We Chatted With Karlie Kloss About Graduation, Coding & Her Squad

Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
You might know Karlie Kloss because she's currently one of the world's most successful models. Or maybe because she's Taylor Swift's bestie and a devoted member of her squad. You might not know that the 23-year-old is also dedicated to helping the next generation of young professionals succeed — and that she knows how to code. Kloss hopped on the phone with us yesterday from the University of South Carolina, where she hosted a shoe-centric Nordstrom event for new grads. She told us all about what she's working on, and why she's helping young women and girls get a leg up as they enter the "real world" for the first time. A big part of that is taking place this summer through Kode With Klossy, a coding initiative Kloss founded. The program, which is taking applications through the end of the month, gives teenage girls the chance to take computer science courses and learn coding fundamentals. Kode With Klossy stemmed from a course Kloss herself took at New York's Flatiron School two years ago, and takes place in New York City, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. With the Flatiron course not being offered this year, she stepped up to make that same opportunity available (for free) to 80 women across the U.S. What inspired you to learn to code?
"All of the things we interact with on a daily basis through our computers, through our smartphones — all the things that we take for granted — I really wanted to understand why they worked, who built them, and how I could figure out how to build something myself. It was out of curiosity I took an initial coding class, and I was really in awe of the power of it, of being able to take an idea and build it into an actual app or a website."

Why do you think learning to code is important?
"[Coding] really is a very creative skill set in its own way. You can problem solve. You can be able to build a solution for whatever you can dream. It can be applied in so many different directions… If you have a passion for philanthropy, or fashion, technology is intertwined into every industry no matter what you want to do. It can really be a huge asset that you can bring to the table."

And what about for women, in particular?
"The more girls and women we can have equipped with this skill set and really thinking in this way — they think differently than boys and men, they approach things a different way, think about problem solving a different way… Our brains work differently. Being able to equip more women and girls with this ability to code really will lead to a lot of innovation and creative solutions. I’m really excited to see the impact it will have."

Photo: Courtesy Grant Halverson/Getty Images.
Does anyone else in your squad code?
"No friends do yet, but a lot have told me they want to learn. I think I need to have a group coding session!" What do you plan to do with your coding knowledge?
"I’m still learning myself. I really enjoy working on projects and definitely want to build something, be it an app or a business idea. Being able to actually build it out myself is something I’m really excited about. That's what I wanted to share with other students, other young women — that empowering feeling of being able to create anything you can dream of."

What's it like seeing your friends graduate, since you've been working for so long?
"I remember going to my first interview, a go-see or casting, when I was a freshman in high school. It’s awesome to watch my friends and younger sisters go through this transition into the next phase of entering work life. I feel, funnily enough at 23, that I’ve been through this, I’m a bit of a veteran."

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