Born in California on July 7, 2010, Leah Rose and Ava Marie are identical twins. It wasn’t long before their mom, Jaqi, was flooded with comments about the girls’ beauty.
Jaqi first signed the girls to a modeling agency when they were 6 months old, but she later decided it wasn’t the right time. With a set of infant twins and a 2-year-old boy, life was too busy for modeling.
But when Leah and Ava had their seventh birthday on July 7, 2017 (7/7/17), Jaqi took it as a sign. She posted the first photo of the girls on Instagram and had no idea they would go viral.
Modeling agencies began clamoring for the chance to sign the Clements twins after they became social media stars overnight…
Jaqi Clements and her husband were eager to start a family.
Two years after their son was born, Jaqi found out she was pregnant again. This time, she was pregnant with twin girls.
On July 7, 2010, Ava Marie and Leah Rose were born, four and a half weeks premature.
“Knowing their personalities now it makes total sense that they would show up early, unannounced, and ready to take on anything,” Jaqi wrote on her blog.
“For as long as I can remember strangers would approach me when we were out asking first if they were twins,” she wrote.
“Their follow up would always be… ‘Wow they are so beautiful, you should really think about getting them into modeling.’”
When they were 6 months old, Jaqi signed the girls to a modeling agency, but later decided it wasn’t the right time.
With a 2-year-old son and set of infant twins, it was hard enough to get out of the house on time!
The girls turned 7 years old on 7/7/17, and Jaqi took it as a sign.
“Aside from the fact that I’m a huge believer in signs and have been told by almost everyone that 7 is a lucky number, I just had a feeling that this year was going to be a fun and exciting year for them,” she said.
She believed they were ready to try again with a modeling agency.
This is the twins’ first Instagram photo, and she couldn’t believe the chain of events that followed.
“I presented my idea to the girls that, if they were up for it, in addition to their dance classes and swim team practices they had every week, they could give modeling a try.”
Because Ava and Leah had always loved being in the spotlight, Jaqi and her husband weren’t surprised when the girls expressed an immediate interest in modeling.
As time went on, the number of followers on the twins’ Instagram account kept growing.
Some have even described Ava and Leah as “the most beautiful twins in the world.”
Strangers across the world are in awe of their beauty, sisterly connection, and knack for candid poses.
It had been six years since Jaqi first tried to find a modeling agent for the twins, but now they almost all called her back. They wanted to set up a time to meet with the girls.
Jaqi was floored when the Instagram account hit 15,000 followers…
Months later, Ava and Leah had over 700,000!
They now have 1.4 million followers and growing!
The girls now work with two modeling agencies.
They’ve got contracts with several children’s clothing brands and magazines. They’ve even shot as many as six jobs in a single week.
Modeling is now a family business for the Clementses.
The girls’ older brother, Chase Robert, is also signed with some agencies.
Jaqi and her family have turned traveling the world into a full-time job. What a gorgeous and lucky family!
Jaqi usually lets her daughters enjoy the spotlight on their own, but every once in a while she’ll model along with them. She is gorgeous, too!
Jaqi has a response for those who criticize the family’s decision to get the children into the modeling industry: You don’t know my kids.
Jaqi has a long list of the things the girls love about modeling. “They like the new adventures we go on every week, never knowing where we will end up but looking forward to a new experience. They like spending time in the car with each other and with me… having some girl time together.”
She adds: “They love compiling different playlists for our five-hour round trips and singing along to all of their favorite songs while we enjoy each other’s company.”
“They like when I pack them snacks or surprise them with a treat when I pick them up early from school. They love meeting new people everywhere they go and making friends on set, both adults and other kids.”
“They love trying on the clothes and the accessories and yes, even getting their hair and makeup done. They love that companies want to send them products and accessories just for being them!”
Because of all this, Jaqi knows her girls are happy modeling, regardless of where it takes them. She knows the time may come in the future where they want to do something else, and she’s ready to support them 100% if it happens.
