Kylie Jenner is posing for her most risque shoot ever for V Magazine‘s latest issue. The 19-year-old reality star wears some sheer outfits, in
which she shows off all her assets for photographer Nick Knight.
“That was actually my first super unclad shoot. I always post sexy pictures, but have never really gone unclad,” Kylie said in the interview.
At some point in 2015, Kylie Jenner overtook her siblings as the most magnetic member of American pop culture’s First Family, the Kardashian-Jenners. Establishing herself as an independent force from her sisters, the 20-year-old reinvented herself as the most badass, amorphous, untouchable character in the K-initialed dynasty. She now commands 96 million Instagram followers, who hang on to every word that tumbles forth from her Lip Kit-stained pout, every flip of her platinum-blond wig. Fans watch, hypnotized, as she demonstrates new swatches of Kyshadow by painting them, one by one, on her forearm in Snapchat videos. They see her in glimpses, a whole world shaped by seconds-long videos spliced together like the reality show on which she made her name. But she controls that perception.
For this shoot with Nick Knight, Jenner was truly exposed. “That was actually my first super nude shoot,” she says over the phone from her new $12 million mansion in LA’s Hidden Hills. She’s only recently moved in. “I always post sexy pictures, but have never really gone nude.” In a very sheer gown by Fendi, her come-to-bed eyes peer from under a towering Lady Bunny wig. Jenner has become synonymous with wigs. Each one, crafted together with her hairstylist Tokyo Stylez, she says, “gives me a different confidence.” And since she first glommed onto the idea that she didn’t have to bleach her hair every time she wanted to switch up her look, wigs have flown off the shelves and into the hands of her legion of followers.
It’s impossible to put a number on it, but Jenner’s influence has doubtlessly shifted tons of hair, reinvigorating the bespoke wig and weave industry. “All I know is that when I go into weave stores, they have colors that I’ve worn, which is cool,” she says. It was inevitable, since her days doing meet and greets brought out the copycats in droves. “Back then, I dyed my hair blue and teal and other colors. I would do meet and greets and every other girl—even guys—had teal hair. They’d be like, ‘I did this because of you! Everyone has teal hair now!’”
As Knight does with all of his shoots, this one was livestreamed via SHOWstudio. Kylie, nearly naked, was just trying to take a good photo. “Then I kept remembering, Everybody is watching me right now.” The irony of that statement—being somehow unaware of the tens of thousands of people who tuned in—is lost on Jenner, the seventh most followed person on Instagram. You’d think this girl, who was essentially tucked into bed with a camera lens shoved in her face since the age of nine, was always cognizant of Big Brother. But why would she be, when she has a camera following her at all times, and not solely for the purposes of an E! program? “I do have a guy that follows me all the time. I just never show anyone the footage,” she says, laughing. “Maybe one day.”
The population of a midsize country regularly tunes in to watch her Snaps, in which she often lip-synchs to rap or R&B, like SZA’s “Supermodel.” Lyric searches for a song featured on her Snapchat spike in the immediate aftermath of its posting. G FrSH’s “Panic Cord” was hit with a 319% spike on lyric site Genius after soundtracking a Snap. No artist needs radio more than they need a Kylie cosign. “Other artists shout me out that I’ve never met before, like, ‘I owe this to Kylie for putting this on her Snapchat.’ And meeting new artists in person and them saying, ‘This was a big help from you, you playing my song’—it’s just really cool.”
In one video posted to her Instagram story, Jenner bites an apple and does karaoke to Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” while her BFF, the model Jordyn Woods, dances around in the background. Jenner really likes Winehouse’s music. She danced to a lot of her songs while attending Sierra Canyon School. She’s watched most of director Asif Kapadia’s Oscar-winning documentary Amy on a plane, but the flight ended before the movie could finish. “It was good, what I saw,” she says, calling Winehouse’s story “pretty heartbreaking.” It’s probably for the best she didn’t catch the ending, when Winehouse gets booed off stage at a festival in Serbia, when she becomes a victim of her own fame, when she joins the 27 Club.
On Kylie’s right hip, in red ink, is a tattoo with Merriam-Webster’s phonetic spelling of the word “Sanity.” She got it at Bang Bang in New York in December 2015, when she was just 18. (Momager Kris wouldn’t allow it previously.) “There was a time when I got [that tattoo] that I felt a little bit like I was going insane. Or, I was going to,” she hastens to add, careful not to draw any parallels to the trajectory of a star like Winehouse. “I thought about it for a while. I just like the word ‘Sanity’—just stay sane through it all. A lot of young stars who grow up in the spotlight have a really hard time. I didn’t want that to be me.”
“I needed it at the time,” she says of the tat, thoughts possibly drifting to things in 2015 that might have spelled breakdown for most other people: admitting to having her lips augmented, the viral “Kylie Jenner Challenge,” getting called out for cultural appropriation by Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg…It’s a testament to the strength of her will she didn’t simply pack it in.
Though she’s spoken about it before, she hasn’t given retirement any serious thought, but it’s “not necessarily just a farm and a garden” that she wants. “I just want a lot of property. That seems like the best life ever: horses and a farm and a garden.” Like Michael Jackson did in 2005, Jenner could easily slip away to Bahrain or don a mask and walk around freely. “I don’t know about Bahrain, but I would be down for something,” she says. “It would be a good feeling to just live a normal life for a second.”
“I don’t know what it’s like to not be in the spotlight,” she pauses. “That’s normal to me. There’s nothing you can do about it. There are so many great things about life, I’m just trying to focus on that.” She’s doubled down as the lead in her own reality show, Life of Kylie, which began airing in August. With this more intimate look into her life, she ensures the legacy that her older half-sister Kim laid out before her continues. Her every move documented, surveyed, and scrutinized—whether she’s naked, wigged, or acrylic-taloned—Kylie Jenner is the Kardashian incumbent.