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The Rise of Kendall Jenner

Up until quite recently, there were few, at least at IMAGE HQ, who could take Kendall Jenner‘s foray into the world of fashion very seriously. Given her background, would we and countless others who hear the name Kendall and instantly think of that reality TV show ever accept her as a credible supermodel?

With Givenchy, Chanel and now Estee Lauder slowly but surely turning their heads towards her classically beautiful aesthetic and powerful social media presence (think big brand awareness, folks), perhaps we should too.

Finding herself in front of a camera from the age of 11 on her family’s self indulgent (albeit successful) money maker, Kendall’s no stranger to the spotlight. And though she can appear shy and somewhat standoffish on the show, she’s actually always dreamt of a career in modelling. “I would just always be looking at these supermodels who were just so amazing to me. They were like superheroes. … They were magical. … I want to be some little girl’s superhero. I want to be, I want to be the best role model I can be to a little girl or to a little boy or to anybody.” (ABC News)

As the series’ went on and Miss Jenner grew from a typically awkward looking inbetweener into the head-turning model we know today, our attention began to shift from the drama-hungry Kardashian sisters to Kendall herself. Who was this quiet young girl piquing the interest of the world’s most influential fashion and beauty brands? Despite the naysayers, Kendall set about making a name for herself that went beyond what her siblings had become known for (which, you’ll agreen, is essentially nothing).

Some, including Kendall herself, might think that her family background would hinder her reputation and success in this cut-throat industry, but as the aforementioned brands make braver, more daring choices, they’re now looking towards the likes of Kendall who, whether it be positive or negative, get people talking. Why wouldn’t they? Ultimately it’s all about getting the brand name out there, and with over 16 million Instagram followers and posts that garner more than a million likes, the opinions of those who snub this teenage model really don’t matter.

To the negative backlash received by Estee Lauder following the announcement that shocked those who expected someone along the lines of Julia Roberts’ stature, Kendall’s agency manager says to the NY Times, “It speaks volumes to where we are right now in terms of nontraditional media… Millennials are not into traditional media. How they’re getting their media is completely fractured.”

Kendall is also quick to remind us that though her family name may have given her a platform that thousands of other pretty girls don’t have, she continues to work her ass off, determined to break through that Kardashian wall (she reportedly banned Kim from attending her runway shows for fear it would detract from her work) and shake off the inevitable assumption that she just got lucky. “I’m not trying to use a family name or anything. In reality I worked pretty hard for this … It wasn’t like I just got it magically and it just happened” she said to ABC.

Though she’s young, if she’s learned one thing from the family that surrounds her, it’s not to pay too much heed to what the critics say. “I don’t feel the need, you know what I mean? Let them do what they want to do. Let them sit behind a computer and write stupid things about a young girl and make her feel bad about herself. I think it’s cruel and it’s evil… Why would you ever want to live your life like that? So like, just traumatized, by what everybody is saying about you? If you just ignore it and go on and you’re like, ‘I know what’s real.’ My family, my friends, they know what’s real. So what else, why does that matter?”

Given her unyielding success of late, matter it does not.

Looking forward, in an article for NY Times, Kendall talks about her efforts to rebrand and move away from that ‘pffft, aren’t you one of those Kardashians?’ attitudes that have followed her thus far.  Joining up with a new high profile agency, The Society Management, Kendall says “We had to be very strategic and specific to really have people take me seriously and not mess around.”

With a little time and the right people around her, she’ll have a proper business head on her shoulders and with brands queuing around the corner for a piece of her, those who doubted her growing sartorial clout (ourselves included) will have no choice but to eat some tasty, humble pie.

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