Photographer Russell James defends Kendall Jenner’s supermodel status

Kendall Jenner is more than just an Instagram model.

In a new interview with Refinery29, photographer Russell James — the man who helped launch the 23-year-old’s fashion career with her 2012 Miss Vogue Australia cover — defended the runway star’s supermodel status.

“The number one reason that Kendall is a supermodel is because of the amount of dedication and absolute commitment that she put into it,” James said. “If someone thinks it’s about being discovered in a kitchen, honestly, you can have the kitchen conversation, but it’s been years and years of hard work that came after. It’s true that she comes from a family that has done great in business but that shouldn’t preclude someone from following their own dreams.”

He continued, “The only reason Kendall has become a supermodel is because she worked her ass off. She really did. There is an untold story there about how damn hard that girl works. I know she can’t say it because she’d get chopped off at the knees for saying it but I can certainly say it. I wish all of my kids had that much work ethic and that much commitment. She was absolutely focused.”

James’s defense seems to be in direct response to statements made in 2016 by Stephanie Seymour, who is considered to be one of the great models of the ’90s. When asked by Vanity Fair what she thought about young upstarts like Jenner and Gigi Hadid, she retorted, “They are completely different than we were … supermodels are sort of the thing of the past. They deserve their own title. B—hes of the moment! That would be a good title for them.”

Clearly, however, Jenner’s career has become far more than just a moment — it’s a full-blown movement.

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