Negative comments online aren’t the only downside to the business, as Jaqi has learned. She often has to drive the girls five hours to and from Los Angeles in rush hour traffic.
Jaqi also acknowledges that contrary to popular belief, parents don’t make a ton of money when their kids model. It actually ends up costing them for transportation and meals out, as any hobby does.
The joy every bit of the experience brings to Ava and Leah, from getting their makeup done to meeting new people, is what makes it all worthwhile for the Clements family.
The girls are now 8 years old and continuing to book work and gain a good reputation. As they navigate their way through the industry, Jaqi’s learned some things about managing their careers.
Jaqi has found she can never be too cautious or ask too many questions of the people she’s trusting to help navigate her children through the industry.
Modeling can be a tough industry, and these girls are lucky to have their mother and each other to guide them.
We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Ava and Leah in the future. And now Jaqi is paying it forward, sharing with others some of what she’s learned from growing the girls’ fan base on Instagram.
Jaqi shared that when she first started the girls’ Instagram account, she was excited to grow it by 1,000 followers in two months. Today, the account has more than 1.4 million fans and getting bigger daily.
How did she do it? Jaqi said it’s been a learning curve, but the biggest thing is to focus on the pictures. She says, “One thing I know for sure is it’s ALL about the pictures… so don’t settle for an average photographer because you want to save a few dollars. Spend a little extra, it will pay off in the end!”
Jaqi also realized that fans mostly wanted to see pics of the girls together, so she mostly stopped posting photos of the girls separately. And she made it a point to plan quickie photo shoots with the girls whenever they had an hour so to spare.
“So once a week, usually on a weekend, I would take the girls out for an hour or so around the neighborhood to snap a few pictures that I would end up using to post to their account for the following week,” Jaqi shares.
Jaqi makes sure that her girls look their best by getting creative with the styling. “I would borrow a couple of cute outfits from my neighbor who runs the childrens’ Pop Up Boutique and sometimes I would quickly style their hair differently in between shots (so it looked like a new day)!,” explains Jaqi. “If I was lucky, I’d get 3 or 4 good shots that I could use to post to their account for the next week and that I could also give to my neighbor to promote her boutique. Win Win!”
Another thing Jaqi learned was that you need to share the credit, by tagging the right people in your posts. When she first started, she admits she was super green and not sure who to tag and who not to tag.
Now, after some trial and error: “I now realize tagging designers, makeup artists, and even entering your location will get your posts noticed way more and possibly even reposted!”
But Instagram fame hasn’t come without some (OK, a good amount) of negative feedback, which Jaqi says has been hard to learn how to manage. “I know the best thing for me to do would be to just ignore the negativity and concentrate on the positive. Well I try! I do… I really, really do!”
But, Jaqi shares, it’s not always easy to let things roll of your back, especially when the negative comments are directed towards her young daughters. “I’m fully aware that some people have nothing better to do then to sit behind a computer screen and put other people down, but it still doesn’t make it any easier for me not to want to fire back.”
The negative comments, Jaqi says, are typically related to feedback about young girls wearing makeup and/or that by having the girls model, they aren’t being allowed to just “be kids”. Her reply to the negativity: “I didn’t decide that my girls were going to start modeling, they did. And if the day ever comes that they want to move on to something else, I will 100% support their decision to do that. But for now, kids or not, this is something that they enjoy doing! So don’t feel sorry for them… they aren’t sad, they aren’t missing out on their childhood and occasionally, yes, they wear a little makeup :)”
Lisa is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mamas Uncut. She’s a Hispanic female executive whose been in digital media for over 15 years. Prior to building a career in media she was a technology M&A banker. Before starting Mamas Uncut, Lisa was the CEO of RockYou, Inc for 8 years. RockYou was a social gaming and digital media company focused on the mom demographic. TheRockYou properties included 25 game franchises as well as cafemom.com, mamaslatinas.com, mom.me and littlethings.com