Less than a week after the Kardashians made the move to trademark the name of North West, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s oldest child, the 5-year-old has already stepped up her presence in the public eye. At the young age, North landed her first solo cover, which serves as the visual complement to WWD Beauty Inc.’s story about Generation Z, or post-millennials born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s.
Of course, North was born in 2013, which conveniently serves as a reason for the article to introduce us to “Generation Alpha,” of which North is apparently now the poster child (emphasis on “child”). As the story, which explores both generations’ impact on the global beauty industry, puts its: “She embodies the upcoming youthquake, having captivated the digital realm with her cross-generational appeal.” This isn’t merely a cute photo shoot. This seems to be a full-on exercise in branding a 5-year-old as a beauty influencer.
Still, it’s true that this isn’t totally new territory for North; she’s been a cover star in the past, though previously only alongside a parental companion. She’s even already done cover stories. (Her joint cover with Kim for Interview, in 2017, marked her first interview, in which she professed her love of cheese.) But this isn’t just a solo magazine cover; it’s the latest installment in a weeks-long press storm about North, from the trademarking of her name to the since-shutdown rumors that she has a “boyfriend.”
Kim has disputed the latter—her vary sane response being, simply, “She’s five.” Simple as that may be—even TMZ, which broke the “news,” did so with the word “duh”—much of the press and public needed that friendly reminder, as evidenced by the fact that the initial report was covered extensively. (She might as well be 25 or 35, from the sound of headlines like “North West Is Maybe Dating Caiden Mills,” from Elle, which reported that said “boyfriend” has been giving North gifts from Tiffany & Co.)
At this point, Kim must be getting used to the topic of North’s age, which hasn’t stopped her from, for example, styling her in bright red lipstick for their family Christmas card—in part, apparently, to tease a new KKW Beauty shade.
That’s just one of many parental decisions Kim has defended as of late, including quite a few other instances of North wearing makeup, though she does have some limits: That same month, she told Refinery29, “I don’t think she should wear lashes or too dark of a lipstick.” She’s also been “mom-shamed” for straightening North’s hair. And, predictably enough, North’s cover has already brought more “mom-shaming,” with some fans taking issue with the fact that WWD Beauty Inc. photographed her not only sans curls but wearing hot pink eyeliner.
According to Kim, the 5-year-old’s beauty endeavors have all been at North’s request, and she hasn’t taken fulfilling them lightly: In the case of her hair, for example, she’s insisted that she’s taken steps to avoid any heat damage. Besides, North must be something of a makeup pro at this point, seeing as she mentioned that she sometimes puts makeup in her purse when she goes to church in her first interview, in 2017. Plus, she clearly isn’t any old 5-year-old: She’s already tried her hand at creative directing fashion photo shoots and being a runway model, and taken on an active role in the operation of her father’s label, Yeezy. (She’s even responsible for one of its fan favorites: a glow-in-the-dark edition of Yeezy Boosts.)
Given her family’s industries, maybe it’s not a surprise that North finds herself so naturally interested in fashion and beauty at such a young age. It is, however, still a bit surprising that she sat for a beauty magazine photo shoot before she even sat for a first-grade class portrait.