EXCLUSIVE: The Business of Being Kylie Jenner
The social media star opens up about those plastic surgery rumours, life on social media, and her relationship with Caitlyn.
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by : Aliyah Shamsher- Nov 2nd, 2015
Kylie Jenner hardly needs an introduction. As the youngest daughter of Kris and Caitlyn (born Bruce) Jenner, she has starred alongside her sister, Kendall, half-sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloé, and half-brother, Rob, on the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians since she was just 10 years old. (The show, which just premiered its 11th season, is as popular as ever.) Now 18, Jenner has spent the past two years transforming herself from reality-TV star to fashion and beauty personality.
Currently, Jenner has more than 40 million Instagram fans following her every sartorial and beauty move. (Seen a bunch of girls and boys with blue hair recently? That’s because of Jenner.) But it’s not just her devoted fans who obsessively track her. Whether it’s her hair transformations (Mint green! Teal ombré! Bleached blond! Jet black!) or snapshots of her daily life hanging out with friends and rapper boyfriend Tyga, every single thing Jenner does or posts online immediately becomes worldwide news.
On the morning of our live cover shoot, though, all is quiet on the social-media front. And that’s because Jenner, who arrives sans makeup and in head-to-toe black, has requested a “peaceful space” while getting her hair and makeup done by long-time family friends hairstylist Jen Atkin and makeup artist Joyce Bonelli. And by “peaceful,” she means absolutely no photos. None.
She can’t really mean NO photos, we all think. This is, after all, a girl who has grown up in front of a reality-TV crew and has one of the most-viewed accounts on Snapchat—ever. But we quickly learn that peace and quiet is something Jenner rarely gets, so when she can, sneaking in moments of complete privacy is a welcome reprieve from the social-media storm that typically surrounds her.
At noon, Jenner lifts the photo ban, and our live cover commences. She starts by posting a shot of her impromptu haircut and newly-bleached-blond eyebrows to Instagram. The reaction is immediate. Within seconds, comments ranging from passionate fan-girl love to intense hate flood Jenner’s feed. Within the hour, the Daily Mail has picked up the photo as a news item. The comments continue to pour in (the post currently has 1.5 million likes and 36,000 comments), and with each subsequent image that both Jenner and ELLE Canada post come more likes, reposts and comments at dizzying speeds.
Throughout the day, we all feel the love: “SHE IS SO FLAWLESS OMFG”…and the hate: “She is hideous look at her face now.” Watching this in real time is surreal, but Jenner seems unfazed by it all. Between posing like a pro in front of the camera and dancing and lip-synching to Kanye West on-set, Jenner retreats to her “peaceful space” to either FaceTime with her older sister Khloé or goof around with Atkin and Bonelli.
When I chat with Jenner over the phone a few weeks later, she has just returned home from New York, where she launched her new app, Kylie, during New York Fashion Week. After a whirlwind week of press, interviews and countless photos, she’s happy to be home—or, as she calls it, her “safe place.” While taking a break from creating content for her new app and decorating her recently purchased Calabasas, Calif., home, Jenner opens up about what it’s like to be at the centre of so much love and hate, all those plastic-surgery rumours, her relationship with Caitlyn and how she’s approaching the next decade.
I’ve noticed that you haven’t posted anything on social media today. “Today, I said that I’m not going to Instagram and I’m not going to Snapchat because I don’t even want to hear it, you know?”
I can understand that. I was actually taken aback by all the negative comments that were said about you when we did our live cover shoot. How do you deal with these types of remarks? “I mean…I’m still human; I can’t come across something so hurtful and just brush it off and go on with my day. It’s really hard, and I’m still growing up. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard for me when I was younger. When I was 15 or 16, I never looked at the comments; I never Googled myself—I wouldn’t go there. I didn’t even know about any of these mean blogs. I know that if you don’t read it, it doesn’t affect you, but it’s still hard.”
So why keep sharing?“I always try to remind myself that it comes with the lifestyle. If you look at other celebrities who get the same sort of attention as I do, they are barely on Instagram or they don’t even Snapchat—but I love to share! And I can’t live my life reading all the negative comments because there is still so much positive stuff out there. There’s good and bad with everything.”
Is this what inspired you to create your social-media anti-bullying campaign, #IAmMoreThan, which launched in September?“I get bullied all the time over the Internet, and I feel like the bigger I get, the more love and hate comes along with it. But there are so many other people who get bullied way worse than me, and I wanted to share their stories. I wanted to show my fans the people who inspire me, who have been through the darkness of bullying and not only overcome it but done something better with it. And they can use my platform to share their voice. I feel like if I only shared my story about bullying, it wouldn’t be as impactful as hearing other real stories that inspire me.”
How did you find these stories? “I launched the campaign and created the hashtag #IAmMoreThan. After that, I just started looking through the posts. I literally just look through the hashtags and read each story. The last person I chose sent me a three-minute video to say how thankful he was that I posted his story. It’s really nice, and I feel like people need to hear these stories and realize that bullying is just not okay.”