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straight talking

Vogue had no business asking Kendall Jenner to address rumours she's gay

Newsflash: woman comes out as straight.

KENDALL JENNER, LOVE her or loathe keeping up with her and her family, has forged an extremely successful and lucrative career as a model.

Last year she became the highest earning model in the world, raking in $22M (€17.8m) thanks to deals with brands such as Estée Lauder, La Perla and Adidas.

Zabulon Laurent / ABACA Zabulon Laurent / ABACA / ABACA

She’s recently taken a step back from the jet-setting and jet-lagging life of being at the pinnacle of the modelling world, surprising everyone last month by only walking in New York fashion week, and skipping out the other fashion weeks in London, Milan and Paris. Along with the long and strenuous workdays, 2017 was a rough year for Kendall.

In April, she became the scapegoat for a poorly thought-out Pepsi advert that tried to capitalise on the post-Trump cultural zeitgeist of activism and protests.

It completely missed the mark – Pepsi wasn’t going to solve Donald Trump or police brutality or racial/gender inequality. Then in May, she got dragged online for being chosen as the (white) cover girl of Vogue India’s 10 year anniversary edition, rather than a homegrown Indian model or celebrity.

photographs by Mario Testino photographs by Mario Testino

So Kendall decided to step back from the spotlight, and as she explains to this month’s latest edition of Vogue, began horseriding again and committed herself to Transcendental Mediation in order to care for her mental health.

But after her candid interview with Vogue magazine was released yesterday, she’s back in the headlines and is getting dragged on twitter for coming out as… straight?!

The interviewer, once alone in the car with Kendall, asked her some intimate questions.

Almost exactly like every single awkward time your Mum ambushes you for a sex talk as soon as you’re on the road

Except this wasn’t a person who gave birth to Kendall and loves her. This was an interviewer out for an exclusive scoop for Vogue. The interviewer asked Kendall ‘Why, I wonder, does the internet seem to think you’re gay?’

Trapped in the car alone with a middle aged man asking her to explain her sexual preferences, Kendall laughed it off gracefully, saying:

I think it’s because I’m not like all my other sisters, who are like, ‘Here’s me and my boyfriend!’ So it was a thing for a minute because no one ever saw me with a guy. I would always go that extra mile to be low-key with guys, sneaking around all the time. You don’t want to, like, look crazy.

She further expanded by saying:

I don’t think I have a bisexual or gay bone in my body, but I don’t know! Who knows?! I’m all down for experience—not against it whatsoever—but I’ve never been there before.” She ponders it for a moment. “Also, I know I have kind of a . . . male energy? But I don’t want to say that wrong, because I’m not transgender or anything. But I have a tough energy. I move differently. But to answer your question: I’m not gay. I have literally nothing to hide.

Her answers come across as uncomfortable, awkward and very nervous of insulting anyone. As she specifically says ‘I don’t want to say (it) wrong’.

The interviewer himself, Jonathan Van Meter, is gay so perhaps he felt that if Kendall was gay, she would find sympathetic solidarity with him. However, whether Kendall is or isn’t gay, she shouldn’t be asked point blank to address rumours of her sexuality.

What if she was gay, and isn’t ready for the whole world to know? As someone gay himself, the interviewer should be more aware that a person, particularly one in the public eye, shouldn’t be pressured into ‘coming out’ and announcing what gender they prefer to be cooking them eggs in the morning.

We don’t yet live in a world where you can completely guarantee that your career won’t be affected by your sexuality. In Ireland, it hasn’t stopped Leo Varadkar becoming Taoiseach (though he was a T.D. for 8 years before he felt comfortable enough to come out on his 36th birthday).

But as Cara Delevingne sadly explained on her Instagram  last year:

(Harvey Weinstein) said to me that if I was gay or decided to be with a woman, especially in public, that I’d never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood.

Even Ellen DeGeneres, the Queen of our hearts, revealed this week that her sitcom was dropped in 1998 after she came out as lesbian.

[It ended] because I came out. They really didn’t want me to come out … they finally let me come out and it was a huge success the night of. It was celebrated … then they just stopped promoting it because they were scared.”

Whilst acceptance of sexuality has become better in the United States since the 1990s (gay marriage is now legal!), America still voted in an openly homophobic Vice President. Mike Pence has supported electrotherapy (electro shocks) as a form of ‘gay conversion therapy’ for teenagers, an issue that Varadkar is rumoured to be bringing up with Pence tomorrow morning.

Aside from how her sexuality could affect her career, Kendall, having grown up in the spotlight, knows that hen the media have a narrative that they’ll milk it and spin every story to fit their chosen narrative.

Whilst your sexuality is a part of your identity, it should not become the defining feature of who you are. Kendall is cognizant that if she did come out she would be known as the ‘gay Kardashian sister’.

Pascal Le Segretain Pascal Le Segretain

But the problem doesn’t just lie with the interviewer asking her questions about her sexuality. It extends to how he laid out the interview.

He says ‘Kendall came out of her shell: she got a boyfriend and became a cheerleader’. The phrase ‘came out’ might appear innocent, but because of what followed, it can be argued that it was dropped in there deliberately. Why not simply say ‘Kendall grew up and became a teenager and did very normal teenager stuff?’

He then writes one of the most tone-deaf sentences of 2018, when he says ‘Kendall Jenner – a tomboy who collects vintage cars, prefers sneaks and jeans and a hoodie, and rolls with a squad of mostly guys – is not gay’.

Sorry what? That whole sentence is ridiculous! Why would any of those things mean that you’re gay?

Why is a preference for wearing comfortable footwear like sneakers an indication that you might be gay? Why do you have to divide your friend group by their genitalia? Why does spending your money on beautiful and cool vintage cars give off gay vibes?

@kendalljenner / instagram @kendalljenner / instagram / instagram

A 1956 robin’s-egg blue corvette convertible is an objectively sick car, no matter where you lie on the gender spectrum


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