Kendall Jenner Talks Modelling and Family in ‘Vogue’

Kendall Jenner has just landed the cover of Vogue, a career milestone that cements her rise as one of today’s supermodels. When she started two years ago, people thought she was getting the prestigious modelling jobs for big names like Marc Jacobs simply because of her family—the Kardashians. At this point, Kendall has not only proven that she is serious about modelling as a career, but in her Vogue interview, she also proves that the media doesn’t show the truth about her family.

All photos by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott
All photos by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

The Kardashian clan is famous for being famous, but Kendall Jenner wants to distance herself from that kind of fame. She works hard to make a name for herself—which she’s clearly done, rising to the top of her profession in two years. According to her sister Kim, Kendall wanted to be a model since the tender age of 13, and was determined to make a solid career for herself.

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But Kendall has had to prove herself in order to get to this point. As Kim Kardashian West said, “I think Being a Kardashian worked against her…Coming from a reality show, people look down on that—a lot of people in the fashion industry don’t respect that world.” Kendall herself wasn’t sure if the fashion world would accept her. She admits to thinking, “This is going to e so embarrassing. No one is going to accept me, and it’s going to be a complete failure.” After all, Kendall knows what people thinks of her family:

 “People say a lot of what they think, and it’s not always positive. And we never say anything. We just take it. And then when people meet us, they’re pleasantly surprised. Because we aren’t what people think. One of the best lessons I ever learned is to not take everything so seriously. Just leave it alone—it will pass in a week. That’s how I grew up…You know what’s real.”

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Clearly, others think so as well. Marc Jacobs was the first to help Kendall skyrocket to the top of the modelling industry, and he booked her because he saw something in her, not her name. He said, “We wanted to book her on her merit as a model, not because she’s a Kardashian. Every bit of her success is a testament to her hard work and her passion.” Ricardo Tisci, the designer for Givenchy, said

“What I saw was a beauty that was not a classic beauty—it was beauty, but it was, as well, a coolness. She can look like all the other girls, but without makeup she can look like a really, really young girl from next door. She is literally the American dream of today…She is always dressed in a cool way. She is the one who started the new era, no?”

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At this rate, Kendall is well on her way to becoming a fashion icon, but the model says her life isn’t as glamorous as one might expect. She hasn’t been dating much, because she doesn’t have time. She said that the worst part of modelling is “how lonely it can be…Al you’re doing is traveling the world by yourself to do a job and then go back to your hotel by yourself. It’s a different life than you imagined.”

The lack of a boyfriend has led some to speculation about Kendall’s sexuality, but she maintains that no one knows about her private life because there is nothing to report, and because she’s learned from watching the paparazzi question her sisters’ every move. However, Jenner did say that her father’s transition has made her think of things a little differently, “I want to be careful about how I say this because I don’t want it to come off wrong, because I’ve never said this out loud, but I have recently…even when I say ‘him’ or ‘her’ about someone who’s clearly a guy or clearly a girl—even with my mom—I second-guess it now because of my dad.”

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Kendall was asked what it was like to grow up with a parent transitioning, and she gave a very honest answer:

“We’re not judgmental. But obviously it’s strange having your dad, who was so male, completely reverse. It is definitely a gnarly experience. But my whole life we would, like, catch her, and would be like, What is going on here? I think we know, but do we? At one point Kylie and I thought he was cheating on my mom, because he had makeup and nail polish. One time we found those squishy boob things. We found wigs. And then one time I actually ran into her. In this house. She had no idea. She would wake up really early just so she could dress up and move around the house and get that little kick for the morning, and then go back to being Bruce—take us to school, totally normal. So one morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m. so thirsty, came downstairs into the kitchen, and grabbed a bottle of water. And as I was coming back out, my dad was coming down the stairs in, like, a wig and makeup and shoes—the full nine. And she didn’t see me. I literally froze. Please don’t turn left. Because she could either turn left or turn right. Thank God she turned right and –to this day!—has no idea that happened. That was the first time I had ever seen her…My mom knew. She knew since their third date.”

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It’s clear that Kendall loves her family and her job. At this point, her success is surely going to keep growing. She’s a reality TV star and rising supermodel with a surprisingly grounded outlook on the world. Perhaps Kendall Jenner knows more about what’s real than everyone watching her.

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