Kendall Jenner has done quite a bit in her 22 years on the planet. She’s become a television star on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, secured a spot on the Forbes rich list, has a line of nail polishes, plenty of love affairs, and a modeling career. The modeling career portion of her empire is what has her in hot water now, or more specifically, the way she is talking about models that are not named Jenner or Kardashian. According to an interview with Love Magazine, Jenner spilled the beans on why she’s more successful than other models, and it flat out has people irate.
Apparently, Jenner contends that she is successful because she is very choosy about the modeling jobs she takes, whereas other models will hit the runway 30 times a year. Furthermore, she had “a million jobs” so she didn’t have time for working the catwalk anyway. It’s true that Kendall Jenner is busy with a lot of different projects, but what a number of models, fans, people with jobs, and people, in general, have had to say about Jenner is that she is confusing her talent with her privilege, and those people make a very good argument to defend their assertions.
“Since the beginning we’ve been super selective about what shows I would do. I was never one of those girls who would do like 30 shows a season or whatever the fuck those girls do. More power to ‘em. But I had a million jobs, not only catwalks but everything else. The whole combination was very overwhelming and I started to freak out a little bit and needed to take a step back,” says the 22-year-old, admitting that she “was on the verge of a mental breakdown.” #LOVE20 Photographer @alasdairmclellan Fashion Editor @kegrand Make up @ctilburymakeup Hair @jamesspecis Casting @bitton Interview #MurrayHealy
The statement that has Jenner in such hot water also appeared in Cosmopolitan, who also broke the bounds of impartiality to point out Jenner was out of line with her comments about other working models. Others have chimed in saying talented as she may be, she did not have to scratch and claw her way into the industry and then to the top. She never had to do regional catalogs to get her start. She never had to audition for the most part. She just had to be a member of reality TV royalty.
#KendallJenner is one of those rich, white kids that tries to talk about racism and injustice like they've experienced it. You did NOT have to work as hard as other models- not because you were better- and you would do well to acknowledge and respect that.— vv (@vblightwood) August 21, 2018
What a number of people pointed out, as reported at Vanity Fair, is that Jenner had the luxury to be selective because she comes from a multi-billion dollar family. The vast majority of models since, forever, have not had that same advantage. So they have had to actually work, which for some has meant working the catwalk as many times as was necessary each year in order to earn money and build a reputation as someone that could be depended on to do a good job. Kendall Jenner never had to do that. She had fame handed down from her parents and older siblings, and it was because of the fame and financial security others provided for her that she could be “selective.”
Cosmopolitan also collected an assortment of quotes from models around the world who took exception to Jenner’s comments.
“This makes me so angry… So disrespectful to literally 99 percent of people in the industry—yes they had to work their way up. Please get in touch with the real world!” – Jac Jagaciak
“Never been so indirectly and publicly offended in my whole life…to be called a supermodel how easy it comes to you.”- Irina Djuranovic
“‘Whatever the f**k those girls do’ is their very best to make their way up AND try to make some money so that they can provide for themselves and their families. Oh, and it’s 70 shows a season by the way and we are all f**king proud of every single one of the girls that did it.” – Daria Strokous
@kendallJenner is in hot water again, and we are starting to think it is time for her to think before she speaks. #KendallJenner #models #lovemagazine https://t.co/DCgQtVnmg0 pic.twitter.com/WPdtBxxwjY— A-Z FILES (@azfilesofficial) August 21, 2018
The outpouring of pure disgust from models, as well as some designers and people who cover the catwalk over her statements, has been constant and sometimes so brutal that it can’t even be reported in many places. Jenner has been roundly criticized as “spoiled” and “lazy” according to Buzzfeed, where screencaps of many of the comments have been collated.
As reported by News AU, this is not the first time Jenner has made comments that were deemed as thoughtless or out of a point of privilege. A recent example was appropriating the Black Lives Matter movement to try to shill Pepsi products. It was considered by many insensitive and inappropriate, including Bernice King, which led to it being pulled almost immediately. While many outlets have tried to remain impartial, most have agreed that her statements were at the very least “ill-advised.”
Neither Kendall Jenner nor any of her family has returned requests for a statement regarding what she said or the reaction to it. One of her representatives did release a very brief statement for the press.
“It’s not what she meant. The quote was taken out of context. Mid-thought she realized the number of shows some models walk a season is closer to 80. The point was that it’s their path and ‘the more power to them.’ She admires their hard work and dedication. It’s an accomplishment.”
So far, response to the statement from her representative has been tepid at best on Twitter, and Love Magazine contends they only reported what she said. Jenner will rebound from this, but it is going to take some time and possibly an apology from her, not a representative.