Kendall Jenner: Please Decide If You Are A Mute Model Or A Spokesperson

Is Kendall Jenner deaf to the issues or is she purposefully playing the mute model card?

Kendall Jenner: Please Decide If You Are A Mute Model Or A Spokesperson

by Lucy Morris |
Published on

This week’s release of Vogue India’s 10th anniversary issue featuring Kendall Jenner on the cover rounded out a month of bad publicity for the model. Everyone knows that diversity is a problem within fashion but the publication’s choice to celebrate a decade in print with a cis white American woman only draws attention to it. As one Twitter user said, ‘Someone tell me why Kendall Jenner is on the front of Vogue India's 10 year anniversary cover? Could you not find 1/500million in India?’

This furore comes just one week after she was caught up in the Fyre Festival debacle. It was originally publicised on the social channels of Kendall and her model pals as a luxury Coachella in the Bahamas, but the reality was quite, quite different. The island was a chaotic scene with barely any infrastructure, and no way of delivering on the extravagant promises set by the festival’s founders and the images proliferated across Kendall, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Hailey Baldwin’s Instagram feeds. While Bella broke her silence and apologised for the part she played in a tweet she later deleted, Kendall has remained silent even though the festival has since become the subject of two multi-million dollar class action lawsuits.

Moments before these two colossal problems, Kendall's name was muddied by its association with a catastrophically ill-thought out Pepsi advert. While it’s since been pulled, the memory of the model mimicking a Black Lives Matter protestor facing off a police officer and resolving the animosity between activist and government body via a Pepsi can has been seared into the internet’s memory bank.


Before the outcry Kendall had told WWD, ‘the whole concept is really something that I’m about’. But, since the internet’s condemnation and Pepsi pulling and withdrawing the advert she’s remained mute. In fact, the soda company made a public apology to the model, adding: ‘We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.’

While a clip from the Pepsi campaign, like the Fyre festival plug, were promoted on Kendall’s personal social media channel she hasn’t spoken out about the backlash of either campaign. We are led to presume that platforms, like Instagram, are an insight into a celebrity that are untampered by the press’ fiddling and that they come direct from the celebrity (or at least their PR). Yet, Kendall isn’t taking responsibility for what she is posting.

If the content on a social media influencer’s platform is paid for it is counted as an advertisement by the Advertising Standards Authority. And, so the same rules apply to it as the ones that relate to a billboard of a tv commercial. Ella Cahoon from ASA says the posts, ‘should not mislead, harm or offend and should be responsible.’

‘Ultimately, where a social influencer has been paid to say something, and that message is controlled by a brand then the advertising rules apply to the advertiser/brand behind the commercial message and any ASA investigation would apply to them. The social influencer would also be named in any investigation, but the buck would stop with the advertiser/brand' Cahoon added. Though Kendall may be financially off the hook her name is now indistinctly linked to three contentious campaigns.

Kendall Jenner has grown up with the eyes of the world on her and the ear of the press at her feet. She’s walked some of the most coveted catwalks in fashion and had her face splashed across countless magazines. She has made the choice to follow the limelight and has signed contracts for campaigns that have gone viral – for both positive and negative reasons – yet she plays the mute model card. It’s contradictory to the image her Instagram portrays, where she attends political rallies and is happy to share intimate childhood memories with her millions of followers. Kendall, all we ask is: are you a model or a spokesperson? Either way pick one, please.

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Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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