Growing up in the spotlight on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it was always Kendall Jenner's dream to be a model. But despite her famous family, entering the fashion world was no walk in the park - Jenner's affiliation with reality TV made brands initially not want to work with with the then-teenager and she had to fight to prove herself as a serious and hardworking young woman.
Fast-forward nine years and Jenner is the highest paid model in the world, stealing the top spot from former Victoria's Secret Angel Gisele Bundchen and making a total of $30m AUD in 2017.
Ahead of her walking her third Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Jenner sits backstage looking bright-eyed and bubbly as two hairstylists put her brunette hair into rollers. When we talk, the 23-year-old is completely down-to-earth and chatty, answering our first question - "what are you most excited to eat after the show?" - with so much enthusiasm - "Pasta! That's an easy question" - that surrounding Angels turn around to laugh.
But walking a lingerie show that's watched by over 1.4 billion people worldwide makes you put pasta on hold for a while. Jenner credits boxing for her incredible physique, the same exercise her friends Gigi and Bella Hadid also do regularly. "I'm a very fast-paced exerciser. I don't like to do slow things because I get bored, so I love boxing," she says. "I think it's because it also keeps my mind going - you have to think of so many different things."
Jenner, who has been open about her debilitating anxiety, says that before the show she tries to take some time out to herself (if you saw the backstage area, you'd understand why) and focuses on her breathing whenever she starts to feel anxious.
"I know it probably sounds stupid, but I just try to breathe very slowly and deeply and just chill myself out. Sometimes talking to too many people can make you feel a bit all over the show, so I try to keep to myself and just go and do it," she explains. "I have two looks and once you get the first one over with, it's a lot more chilled."
Later, when we catch up at Tiffany & Co.'s flagship store opening in Sydney, Jenner opens up about the other side of modelling: fashion, saying she takes inspiration from a lot of people around her, including her famous family members. "I do look to my sisters and my mum and my grandma, but at the same time, I think I have a little bit of a different style or taste compared to my family. But I do think we have similarities so it’s fun to mix and match that. Social media and the internet helps so much with inspiration."
As far as shopping goes, Jenner says that despite having access to the biggest designers in the world, she still loves to vintage shop with friends. “I honestly really love vintage and it doesn’t always have to be super expensive. I like non-designer vintage most of the time - cool moto T-shirts, old vintage concert T-shirts, good jeans - Levi’s, they always work!”
Model off-duty style has long been an obsession for those in the fashion world, so what does one of the biggest supermodels say her go-to is? “I think it probably goes for most people, but a really great pair of jeans that just fit you super amazingly that you can wear every single day is key. Sweater weather is sort of over now in LA (when we talk, it's spring in the US), but sweaters [are important]… I just bought a couple which was maybe a mistake because summer is coming around now!”
Jenner has long been open about her struggles with acne, sharing before and after photos of her journey on Instagram earlier this year. "I was 13 and ran home crying every day because people would stare at my skin," she wrote at the time. "While there are much bigger problems happening in the world, suffering from acne for me was debilitating. It's something that I've dealt with since I was a young teen and has caused me to feel anxious, helpless and insecure. We curate our life online and pick the pretty moments to post. I'd like to show a younger generation that not everything is perfect."
But for someone whose job it is to look good, her beauty routine is pretty low maintenance: “I always travel with my face wash and my moisturiser and you always need Chapstick," she says.