"Kendall Jenner: The Model" might still be hard for the average consumer of pop culture to stomach. It might be hard for Jenner herself, too, as finding her identity outside of "Kendall Jenner: The Kardashian" can't have been easy. But bearing that name does carry its (obvious) perks — and her handy ascent to top-model status is proof of that. That is, when you're "Kendall Jenner: The Kardashian Who's Trying To Model," landing a coveted spot on whatever runway you wish comes a lot easier than it does for most. The designers you'd need to impress to get a gig have been dressing your sisters since before you could even drive your $90K Range Rover.
The internet sort of exploded when Kendall (yes, she dropped the Jenner) made her runway debut at Marc Jacobs' fall 2014 show in New York City. There, eyebrow-less and hidden beneath a blunt bobbed wig, she donned a sheer top that exposed her nipples so intentionally you could see them from the risers. After that, Karl Lagerfeld caught notice of the on-the-rise model, adding his name to the list of designers who actually like America's First Family of reality TV, alongside Riccardo Tisci, Olivier Rousteing, and more.
Kendall has since nabbed several campaigns that, like it or not, have catapulted her to supermodel status (see: Balmain, Calvin Klein, Estée Lauder, and Marc Jacobs). Frankly, it's hard to open up an issue of Vogue these days without seeing her in several editorials. But despite how difficult (or not difficult) her ascent to the top may have been, her success is significant. Not only has she turned her lifelong dream into a career (before turning 20), but she persevered in the face of extreme negativity, and a cadre of haters most other upstart models never see. And whether she got to the top via the hills of Calabasas, her family name, her Instagram fame, her talent, or whatever other reason, really doesn't matter — she got there.
In celebration of her 20th birthday, we're looking back on Kendall's runway evolution to see just how far she's really come in the past few years. From that Tumbler and Tipsy show in 2013 to the Balmain x H&M and Victoria's Secret Fashion Show productions that seriously made our heads explode, you've got hand it to her: The girl's got grit.