Vivienne Tam - Front Row & Backstage - February 2017 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Carol Alt Points Out Nepotism in Modeling After Kendall Jenner’s Controversial Comments

The model, actress, and author Carol Alt was not particularly amused by Kendall Jenner’s recent comments about her modeling schedule. To recap: A little less than a month ago, Jenner, who didn’t walk in any New York Fashion Week shows this season, spoke frankly about how she chooses her projects, saying, “Since the beginning we’ve been super selective about what shows I would do.” She added, “I was never one of those girls who would do, like, 30 shows a season or whatever the f--k those girls do.” Plenty of models quickly responded, pointing out that Jenner’s comments were dismissive and out of touch with the fact that for the vast majority of models, they actually need the income of as many shows as possible. Jenner was born rich and her contracts are lucrative; for another girl in the industry, a job is a job.

In fairness, Jenner’s original quote continued to say, “I was never one of those girls who would do, like, 30 shows a season or whatever the f--k those girls do. More power to ’em” [emphasis added]. She also said that she has she worked on “a million jobs, not only catwalks but everything else,” a combination that “was very overwhelming” and brought her to “the verge of a mental breakdown.” Perhaps is was not just Jenner’s privilege, but also her anxiety, that curbed the number of shows she takes per season.

After the dust-up, Jenner used Twitter to clarify that she is inspired by her fellow models’ work ethics and had no intention to slight them, writing, “I get to experience firsthand their tireless commitment, their work ethic, the endless days, the lack of sleep, separation from family and friends, stress of traveling, the toll on physical and mental health, yet they still make it all look effortless and beautiful.”

Ms. Alt, a prolific cover girl of the ’80s, however, had some choice words about the role of nepotism in the industry. She told Page Six, “I was the daughter of a fireman. What chance did I have against the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world? They were Hollywood elite, and Hollywood royalty.” Well, fair enough. Celebrity spawn rules the runway to this day. It can’t be easy for a talented but unknown face to go up against, say, Kaia Gerber. Alt continued, “I remember losing my Lancôme contract to [the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini] Isabella Rossellini. I took Lancôme to number one, and they wanted royalty. I was a new young face so Lancôme dropped me…. But the best part about it is that Covergirl picked me up, and I took Covergirl to number one. So it worked out just fine.”

Still, the trend of celebrity children walking the runway doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Celebrity scions like Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon and Laura Dern’s son Ellery Harper just made their catwalk debuts this past New York Fashion Week.

Related: Kendall Jenner Opens Up About Her Fashion Week Anxiety