Kendall, It’s Not Me — It’s You

Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/FilmMagic.
Kendall, we need to talk. And I think you know why. Your latest Vogue spread — which, need I remind you, is your fifth this year — is...problematic. Here's why: Though the video you agreed to participate in — which I reluctantly embed in this article, even though it is as morally corrupt as Faye Resnick — is pretty, when I saw it, I threw my phone. Universally, there are, like, two things that make people throw their phones: dick pics and shit Donald Trump says. But I bet a lot of dancers had the same reaction I did. Having danced for most of my life, I've amassed a Facebook newsfeed that's filled with ballerinas constantly sharing old Balanchine photos or rhythmic gymnastics clips (which is an Olympic sport, by the way). But when this Vogue España video made its internet rounds, they weren't happy. Together, we felt confused and guilty (because in part, via participatory clicks, we put you there). This mishap was shared tons of times, but not in a good way: Dance Spirit called it "facepalm-y," and certified crazy person Abby Lee Miller took to Instagram with reliable hutzpah, writing in a caption, "I don't make a habit of commenting on all the dancers that post pics with incorrect technique…but I can not be a fan of this shoot. There are so many amazing dancers in the world…Kendall Jenner is not one of them!" She went on to blame beloved Kris Jenner, whose intentions are (for the most part) good, but don't always land. "Shame on Momager, Kris Jenner!!! She never made these kids take dance class. She better get North West to the @aldcstudiola before it's too late!." Can you hear the teeth-gritting between the exclamation points and the shameless plug? Sure, she may not be known for her go-team moments, but let's interpret her zesty candor as a very loud call to the fashion industry that it's (still) not okay to use models as dancers.
Setting egos aside, that's the point here. When models get the chance to show off their moves, modeling as dancers, it's not exactly the easiest thing to sit through. (Though, with the help of some snazzy editing, this one is fun.) They're tall, lanky, and seemingly graceful (as they glide across runways, and all), but a slender frame and natural poise does not a ballerina make. In fact, most ballerinas are quite tiny. And while some models may have, in fact, studied ballet before trading in their pointe shoes for heels, that doesn't change the reality that they quit, and real dancers are still dancing, breaking their feet to make ends meet. But it's not entirely your fault, KJ, because it's pretty uncommon for a model say no to Vogue. Hell, the magazine even gets a couple of pats on the back for profiling professional dancers in the past. The reason most dancers take offense to this shoot, and other similar models-as-dancers moments, is because we know all too well the feeling of always being second-best, of training 10 times harder than the pretty girls, and watching them get picked. Can you imagine training your entire life to open a show, and then watching someone else get it because of their popularity? You, of all people, should know that feeling. In the video, you talk about running around like a child and doing "stupid stuff" — as you so eloquently put it — while hopping around from one foot to the other (which is a jeté, by the way). And that, along with not getting over your box, is not dancing. They dressed you as a ballerina, okay, but ballet doesn't look like that. So, for the sake of our e-friendship, I'm going to remember this shoot as ballet-inspired, rather than an actual reflection of your time as a dancer (which, we're unsure exists). As they say, water under the bridge.

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