Presented by Cole Haan
I'm not exactly the first person they ask to interview supermodels. I'm not privy to the insider news of the fashion world, and I'm also 5'4" — so a lot of my questions would just be "What's it like up there?" But when I was tasked with interviewing two extraordinary women, Karlie Kloss and Christy Turlington, it didn't end up feeling like a task at all. All the classic model stereotypes (cool, unattainable, aloof) were cracked in half as I got to know women whose powerful interests stretch well beyond the catwalk.
I was not only impressed by their individual pursuits — Christy's commitment to Every Mother Counts, an organization trying to make childbirth safe for every woman around the world, and Karlie's involvement with Kode with Klossy, a coding camp for girls — but I was also deeply moved by the mentorship Christy has offered Karlie in a business where sisterhood isn't always the norm. It reminded me of the connection between Lena and me that launched this newsletter, and it also reinforced the idea that lending a hand and a shoulder to cry on will always pay dividends.
Jenni Konner: How did you two meet?
Christy Turlington: I met her the first time at a store in New York City. She was a girl at the time, but I really was drawn to her immediately because I also started working as a young woman. I really don't work very much and haven't for a long time, but I was there to do a portrait, and Karlie came in. I think she was shooting a campaign at the time. I was like, What a lovely girl. Very tall, very pretty, but I really didn't follow and don't follow fashion magazines as a layperson anymore. But after that, I started to see her on virtually everything and everywhere.
Karlie Kloss: The first time we met, I was sixteen, and I burst into tears. I admired Christy as an icon in fashion, but beyond that, I really admired the fact that she broke the rules and continued to pursue her passions beyond her day job [in modeling]. I think that she is an extraordinary woman in every sense of the word and in every facet of her life.
CT: Eventually, she knocked on the door in my office. She was in the same building for a meeting and came over and said, "Hey, is this Every Mother Counts?" I was in the office sitting at the computer, and I turned around, and she was like, "Hi, it's Karlie."
From that moment on, we've gotten to know each other well. We have made time for one another to talk, to share, to connect, and to partner in different ways. She came to Haiti with me on an Every Mother Counts trip a couple of years ago. She's there at any time that I need her to be supportive, and I try to be there as solidly as she is for me in any of her endeavors.
KK: For someone like me who loves to learn and wanted to continue my education after I graduated high school and balance that with my career, Christy was a trailblazer. She was instrumental in giving me the courage to apply to NYU — she actually wrote my recommendation letter.
JK: Both of you have taken unconventional paths for having started in modeling. What made you want to pivot to a new path?
KK: Part of why I admire Christy so much and really learned from her as a mentor is because after graduating high school and before applying to NYU, and before starting Kode with Klossy, [I was] in a middle-of-the-road point in my career.