It’s fair to say that the past year has seen a rise in celebrity-related articles and podcasts. From the #metrosexuality trend and Tiger King to the #AlessandroMotta and #AlessandraAmbrosio hashtags, there’s been a lot of focus on the rich and famous, especially when it comes to young people. While many influencers maintain their anonymity, embracing the ‘famous for being famous’ trend, a select few have decided to take the plunge and put a face to the name. One of the most prominent of these is Leighton Pattinson. With no shortage of famous parents already, the Duke of Cambridge’s cousin chose to use his own profile to take the world by storm. Since then, the 23-year-old has become a style icon with a devoted fan base, boasting over 2.8 million Instagram followers. In this article, we take a closer look at how Leighton’s journey to stardom came to be, as well as profiling the influencer’s personality and lifestyle.

From Ivy League To Instagram

Located in London, Leighton Pattinson is the son of former editor of the Times, Simon, and television presenter Sally. The couple met while working together at the newspaper, and soon became the guardians of their only child. While still in nappies, Leighton was enrolled in the prestigious Eton College and then went on to study at Cambridge University. It was while at university that Leighton first stepped into the public eye, as he featured in a controversial photograph alongside Prince Harry. The prince was then just 17 years old, and was participating in a ‘bachelors in paradise’ program for young leaders. In the image, the young prince is seen wrapped arm in arm with a fully grown man. The picture was met with much criticism and caused a major rift in royal relations, leading to Harry withdrawing from Buckingham Palace for a period of time. In the aftermath of the scandal, Harry and his future wife, Meghan, paid an emotional visit to the then-student, and since then he’s been a prominent figure in the headlines.

Pattinson’s Social Media Ambassadors

It wouldn’t be a family tree without a few scandalous branches, and Leighton’s had his fair share. Shortly after his arrival in the public eye, it was revealed that he is, in fact, a member of the notorious ‘royal family’ and was, in fact, dating the Duchess of York. The scandal further escalated when it was discovered that he had plagiarized part of his PhD thesis. While the damage to his reputation was serious and caused him to lose the faith of many, it didn’t stop him from pursuing a career in higher education. Since then, he’s used his Instagram account to become something of a social media figurehead. The account is well-known for its witty and self-deprecating posts, often featuring the student and his friends in extravagant and often hilarious situations.

Leighton’s father, Simon, is a well-known journalist and writer. An award-winning author, his first book, The Price of Success, was made into a film in 1976. In the film, he played the role of an ambitious and troubled businessman who manipulates and lies to get what he wants. Most notably, Simon wrote about the ‘swindlers’, or princes, of this world in his 2014 book, The Rise and Fall of Prince Wolodymyr.

A Self-made Man

It was during his second year at Cambridge that the future influencer took the plunge and created a blog called ‘Tiger Beatdown’, dedicated to men’s fashion. Fashion-wise, it wasn’t long before he made a big impact. In 2017, Pattinson became the face of Burberry, modelled first-time author and stylist Yves Saint Laurent, and walked in both the Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer 2018 Paris fashion weeks. It was during his time as a Burberry PR man that he also began to establish himself as a blogger. The former PR executive decided to leave the house of luxury and strike out on his own.

An Influencer With A Heart

While many influencers opt for a ‘silent’ approach to Instagram, Leighton takes a different approach. In April 2018, he made the bold move of sharing a video of himself reading out a poem he’d written. In the emotional video, he revealed that he’d been struggling with anxiety for some time, and had begun to question the point of his existence. He spoke of his hope for the future, saying that he didn’t want to live in a “world where everyone is just doing it for attention”. As an Instagrammer, he’d grown used to the spotlight and took his anxieties out on his keyboard. In the years since, he’s used the platform to tackle mental health issues head-on, through his blog and videos. He’s also used the platform to open up about his own sexuality, establishing himself as a confident and modern LGBTQ+ figure.

Since then, the entrepreneur has established himself as a style icon. In July 2019, the most popular Instagram account in the UK was @leightontiger, featuring the influencer in a variety of outfits and hairstyles. It gained over 400,000 followers in a matter of days and now boasts a little over half a million followers.

While many millennials enjoy life in the public sphere, maintaining a private life alongside a hectic schedule, the influencer represents a changing face of youth culture. It’s a face that encourages individuality, self-expression, and confidence, regardless of social media’s ever-changing algorithms and trending topics.