Of all her peers, Karlie Kloss is the model we most admire. And not just because she is beautiful—she is so much more than that. Kloss helps young girls learn to code, bakes vegan cookies (which raise money to provide children with meals around the world), runs her YouTube channel Klossy and has even mastered the trickiest of tasks: learning to love running. And all by the age of 24. Impressive doesn’t seem quite a grand enough choice of word to describe her accomplishments.
In the modelling world, she has graced numerous Vogue covers, walked the Victoria’s Secret catwalk and is a L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador. She even appeared in an episode of Gossip Girl. Oh, and lest we forget, she is a strong member of Taylor Swift’s squad. So naturally we jumped at the chance to interview Kloss ahead of the Gold Obsession launch party at Paris Fashion Week. Keep scrolling, read and learn as Kloss reveals her 5-minute makeup look, how she learned to love running and her secret protein-shake ingredient…
Karlie Kloss at the L'Oréal Paris Gold Obsession Party at Paris Fashion Week.
BYRDIE UK: You’re a L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador. Which products can you not live without?
KARLIE KLOSS: I am a big fan of less is more, so I always love to stick to my favourite products. The L’Oréal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara (£10) is great. I’m a fan of creamy products, so a cream blush or a cream eye shadow L’Oréal makes a lot of really good products you can use with your fingers. The L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation (£15) is my favourite on-the-go product to throw in my bag and do a little touch-up in my car. I love the new Color Riche Gold Obsession Lipsticks (£7), which range from red to pink to gold.
Byrdie UK: You have five minutes to do your makeup before heading out the door, what do you do?
KK: I do brow pencil, brush them through, a little concealer under the eyes, cream blush or, if I don’t have blush, I put lipstick on my fingers and melt it into my skin. Quick coat of mascara, some balm on my lips and that’s it.
BYRDIE UK: Who are your beauty icons?
KK: I love the timeless icons—Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Christy Turlington. Strong, independent women who are both super chic and super stylish. What makes them so beautiful is their confidence and passion. Audrey Hepburn, I think, is one the most beautiful women, but she was also this really interesting woman who was really passionate about what she did. I think when you’re truly happy and fulfilled that’s what make you beautiful.
BYRDIE UK: Any makeup tricks you have learnt since being a model?
KK: I have learnt a lot of tricks in the makeup chair along the way. So, I always love to do a really good curl before mascara, you can even use a teaspoon to curl your lashes to control how much of a curl you get. I love a good lip liner. If you want to disinfect a liner, perhaps you had a cold last time you used it, heat the tip with a lighter to disinfect it.
BYRDIE UK: What’s your go-to hairstyle?
KK: I like to do the sexy, slept-in hair—a bit of dry shampoo goes a long way. I use a little dry shampoo and tease at the roots, then use my fingers to work it into the hair. You can pretend like you don’t care, it looks like bed-head hair!
BYRDIE UK: Which hairstyle would you love to try next?
KK: I’d love to do another cut! Colour is hard, if you do too much colour you can actually really damage the quality [of your hair], but when you do a cut you kind of give your hair a fresh start.
BYRDIE UK: Do you have any in-flight beauty essentials?
KK: I love taking face masks on the plane or under-eye patches—the flight attendant might think you look a little nuts but that’s okay. Also, I drink lots of water and I always take cuticle oil, hand cream, lip balm and face cream to keep hydrated in every way.
BYRDIE UK: Any beauty treatments you always book in for?
KK: I love a good facial and a good mask. Makeup and travelling really clogs my skin, especially after fashion weeks. I love to go get a massage too.
BYRDIE UK: What exercise do you love to do?
KK: I’m a big fan of cardio, but the key is doing something you enjoy. If you’re going to hate running, try bike riding. You have to do something you’re going to really enjoy and be happy to do on a regular basis. I used to hate running, that was like one of my absolute worst nightmares, I never had the endurance to run more than 10 minutes. But I gradually started doing more and more. I then mentally challenged myself to run a half marathon. Somehow some way, I did it. It’s true practice makes perfect, especially when you’re doing something physical, the more you train for it you actually surprise yourself by how much you can do. I also like to swim, that’s a great workout for both cardio and strength.
