NEW YORK – While she may be the queen of social media — with more than 58 million followers across platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Periscope — Kendall Jenner really doesn’t want to know what you think of her.
“I don’t pay attention to it — I don’t read it,” said the poised, Ohne Titel-clad 19-year-old, who sat down with WWD before making a jam-packed appearance at Macy’s Herald Square (during which she sold more than $35,000 worth of Modern Muse Le Rouge, the Estée Lauder fragrance she was there to represent. It’s intended to be a bolder, sexier sister to the original Modern Muse, and sources estimate it could do $90 million at retail in its first year on counter.)
“I don’t need it to affect my life. So I’d rather just not look at anything,” Jenner added of social media. “You can get a million comments about how beautiful you look and how awesome you are, but the one comment that says they hate you and you’re ugly is the one that sticks.”
Although Jenner has grown up under a microscope — a situation she acknowledges comes with fame — she tries, as much as she can, to keep parts of her life to herself. “I think I’m the most private out of my family,” she said of her large family, which includes sisters Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, “momager” Kris Jenner and transgender father Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner. “I’m always paying attention to that, and I try not to be too invasive into my personal life. When I was younger, I used to tweet a lot, everything I was doing and feeling. I can’t do that anymore, because it’s just giving people too much room to judge. I love posting a good picture, though.”
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Jenner is candid that she’s learned from her older sisters’ missteps. “My sisters raised me along with my parents, and Kylie and I got to learn from their mistakes, for sure,” she said. “We’d watch them to learn about it before we actually got on the ride. My little sister and I make our mistakes, but at least we’re aware of it, what you have to be careful of. And they taught me not to listen to what the media has to say about me. The tabloids write the worst, most unrealistic things you could think of, like I’m pregnant with my sister’s baby.”
Constantly being under a microscope isn’t easy for most people, but Jenner said her childhood prepared her for it. “I was lucky enough to be able to grow up with it,” she said. “My little sister and I got used to it at an easy pace. It’s been normal for us since we were babies. We were never afraid of it, of a big crowd and a lot of people. We always understood the idea that it came with the fame. “
One of the most relentless issues the tabloids — and the mainstream media — have had this year is her father’s transgender status, a topic Jenner handles with grace. “It would probably be different for someone who didn’t have to live it through the media,” she said. “But it’s been a ride, for sure. It’s an adjustment. It’s something you have to get used to. But I’ve known since I was a kid. He never confirmed it to me, but I’ve known for a very long time. It’s the same person. My dad says it herself sometimes, it’s kind of like mourning the loss of someone, because it is. My dad is my dad, but he’s not there physically anymore. But she lets me call her dad — that’s the last little piece of dad I’ve got.” She notes that the pronouns can be confused, depending on what point in history she’s speaking of — whether it’s a year ago when her father still called himself Bruce, or post-reveal as Caitlyn.
Jenner was recently named to Forbes’ list of highest-paid models (according to the magazine, pulling in upward of $4 million a year) — and she has a lofty goal for herself: That in 10 years, her star will shine as brightly as top model Christy Turlington’s has. At least she has accomplished one thing Turlington did: Like her, Jenner also is a face of Calvin Klein Underwear. “In 10 years, I hope to be doing this still [representing Lauder]. I hate saying it, because I don’t ever want to sound too cocky, but I want to be one of the best. I want to be like a Christy Turlington, still doing my craft and still killing it. I want longevity and to be able to do this for a really long time.”
Right now, she’s enjoying the ride. “It feels awesome,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine, so it’s really a dream come true. I feel really productive. I’m very competitive with myself. I’m a scheduler. I’m always trying to keep everything together — I’m very OCD and very organized. I like knowing things are coming together the way I wanted them to, and that it all feels right. It’s more than I expected. When I first started, I didn’t know how people would take me, how it would work out for me. So it’s definitely much more than I expected. I try not to expect anything. So coming into it, I was thinking, ‘oh, no one’s going to like me.’”
She’s especially thankful for her Lauder contract. “Before I got the contract, I’d heard from a lot of people that a contract with a company like Estée Lauder was like a stamp of approval, a stamp of your legit-ness. So getting that was a really big step for me. And my sisters love it. The other day, Kourtney and Khloe were going to the airport, and they saw a huge billboard with my Estée ad. They took a picture of it and Instagrammed it. They say, ‘You’re the cool and classy one in the family — we’re going to feed on this and bring it in to our lives.’ ”
Jenner said that she’s also on a mission to bring all of her friends into the Lauder fold, something Estée Lauder global brand president Jane Hertzmark Hudis said she is already doing. “That was their goal, to bring in the younger audience. They thought that I would work for that, and honestly, that’s my intention, to bring that,” Jenner said. She’s already created a lipstick within Lauder’s Pure Color line called Restless — it’s a red shade with a touch of orange — and she said she’d love to do more fragrances, including perhaps one with her own name on it. “Hint, hint,” she said to the Lauder executives around her. “I love a good vanilla-y scent,” she added. “Modern Muse Le Rouge has a hint of vanilla and raspberry, which I actually really love. And I love a red lip — red is one of my favorite colors, and I really don’t wear many other lipstick colors than red. So I wanted to do something that wasn’t just a baby pink. I wanted something that would stand out, and I feel like pretty much everyone can pull off the shade.”
Jenner and her sisters also launched their own personal lifestyle apps. “I talk about what I’m doing and give behind-the-scenes looks,” she said of hers. “I like to stay connected with my fans, and this is a really good way to do that. I have a live-stream function on it so I can pop in every once in awhile and show them a little bit of me, what I’m doing in the moment, live. I’m showing a lot of photos that have never been seen before, and videos from traveling the world, backstage and all of that.”
During New York Fashion Week, she walked in runway shows for Diane von Furstenberg, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, and she’s also planning to do Paris shows (“not sure which ones yet,” she said.) “I was shooting a lot during New York Fashion Week, as well as walking the shows,” she said. “I’m a little tired, but it was good. I really love the looks from Marc, and Givenchy was a really sick show. It’s hard to be surprised by people who are really so creative, who are always really thinking at the next level, because you always expect something really awesome from them.”