Even before she made her runway debut, four days after turning 16, in Raf Simons’s second collection for Calvin Klein in New York, Kaia Gerber’s future as a model was all anyone could forecast for her. After all, her mom is Cindy Crawford, one of the original supermodels and one of the runway’s longest-lived faces. At 53, she still walks select shows—like Versace’s supermodel-heavy Spring 2018 tributehttps://www.wmagazine.com/story/supermodels-reunion-gianni-versace-tribute-naomi-campbell-cindy-crawford to the late designer Gianni Versace—and maintains a healthy interest in the industry.
But, in a new interview with Porter Edit, Crawford refutes the idea that she gave her daughter a leg up in the industry in anything more than their shared genes (and uncanny likeness). “Kaia had some advantages,” she says in the interview. “She is my daughter, and people know that. But when people say that I bought her a cover of a magazine, I think, if I was going to buy a cover for someone, it would be me,” she continues. “If I could get someone into a fashion show, I would be getting it for myself.” Crawford doesn’t need to wield all that much outside influence, anyways—fashion loves a scion. And if you're wondering why Gerber hasn't appeared on even more magazine covers yet, its because many, especially in America, won't use models under the age of 18.
Due to industry regulations, Gerber couldn’t walk a runway until she was 16—nevertheless, the agency IMG first approached Crawford and husband Rande Gerber when their daughter was just 13 about the possibility of signing her. But after she turned 16, Crawford says, “I couldn’t really hold her back. … You hope that all of the advice and guidance and role modeling that you did sticks. That’s the stage of parenting when you think, ‘Ok, hope you can fly!’”
In any case, Gerber has had to reckon with some particular challenges in the industry that her mother never had to contend with—especially when it comes to social media. “We weren’t constantly being photographed in what we were wearing to the show. There is more pressure to produce content every day,” Crawford says. “It’s like a hungry little beast, an animal that wants more and more. It’s never like, ‘Okay, you’re good.’” And all that Instagram posting also opens models and social media stars up to a new arena of criticism: “I can’t believe how hateful people can be,” Crawford says, adding that it rolls off her when trolls hop into her own comments, but she gets her back up when it comes to her kids. (Gerber’s brother Presley is also a budding model.) “We’re becoming more immune to it because people just lash out. We have to be so politically correct in one way. If you’re not famous, you can say the most hateful stuff.”
Their approaches to social media might differ, but there is one other thing they still share, and that’s their airport style.