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Trendsetter … popular … pretty … these are all words that come to mind when we think of social media influencers. But there is so much more to becoming influential online than just a six-figure following and some fancy photos. It takes hard work, outstanding networking skills, and in this case, a fantastic sense of Western styling.
The Western fashion industry, just like the mainstream, is welcoming and creating brand ambassadors we all know as the influencers, and there are a handful of women making a name for themselves.
This group of women are leading the charge in the Western fashion world on social media platforms, with Instagram being the most popular.
Each and every one of the following influencers brings something entirely their own into the social sphere. Whether it be their prowess with Photoshop, their ability to style an outfit, or a glance inside the life of a rodeo wife, these ladies tell a story that is uniquely their own. They use their platform to promote their passions, while at the same time helping brands expand their horizons, thus earning money and products for their efforts. Their creativity is unleashed through their fashion styling, photography, and words, and, to say the least, their drive and desire to see and be seen across this lifestyle landscape.
To create this list, COWGIRL dug deep to search for what each of these women brings to the social media table; what makes them influential. We looked at follower counts, accessibility, sponsorships, public appearances, photography, styling, and collaborations. In many ways, they are each masters of their individual craft—each with unique strengths, style, and influence.
Whitney Benton: @westerncouture
Benton is the founder, photographer, and stylist behind Western Couture. This Colorado-based southwestern fashion aficionado combines her love of ranch life with her passion for Western style. She is currently working on a project called The Beauty Campaign, a yearly women-only retreat focused on worship, beauty, and self-love. She also writes monthly fashion articles for Kimes Ranch Jeans and Pacific Coast Journal.
This Alabama native has so many projects it’s tough to keep track! She’s started a Western resale site, styled fashion shoots for major publications, heads the Bleacher Babe Squad, and still finds time to run her own blog. Bigbee puts an emphasis on being comfortable in your clothes and prefers to add adornments to jazz up a look. “My turquoise will always fit!”
Geena Marcuzzo: @cityraisedfarmsaved
Marcuzzo may hail from California, but she feels a deep connection to the country. After a life-changing car accident, she made an unexpected move to a farm in Missouri. Working outside and with the animals helped her heal both inside and out. Her style reflects her cross-country roaming with a laid-back bohemian-meets-retro Western flair. She can often be spotted with her hair in messy braids and lots of eclectic jewelry hanging ’round her neck. This Cali gal had a huge breakout moment last year when Reba fell in love with a Western cape she was sporting and got one for herself.
Jena Knowles: @jena.knowles
Knowles is a ranch-and-rodeo wife and businesswoman. When she’s not busy working in public relations and fundraising at her local hospital, she’s lending a hand on the ranch. She enjoys getting to hit the rodeo road with her steer-wrestler hubby, Trevor Knowles, as it gives her a chance to get dressed up. She gives her contemporary style a Western twist by adding ponchos, turquoise jewelry, or some other kind of country touch.
Shaley Ham: @westdesperado
If you’re an Instagram-using Western style enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of West Desperado. With a following of 20,000 on Instagram, founder Shaley Ham is making BIG waves. Her stunning photography and what she calls her “Western Fashion Outlaw” style has attracted thousands to her feed. That kind of audience attracts some pretty important brands such as Kimes Ranch, Ariat, and Cruel Denim. She emphasizes that she likes to stand out and doesn’t follow the typical fashion rules. Ham credits her hometown of Cheney, Washington, with keeping her in touch with her Western roots.
Jessie Jarvis: @mrsjjarv
Jarvis is a deep-rooted Idaho rancher that uses her platform to inspire. She likes to show off all aspects of her life instead of just “the glamorous stuff.” Her goal is to develop trust and authenticity with her followers, and she prides herself on collaborating with brands that she believes in and trusts. She also works part-time as content manager for The Boutique Hub, a job that allows her to combine two of her passions; ranching and fashion. Her go-to fashion pieces? A white button-down, denim jacket, starched jeans, and vintage squash-blossom necklace.
