Some racegoers roll their eyes at the growing number of social media influencers in Flemington’s exclusive Birdcage enclosure, where two young women continue to build their global brand.
Melbourne-based influencers Laura Henshaw, 26, and Steph Claire Smith, 25, will be attending Saturday’s Derby Day as guests of dating app Bumble.
The duo, who have a combined Instagram following of almost two million, are defying the carefully-created stereotype.
While their feed is filled with images at exclusive events and exotic locations, in activewear and designer outfits, they also openly discuss body image, menstruation and post pictures of their bloated stomachs and pimples.
“It makes other girls out there feel less alone,” Smith told AAP, noting her influence on a predominantly young female audience.
“Being relatable is important to us – we never want to seem super shiny and perfect in every way because that’s incredibly unattainable and just not realistic.”
They were early adopters of social media, mainly using Instagram for its filters feature, but now have a wellness app, book and health food range stocked in supermarkets in Australia and overseas.
“It is crazy looking back at where we started and where we are now, we’re both really proud of it,” Henshaw said.
The Bumble marquee is the first of its kind to be designed with social media influencers in mind.
Its 3.6 metre high white walls were designed not to clash with guests outfits, while gold trims on the bar and furniture reflect natural light – no filter needed.
There’s even floor length mirror for outfit selfies and a floral throne.
Also attending Bumble’s marquee are influencers Rozalia Russian, Brooke Hogan and Nadia Bartel, WAGs Rebecca Judd and Jessie Murphy and models Samantha Harris, Jordan and Zac Stenmark.
Former Foreign Minister and fashion lover Julie Bishop is invited to both Bumble and the Lexus marquee, where she will rub shoulders with racing royalty, fashion designers and celebrity chefs.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is also expected to return to the races after a well-documented stumble in 2016, appearing on the guest list for champagne house Mumm.
AFL footballers Jack Gunston and Joel Selwood and Olympians Ian Thorpe and Mack Horton will also attend the invite-only Birdcage.
It comes as Lexus ambassador Megan Gale joins a list of celebrities shunning the event amid well-publicised animal cruelty revelations.