Discuss and debate the issues that mean the most to you.
1. Kendall Jenner is kin to the Kardashian clan.
2. Kendall Jenner is a successful model, and has walked runway shows for Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, and many other prominent designers. Her face has found a home on the cover of 10 magazines, and as the new Estée Lauder spokesmodel.
3. Everyone hates Kendall Jenner.
Let me be clear: I do not hate Kendall. I like her a lot actually, as much as one can like a girl they've never met. Binx Walton (another young supermodel who is currently on the cover of Teen Vogue) and her cohort Lexi Boling on the other hand — ehhhhh . . . not so much. Take a look at the E! story documenting a recent social media bullying fiasco WITH SCREENSHOT EVIDENCE. I’ll give you a minute. (Editorial note: as of this morning, Lexi Boling has apologized for her comment.)
Okay, welcome back. I’m assuming you’ve also seen Binx’s (since deleted) tweet, “The season of the entitled,” featuring three shots of Miss Jenner on the runway. Cue my colossal sigh. Entitled?
Coming from two other girls who are entitled to an entire profession because they won the genetic lottery? Look, I get it — I also modeled for one of the top agencies in the world, and to this day the majority of my friends are models. It’s very easy to forget that we’re discussing an industry based on physical appearances. No matter how much an agent, booker, or casting director wants to credit charisma, at the end of the day modeling is a career based on height and a BMI under 18. I cannot vouch for whether Kendall is a shitty person, but she is not a shitty model.
I chose to end my own modeling career for reasons more serious than the flippant “oh, I was too fat” excuse I usually deliver. Insecurity and competition were inescapable, and it was impossible to avoid feeling inadequate when success came easily to another model.
Losing a job to a friend, roommate (in model apartments you have at least three per month), or the only other light-skinned black girl in a casting validated my insecurity that I was not beautiful enough.
While I completely disagree with the presumptuous contempt for Kendall Jenner, I understand why Lexi and Binx feel this way. After spending every day of a transient career valuing your self-worth on your physical appearance, it’s easy to think, Well here we fucking go, when a model’s upbringing or background propels her through the industry.
I’ve heard the argument from every model in my social sphere, and always rebut with the countless models that also credit their careers to influential family members to no criticism. Georgia May Jagger, daughter of LITERAL MICK JAGGER AND JERRY HALL, is the face of Rimmel London. She’s harmless. I met her.
Hailey Baldwin, daughter of Stephen Baldwin, is another model who manages to evade the shade her best friends (the Jenners — surprise, surprise) face. Hell, let’s talk about stars who aren’t even models: Alison Williams, Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Nicole Richie (who, for the record, is well respected by fashion editors), any one of the five million Wayans spawn — all children of famous parents.
Is the inescapable, all-consuming Kardashian hype stupid and annoying? I mean yeah, all celebrity hype is, but I refuse to hate a family I have only seen from a distance, and who will never even read my 140-character tweets. Keeping Up With the Kardashians is funny, suitable entertainment for when I’m painting my nails or playing Flappy Bird on my iPhone. The show does not effect me emotionally, or send me into a trolling rage spiral.
Please, for my sake, can all of you models out there just leave Kendall alone? She is not going to stop being rich or pretty, and would probably still find a way to model if she were a plebeian from Delaware. (For people who think Kendall is ugly, she isn’t, but there are a lot of conventionally unattractive models that book even more jobs).
As someone who just concluded a grueling fashion week and loved every second of it, let me just clarify — none of it matters anyway. Fashion doesn’t matter, modeling doesn’t matter, whether Kendall Jenner farts in a shoebox before bed doesn’t really matter. What matters, models, is being satisfied with your own life and success, and offering support and friendship to others in this difficult, predominantly female field. We’re all just flecks of dust in the time space continuum.
Only when Kendall Jenner herself punches me in the face or subtweets that I smell bad, will I decide to dislike her. This sentiment stands for the rest of the Kardashians and Jenners as well — especially you, Brandon Jenner, you hot bastard.
Follow Courtney on Twitter and Instagram @courtneypizza.