Behind the Kendallabra

Kendall Jenner then and now: a retrospective


Some interesting, oft-overlooked facts about Kendall Jenner: She appeared on the revival TV show Hawaii Five-0 in 2012 as someone named A.J. She interned at Seventeen magazine at some point but according to knowledge accrued from a spurious news channel called E!, was shy. Finally, potentially the most important of these facts: she was 12 in the year 2007. This presents the question: where were you then?

I was in high school. I had braces and I sang The Chant of Spears (see: I’m not a girl, not yet a woman) while wearing bobby-pins on three quarters of Japanese-straightened hair, a floor length black skirt purchased somewhere in the depths of Jewish Brooklyn and those Minnetonka moccasins with the beads on the toe. I interrupted myself while speaking often to inject superfluous, hyperbolic absolutes in an accent reminiscent of one from an outer borough and did not have a learner’s permit to drive.

So you know where I was not? A) Driving and B) Informally accepting the title of muse to Riccardo Tisci. But I bet you could guess who is doing both of those things! In circles! The K-Meister. And it’s during these times of glorious evolution that a photographic retrospective, like a visit to Paris, is never a bad idea. So, join me in remembering the Ken that was pre-dall. The Jen that came post -ner and, of course, that leopard print halter top with the embroidered neckline because I think it made noise when she walked.

Talk about an entrance.

There does remain one other question, which depends on whether this evolution has been manufactured entirely by third party participants in the Kendallabra’s life, see: brother-in-law, sister-de-facto, or if this recent rise to high fashion fame is the elective decision of the human Menorah.

The near-irrefutable fact is that she fits the model bill. She also seems to be the best case scenario as progeny in the setting of extreme celebrity but that may present another issue: can you shake the implications of her previous life as a reality star from her current occupation as, ostensibly speaking, The Next Big Thing? Let us photo surf.

Can’t stop talking about the K word?

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  • Christina Storm

    Love this!
    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  • GapToothedGirl

    What a huge transformation!
    XOX, Gap

  • ee_by_cc

    Hilarious post! Like all things Kardashian-related, I don’t want to like her (I suffer from a mild case of Hater-itis). But, good on her for working hard to make her sh*t too legit to quit!

  • CarlotaLMorais

    Everyone has the right to make it on their own, and I think she did it!
    From a lame reality tv star to a model, and that’s ok! She looks amazing!
    She achieved more than any of her sisters, who seem to be famous for
    doing absolutely nothing. But she is doing something.
    Aproved, aproved and

  • Heather Funk

    I think Kendall’s GREAT at what she does… but omg, when I was in high school, the Kardashians hadn’t yet supplanted the Hiltons, and we were all walking around in graphic t’s and denim minis like Hilarie Burton on One Tree Hill…sometimes with sparkly kitten heels. #old

  • I prefer Kendall’s method of becoming famous over Kimberly’s. JUST SAYIN’.

  • Mallory

    I can’t believe her and Kim only have a mother in common. They look SO much alike in some of those photos.

    • I’m going to guess that’s because of plastic surgery.

  • No Thanks

    If she didn’t have connections, she’d be with Vision models in LA doing commercial work. That’s probably as far as she’d go. No way would she be in a Givenchy campaign

  • Better question: What happened to her sister Kylie’s face?! (See Baby Jenner’s Instagram for visual aid.)

  • lavieenliz

    it’s crazy their are pics where she looks just like a Jenner and then others where she looks exactly like Kim! She’s the coolest of them all…besides Scott of course

  • Dominique
  • A pretty girl. I especially like the pic where she looks gothic. Right now she has a great slim body but I see those wawawoom hips coming. Hope she’ll not fight them with getting anorexic or so.

  • Carina

    It’s weird to me…because I think Kendall Jenner is too ~pretty (???) to be a model? I don’t know, we’ve had almost a decade of models with unconventional beauty: gap tooths, weird noses, unusual facial proportions, long faces, thick eyebrows – striking features that surely would have been considered ugly in a previous decade. I feel like with Kendall’s “conventional” beauty, she just doesn’t stand out on the runway or in the adverts. Look at the editorial from Paris Vogue. It’s hard to keep your attention on her with the other two girls standing beside her.

    I don’t know man, I don’t know

    • lea

      I agree with you. I’ve always sought models to look more or less like aliens which is quiet funny but happens in the modeling industry nonetheless…
      I don’t know either…

  • Karyschka Naidoo

    I love Kendall, I think she is a natural beauty with amazing style and is really working hard to make a name for herself in the industry. The only thing is, it seems that despite how hard she’s working or tries to work at it… things seems to automatically just happen for her. Lets be honest, if my sister made a sex tape with a ‘famous’ individual which truth be told basically launched Kim’s so-called ‘career’… then I would also be famous.
    Kendall has the Kardashian name backing her up, and has made more of an impact than her Jenner name. If it wasn’t for Kim’s sex tape and the Kardashian-Jenner surname, she would just be an average pretty girl.
    Also, Kylie wouldn’t be able to afford plastic surgery then, to try help her look pretty.

  • lindsey

    she is so flawless

  • Romina C

    Aahha Love your text. Kendall has long career to go. x Romi

  • Mary Lopez

    Share with you an authorized
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  • the black and white romper pic from Cosmo. She looks – and I am not bashing either of them because Fran is hilarious and Kendall’s work is fabulous – like a high fashion version of The Nanny. From that distance she really looks like 90’s Fran to me!

  • Truly believe she would be just another commercial model if it wasn’t for her ‘fame’. She’s just alright to me. But hey, she better get her shine while she can. As unfair as it may sound for other legit models.

    Lau, the Broke Curator.

  • Cristina Feather

    I love the title, your’re always so smart!! Kendall is great and all, but why are you talking about her so much? I guess I don’t get it because I’m not an American, and I don’t consume “The Kardashians” as much as you do… but even so, I can’t handle it anymore!!

  • john
  • Even if she had a privileged head´s up, she is still the reflection of different choices. Good for her!

  • BK

    matching sisterly outfits with Kylie, whattup (aside from their combined street cred)

    • BK

      PS hey Leandra speaking of known people whose names start with K, are you going to review Kim Kardashian’s book about selfies or are you going to leave me hanging? don’t leave me hanging. Kylie wouldn’t leave Kendall hanging, at least not when planning mid-teen sibling outfits. Kendall, however, seems inherently more fickle and may indeed leave Kylie hanging. WAIT MAYBE YOU’RE KENDALL IN THIS SITUATION AND YOU WILL INDEED LEAVE ME HANGING – but I always felt tall enough to be Kendall – brb reassessing our entire fictitious relationship. I forget what brought me here in the first place.

  • elle geiger

    I think she is fabulous and deserving of her status as a high fashion model. I wish her continued success!

  • Tamara Guest

    I love that you wrote this in such a silly way, not taking a stance on whether you actually approve of her being a model or not! (I personally don’t) But thank you for this reminiscent piece 🙂