are higher than fast fashion, but might not be prohibitive for young women who want to experiment with cutouts and embrace ruffles. Although Delfino is the face of the site by default, it has also been a major contributor to its popularity.
The model claims that the partnership began 12 years ago, when she applied for a casting. Although Revolve was not as well-known as it is today, Delfino stated that it had a strong leader, Michael Mente, its cofounder. It seemed like a great gig. Ten years later, she is still shooting Revolve’s 100-150 looks on a weekly basis. She has also been nicknamed “the Revolve Girl” by online shoppers.
Lauren Yerkes is Revolve’s chief merchandising officers. “[We] have more than 800 brands with daily new releases so it’s important that the models we work alongside keep pace with a fairly fast shooting schedule,” she says. “Ludi is a professional in this sense. Ludi is a Revolve girl who has become an extension to our brand because she knows her so well.”
It doesn’t bother Delfino that many people who visit her online don’t know her name. She is there for the work. It’s work, it’s not anything else. She told she shot steadily and safely throughout COVID’s height. She often drove an hour to get to work, many of which required her standing for eight- or nine hours. It’s not all anonymity. Delfino acknowledges that she is recognized when out and about. “It’s crazy because my husband will take me out and be like, ‘That girl just stated,'” she says. It’s funny because my husband used to joke about me being the most well-known–but not famous–model.
She doesn’t care about the notion that e-commerce modeling might not be as popular as fashion week or working with top photographers. She says, “Well, I guess that I’m not that cool.” “But then again, it’s busy. I’m always working. I’ll take it. It’s hard work but I don’t mind it.
A plus is the longevity of an ecommerce model. She’s been doing it over a decade and Delfino believes she could continue it for at least five more years. Recently, she became a coach in health and started her personal-training certificate. She became a U.S. citizen in the same year.
When I ask her about why she believes she is such a popular e-commerce model, the answer is that she doesn’t have the typical high-fashion look. This is an advantage when you are trying to convince people to buy what you wear. She calls herself “approachable” and points out her “soft face.” E-commerce is not the place for girls who are too fashionable or too beautiful. You want someone you can relate with.”
Delfino, like any other career, admits that she sometimes would rather shake things up. My hair and makeup are always very simple. She admits that she misses having fun shoots every now and again. “But e-commerce is so wonderful. It has changed my career, and many other models’, because it keeps us all busy. It’s so much work now.