Ever wondered what it’s like to be in a celebrity’s inner circle? In our series The Plus One, Arianna Davis offers a peek inside the world of assistants, backup dancers, BFFs, and other right hands to the world’s buzziest celebs.
When the elevator doors open into the lobby of New York’s Public Hotel one August morning, it's unclear if the Jordyn Woods who's about to arrive will be the edgy, wig-wearing bombshell best known for sharing sultry solo shots with her 3.3 million Instagram followers, or the bubbly, baby-faced co-star of the E! docuseries The Life Of Kylie, where she plays a sweet sidekick who’s always down with her BFF.
On this day, it turns out it's the latter. Woods strolls out of the elevator alone, wearing a flouncy floral dress and furry slides. Her hair is slightly messy, and she’s wearing no makeup; her only accessories are a Cartier bracelet and iced coffee. There’s no excessive lip kit liner, or camera crew, or continuous Snapchatting, just a chatty 19-year-old girl with wide eyes, a slight case of vocal fry, and a habit of pulling on pieces of her blow-dried hair as she speaks.
The daughter of a stay-at-home, entrepreneur mom and a television sound engineer father, Woods grew up in Oak Park, California, before she moved to Calabasas at 13. That’s where she met Kylie Jenner. But unlike many of her Instagram followers seem to believe, Woods is not just an entourage member, or a freeloader. Two years ago, a Wilhelmina Modeling agent contacted Woods after noticing her on Instagram, and she’s since quickly become one of the fashion industry’s most in-demand plus-size models. And she's also a designer: On September 11, she’ll debut a collection she designed for curvy girls in collaboration with Addition Elle, a week before she turns 20. And while she diplomatically answers my Kylie-related questions throughout the day, Woods never hesitates (with a mean side eye) to make it clear that while Jenner is her best friend, this is her story.
She’s surprisingly blunt ("I'm too busy to watch TV"), and mature for 19, often dropping gems about the power of attraction ("Sometimes, you literally just have to ask the universe for something") and the meaning of fame ("You can have millions of people following you; that’s not success, that's fame"). She’s still a teenager at heart, though, so by the end of our day together, our little crew — myself, her publicist, and our photographer — begins to feel like a high school clique, despite the decade age difference between its oldest and youngest member. We’ll get emo while listening to SZA, agonize over boys, and get manicures (obviously). Woods will also open up about the death of her father, admit that she became a spokesperson for body positivity by accident, and, yes, talk about what it’s really like being Kylie Jenner’s best friend.