It’s incredibly hard to impress a pair of seen-it-all teenagers—especially when said teenagers are Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the youngest members of the Kardashian clan—unless, of course, you present them with five jaw-droppingly attractive male models. When that happens (and it did, one recent summer evening), the habitually unfazed sisters become wide-eyed and giddy, in the exact same way any “normal” high school girl might.
They’ve just arrived at a hotel in Montauk, New York, for a pre-photo-shoot fitting, and they’re an hour late, wearing bathing suits that appear to still be wet. Their pale faces—more youthful in person than their ultra-polished Instagram snaps let on—are dusted with a fresh coating of sun-induced freckles.
“I’m so sorry, we got caught up with… filming and stuff,” says 18-year-old Kendall, the elder and more outgoing of the two. She’s referring, of course, to their long-running reality-TV series Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The show, which chronicles the highs and lows of their polarizing Hollywood family, catapulted them into the limelight when it first premiered in 2007. At the time, Kendall and Kylie were in the throes of adolescence, so they’ve now spent a significant portion of their lives being watched (at least intermittently) by millions.
“I don’t think we really remember a time before the cameras,” says Kylie, 17. Her sister adds, “Even before the show, when we were babies—four or five years old—we’d be walking red carpets with our dad [Olympian Bruce Jenner].” It’s the unconventional world they’ve become accustomed to, and today is no different. Just consider their manager’s matter-of-fact explanation for their tardiness: “They were off on a yacht somewhere, and I couldn’t get in touch with them.”
At the fitting, the girls begin to dig through rack upon rack of designer clothes, which are splayed out inside the hotel’s 10,000-square-foot ballroom. Kendall, who’s recently modeled for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and Chanel, is immediately drawn to a pink tweed suit, while Kylie—an aspiring designer—slips on a formfitting black cocktail dress. It soon becomes apparent, though, that the clothes, however gorgeous, can’t compete with the pull of a group of strapping young men waiting in the wings to introduce themselves. Soon enough, the Jenners are holding court, with five sets of eyes ogling every move they make. It’s a feeling they’re used to but are not always comfortable with. “I’ve gotten anxiety,” Kylie explains, speaking of her life under the microscope. “I feel like everyone’s always staring at me, so I get weird around people now.”
The girls often think about how different life would have been without “the Kardashians.” “I wonder about it all the time,” says Kendall. “It’s hard to imagine a day when the cameras won’t be there, because it’s all we know.”
She continues, “I don’t foresee there being a point where we say, ‘OK, this all has to go away,’ because,”—she smiles—“I mean, it’s not the worst job in the world.”
In DuJour.com’s exclusive Q&A below, the girls get real about life under the lens of the paparazzi, their thoughts on college and the type of guys they’re drawn to.
Kendall, there are critics who say you’ve gotten to where you are because of your family. How do you handle that kind of criticism?
Kendall: I don’t really care. What a lot of people don’t know is that being in the industry I’m in with my family doesn’t benefit me at all. It actually makes it harder for me to break in because I had to work a little bit harder for people to take me seriously and show them that I really want it.
Do you have plans to go to college?
Kendall: I’m not really thinking about it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re keeping our options open. I just graduated from high school, but I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.
Kylie: I don’t know either. I don’t see it in the near future, but like Kendall said, we’re keeping our options open.
What’s it like battling paparazzi on a daily basis?
Kylie: We live in a gated community so they wait outside the three gates. Kim lives with us now so if she leaves first, then we’re usually clear because they’ll all follow her. Sometimes I’ll sneak out or find a way out.
Does it make you tempted to never leave the house?
Kendall: Yeah, for sure.
Kylie: I’m such a homebody right now. I want to be home 24/7. I usually always want to go out, but lately I just want to lie in bed and watch TV all day.
Kendall, what’s the craziest thing you ever read about Kylie on the Internet?
Kendall: That her whole face is plastic surgery. She’s 16, guys! She does not have plastic surgery all over her face.
Kylie, what’s the craziest thing you ever read about Kendall on the Internet?
Kylie: Probably just the party rumors, right? You don’t party.
Kendall: I’m the biggest loser. The [tabloids] say that we’re both [partiers] and that we’re crazy. We’re the easiest targets.
Kendall, what’s something about Kylie that people don’t know about?
Kendall: She’s really dirty. She’s the messiest person ever and does not care. Literally she’ll sleep at my house for one night and I’ll go into the guestroom and it’ll be trashed.
Who checks Instagram more?
Kendall: Probably me.
Who takes more selfies?
Kendall: She thinks that I do, but it’s not true.
Kylie: It’s true.
And who’s more boy crazy?
Kendall: I feel like we’re equal. We’re definitely boy crazy. Actually that’s a lie, she definitely is.
Kylie: We have the same type, too.
How would you describe your type?
Kylie: Our types change. Lately I feel like I have a specific type. I’m funny when I’m in my comfortable environment, but I want someone else to overpower my funniness. I have a strong personality sometimes, but I don’t always like being the center of attention with someone that I like.
Kendall: I don’t really have a type. I love tall. And you gotta make me laugh because I can’t make anybody laugh. I’m not a funny person so I need someone to make me laugh.
Do you ever feel pressure from Hollywood to conform to a certain standard—to look or act a certain way?
Kylie: For sure. We definitely don’t want to change for anyone or act a certain way for anyone, but there’s definitely pressure to look good all the time. Sometimes I’ll go out with no makeup and won’t care that they’re taking pictures, but then a couple hours later I’ll see the photos and just be like, ‘Why did I do that? Why did I wear slippers and that big flannel?’
Kendall: It’s also hard when your sister is perfect at all times and is just like naturally beautiful.
Which sister would that be?
Kendall: Kim, of course. Well all of them, but Kim pretty much.
Get the DuJour Newsletter
Sign up to receive exclusive access to celebrity, fashion, travel, design, culture and party news.