Since she was 15 years old, Karlie Kloss has been a household name in the modeling world. But in the decade since her runway debut, the 26-year-old has experienced almost every up and down one can think of, especially when it comes to the fashion industry’s ever-present body-image pressures.
In an interview with Vogue, Kloss recalled a time in her early career when the fashion industry stopped working with her after she went up three sizes in a year. The experience happened in Kloss’s teens when she started using birth control, which made her body look more “womanly,” with bigger thighs and hips. “I started taking birth control, and my body became more womanly—hips and thighs appeared,” Kloss said.
But not everyone was a fan of Kloss’s curvier body. As her body changed, so did the fashion industry’s opinion of her, and soon, Kloss saw herself losing jobs and become blacklisted by designers after she went from a size 0 to a 6 in less than a year. “I started losing jobs; I wasn’t getting booked for the runway; designers stopped working with me. It felt as if my world had been turned upside down,” Kloss said.
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It didn’t help that Kloss held herself up to one of the most successful models in the world, Gisele Bündchen. But something good did come out of Kloss’s time off. Instead of sulking over her lack of jobs, Kloss was proactive, which led her back to the classroom where she studied computer coding at New York University. Eventually, the course inspired Kloss to start Kode with Klossy, a coding camp that encourages young women to enter STEM fields.
“I’d always measured myself against Gisele—to me she was the pinnacle of modeling success—and that was not productive,” Kloss said. “That’s when I had a breakthrough: I realized it was time for me to do me, to embrace the things that make me who I am.”
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We’re pleased to hear that Kloss’s story has a happy ending for both her and the young girls who she’s teaching to code. Keep on keeping on, Karlie.