BYRDIE UK: Where is your favourite place to workout?
KK: I love to workout outside, being in a gym is fine when you have no other choice. My favourite thing to do is get outside, even if it’s for a walk in the fresh air or a run through the park or a swim in the ocean. One of my favourite parts of my job is that I get to travel, I spend a lot of time in planes, in trains, in cars, so to go outside and exercise is really humanizing.
BYRDIE UK: Do you have a favourite healthy recipe you can share with us?
KK: I am a big fan of a protein shake in the morning. So almond milk, ½ banana, it’s good if it’s frozen as it adds more texture and chocolate protein powder because I just love chocolate. You can then add in all sorts of things like chia seeds, cinnamon, get creative. I love adding a little coffee for a kick in the morning!
BYRDIE UK: How did Karlie’s Kookies come about and when will we be able to get them in the UK?
KK: I would love to bring them to the UK, so I’ll start working on that! I have always loved to bake, my gran taught me and that’s how I learnt to read too, by reading recipes. That’s a really special memory and something to do with my gran. I started baking more complicated things, then I eventually started baking healthy vegan recipes, which is actually quite difficult as you are limited by the ingredients you can work with. I wanted to do something that combined my passion for baking and make cookies as a vehicle to do some good for others too. I combined with my friend Christina Tois from Momofuko Milk Bar and we created these cookies that raise funds for different charities while being a healthy indulgence that you can feel good about.
BYRDIE UK: Besides the cookies, you also set up Kode With Klossy—how did you come up with the idea?
KK: One of the most empowering and important gifts you can give someone is education. Learning to code is not an easy task, but being able to have an awareness about coding and how the technology we use every day is built and the back end of it; understanding that framework is really important. There is a ton of potential for career opportunities for both men and women in that space. However, in the past 20 years, there haven’t been enough women in the industry. How you really make change is by teaching girls earlier that it’s something they can do and the skills to do it.
BYRDIE UK: Is it something you plan to roll out globally?
KK: Definitely. Right now we’re focusing on girls 13–18 in the United States, but I think there are a lot of brilliant young women around the world with the interest in this industry, but they don’t have access to the learning, so I would love to grow it globally.
BYRDIE UK: Any tips for Byrdie readers who want to learn to code?
KK: Look into some online programmes; there’s a lot you can learn yourself on the internet. I’m a learner who needs an environment with a teacher where I can ask questions; that’s where I learn best. I ask a lot of questions! It depends on your learning type, but there’s a lot you can do with online classes.
BYRDIE UK: What book are you reading right now?
KK: It’s a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (£14) by Angela Duckworth. She’s this really impressive accomplished woman, and it’s about the power of perseverance and determination. If you’re not the fastest, the smartest or the strongest, with determination and grit, you’re capable of anything.
BYRDIE UK: You are the woman who does it all, where do you get your energy from?
KK: Well I don’t do it all, but I try to do what I can. I get my energy from taking time for myself. Exercise is really an outlet for me to breathe and focus and take time for myself to reenergise my mind and my body. Sleep is key, too.
BYRDIE UK: What does the last hour of your day?
KK: I need to get more disciplined at this! I fall into [the habit of] scrolling down Instagram and checking my email. I end up staring at my phone too long and that’s currently how spend the last hour of my day, but I’d like to shut off earlier.
BYRDIE UK: How do you motivate yourself on days when don’t feel like doing anything?
KK: Well I definitely have those days, sometimes you have to listen to that urge to rest. Your body will tell you what you need, if you’re hungry listen to what you’re craving or if you’re tired learn to relax, try to be in tune with your body. Sometimes we don’t always have that luxury though. For me, when I’m not motivated to do something I just put my gym clothes on, that’s half the battle, even if don’t do anything more than go for a walk it’s at least something and it will make you feel better.