Karlie Kloss on Kookies, Harvard and That Angel Life

From the Victoria’s Secret catwalk to Harvard classrooms, Karlie Kloss is mastering the art of the self‑built brand

Karlie Kloss

As a leggy, six-foot-one model with a bright blonde lob, Karlie Kloss should be easy to spot, but as I roam the fuchsia-​carpeted backstage area of the Victoria’s Secret show in London, I can’t separate her from the other Angels, all dressed in baby-pink silk robes with their manes flipped forward as hair­stylists glue in extensions. But three years of stalking my favourite catwalker at New York Fashion Week have honed my eye. I spy the famously sweet supermodel sitting quietly, munching on a cookie.

It may seem like an odd 10 a.m. snack, when in mere hours she’s expected to parade down a runway in nothing but lingerie and angel wings for an audience of 3,000—then tens of millions more when the show airs on HDTV. But it’s actually a Kookie, one of the super-fit 22‑year-old’s gluten-free goodies, sold at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City (or shipped to Canada through in support of charities such as Feed, which donates school lunches to children around the world. That Kookie is just one of Kloss’s entrepreneurial side gigs.

More than just a model making serious bank (her 2014 income was estimated at $4 million US), Kloss has a well-​documented passion for philanthropy. “I love to learn about businesses that are making a social impact while being profitable,” she tells me as a makeup artist glosses her lips.

Victorias Secret perfume
Heaven Scent
“I really like how delicate it is. It’s sweet and feminine.”
Victoria’s Secret Heavenly Eau de Parfum, $55

Kloss’s altruistic bent comes as no surprise once you meet her and witness, within seconds, her inherent kindness. (Even in the midst of backstage chaos, she’s game to chat and pose for my camera phone.) But there’s entrepreneurial savvy behind her give-back initiatives too—a skill the model has been sharpening since girlhood. “I had a next-​level lemonade stand, I was the best Girl Scout and sold the most cookies, I had a pet-­sitting business, and I definitely did quite a few bake sales,” she says. Last year, the St. Louis, Mo., native enrolled in a business class at Harvard University to build on the money-​making instincts she inherited from her dad. “He’s a doctor but was always thinking about great business ideas and getting involved in real estate,” Kloss recalls. It’s no wonder she clicked with venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, her 29-year-old boyfriend, whose firm made big bucks as an early Instagram investor.

What’s next for Kloss Inc.? “You get put up on this amazing pedestal, and it’s a great opportunity to brand yourself and, at the same time, learn to be the face of a brand,” she says of working with Victoria’s Secret. She’s currently repping its bestselling spritz, Heavenly (not to mention Jason Wu’s spring campaign). “With the travel, constant interviews and meeting people at the mall—if you can get through Angel press days, presidency is the next challenge.” You read it here first.

Karlie’s Fave Five

Morning Ritual
fried eggs“I wake up early and make a big ol’ breakfast. I love eggs and oatmeal and coffee and fruit”

On Repeat
Taylor Swift 1989
Taylor Swift’s 1989

Team Spirit
St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams

Sweat Source
ModelFit in Manhattan
ModelFit in Manhattan (bestie Taylor Swift goes, too)

Sweet Treat
Karlies Kookies
Karlie’s Kookies Perfect 10 Kookie