Bobbie Tryan: @stylishly.tryan
Bobbie Tryan is a styling mix-master: She’s had a lot of practice. She’s on the road traveling to 50 rodeos and countless ropings each year with husband Clay and their three boys, and says she loves to dress up regardless of all the dirt and dust. Tryan defines her personal style as slightly adventurous; she loves to try new things and mix and match a lot of styles. Her highlight reel? The unbelievably beautiful lineup of looks she put together for the 2017 NFR (trust us, it’s so worth checking out).
Tiffany McGhan: @fashion_posse
If the Western fashion industry has a field reporter, it’s Fashion Posse. Founder Tiffany McGhan (soon-to-be Mrs. Tuf Cooper) along with fellow posse member, Shaina Clifford, travel the country attending Western and rodeo events,t posting every fashionable outfit they come into contact with. What first started as just photos of the wives and girlfriends of rodeo competitors quickly turned into something much bigger as rodeo fans began upping their fashion game.
Shaina Clifford: @shainacliffordlifestyle
Shaina Clifford, a free spirit with an edgy style, believes great taste doesn’t always have to be expensive. Hailing from the Badlands of South Dakota, Clifford started competing in the rodeo world at a young age, but these days she spends more time on the sidelines as a rodeo mom, running her cosmetology business and modeling. She knows how to take a beautiful photo, both in front of and behind the lens.
Janzen Tew: @rodeovogue
Janzen Tew is probably one of the few people on this list that wears heels as often, if not more, than she wears boots. But don’t doubt this glam girl’s country roots. This fashionista grew up showing cutting horses and claims she can get a horse ready in heels just as well as she can in boots. Janzen has a flair for the elegant and classic, but often times throws in a Western twist such as a turquoise necklace or beautiful hat. Her Instagram feed is filled with dreamy and light-drenched photos reminiscent of Paris, despite being located just west of Weatherford, Texas.
Thea Larsen: @thecowgirldiaries
Larsen is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and it shows. She curates the most beautiful imagery from around the Western fashion industry to create an immaculate board of cowgirl-style inspiration. From beautiful handmade jewelry to stunning interior design and beyond, Larsen’s eye for style is dead-on. Her personal style draws from her laid-back hippie Northwest upbringing, and her love for pops of dramatic color.
Hannah Hogner: @hannahhogner
Hogner’s mission is to spread faith through fashion and to be “a light of encouragement to all people in all walks of life.” She is always on the go, and her style reflects this busy working girl’s lifestyle. She emphasizes that confidence is key when it comes to pulling off an outfit. In her spare time, she helps out with her family’s Christian team-roping camp and is very involved in her ministry.
Alix & Meghan Gates: @saltlicksisters
Alix and Meghan Gates became friends, and eventually sisters-in-law, when Meghan married Alix’s brother. Meghan says, about the birth of Salt Lick Sisters, “One day, we just decided to pull the trigger and it’s been a blessing ever since!” She describes the duo’s style as “a little Western, sometimes flashy, but always with comfort in mind.”
Mkenzee Renae: @mkenzee.renae.lifestyle
This soon to be rodeo wife is loving the road and enjoys getting glammed up for the performances. She describes her style as “a little bit ranchy, a little bit upscale New York, with rock-and-roll somewhere in between.” She’s worked as a sales representative for companies such as Wrangler, Herring Custom Hats, and Rodeo Fame Magazine. There’s only one place for this glam girl to go from here, and that’s up!
Brandi Michelle: @westernatelier
Brandi Michelle breaks tradition with an edgier rock-and-roll vibe reminiscent of Stevie Nicks. Her slogan is “Dare to Be Different,” and she is a big believer in staying true to your personal tastes over being a slave to popular trends. She is also a champion for small businesses, using her digital publication to give smaller, privately owned brands a voice. Brandi Michelle was a guest speaker for the Gracefully Strong Girl’s Conference in 2017, where she spoke to young girls about the importance of kindness and confidence.