The Making of a Superstar: Kendall Jenner, Part 1 of 2


It’s not everyday you get to work with someone you know is going to be big. I mean, it’s different if they’re already a star…but there’s a special energy that happens on a shoot when you know that one day people will be looking back at this shoot, to see where it all began.


Such luck smacked me across the face last week when Kris Jenner, mastermind and matriarch of the Kardashian clan, asked me to photograph her daughter, Kendall, for her Wilhelmina modeling book. She had been very happy with the shoots I’d given Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney, and she was hoping I could do the same with Kendall. The only catch, you see, is that she’s only 14-years old.


Kendall was a trooper right out of the gate. I asked her if she minded getting in the water, crawling on sharp rocks, etc., and she simply shook her head and said she’d do whatever it took to make art. Thanks to her sisters, I had Kendall’s trust. So, as I do with every model, I immediately got the hard stuff out of the way, because there’s never enough sunlight for a warmup period. I stuck Kendall on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and she held her poses with incredible professionalism—and her faces with intensity—even as waves smacked her in the back of the head.


The rest of the shoot went much the same way, and Kendall’s learning curve was incredibly steep. I was continually impressed with how quickly she took what she learned from one setup and applied it onto the next one. By the time a girl is 21, which is the average age I photograph, I expect them to have had at least a few good years of checking themselves out in the mirror and working their poses. But for a 14-year-old with almost no experience (save her celebrity genes), Kendall hit this one right out of the park for sure.


I didn’t expect the controversy that this shoot generated—it’s already been featured on E! News, People, In Touch, Extra, and Access Hollywood. Apparently some thought the shoot was too provocative for such a young model (sample video here). But to be fair, we should make a distinction between fashion modeling and glamour modeling. If you look at the early work of Adriana Lima, Brooke Shields, Miranda Kerr—the list goes on—their books were filled with sensational-yet-hardly-conservative images that launched them into supermodel status before age 16. In my opinion, whether the model wears a sweater or a swimsuit bears little relevance, as long as the shoot is tastefully done. I made a concerted effort to keep this shoot a very healthy PG13.


I have to give special love to stylist Monica Rose on this shoot, who not only brought incredible wardrobe as she’s always done with Kim, and who sat by the laptop making sure every frame was perfect, but who also was waiting in tow with a robe and towel, ready to warm up Kendall each time she ran back shivering onto the beach. You’re the best! xo


Wardrobe Styling: Monica Rose
Make-up: Joyce Bonelli
Hair: Rob Scheppy
Production Stills: Derek Eskridge & Christian Arias

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10 Responses to “The Making of a Superstar: Kendall Jenner, Part 1 of 2”

  • Mathew:

    I nearly choked when I read 14. Stunning stunning model, and great blog post about the shoot. Nicely done hair and makeup, the dark eyes look awesome, and the photos of course are excellent. Enjoyed the behind-the-scenes shots and story too. Great post. Love following your shoots Nick.

  • […] Nick Saglimbeni dished the details and pressures of working with a 14 year old and admitted to making a concerted effort […]

  • […] of her latest photo shoot! Stripped down to her bikini, the teen poses like a pro for photographer Nick Saglimbeni as her mother Kris Jenner watches on. […]

  • melissa:

    I thought the pictures of Kendall were magnificent and tastfully done for a young lady. You did a great job with this shoot and made a great start for a soon to be super model.

  • theese are some great photo and one day i hope to become a model thats one of my dreams!



  • Nick, your work is truly amazing. I admire the art and expressions you capture from different people. I knew this girl was going to become a model since the 1st season of Keeping up With the Kardashians back in 07′. Her natural beauty is just captivating. When you are a minor and looking like Kendall is, controversy will just spark out simply because of the envy across the country. With love comes hate. These pictures were not inappropriate, purely professional and you got the job done. Your goal was to introduce this young star into a soon to be superstar, and you surely turned a lot of heads with these photos. Great job, and I look forward to more pictures of her and others!
    Much love, Steph – Miami.

  • What better way to jump start your career than to shoot with Nick? Crazy how much publicity this shoot has gotten, and mostly for the wrong reason! These pics are 100% class, nothing raunchy. All of the nay-sayers are probably from land-locked states that don’t have access to a beach. Great job as always!

  • meabh:

    wow she is amazingly beautiful..I am 13 and from Ireland + do modeling as a hobby + i love it but Kendal is amazing but so is kylie! i defiantly think she should start modeling too!

  • Rhea:

    Great job! Although she does look a bit more mature than 14, it is nothing like the press says it is. I think the photos were executed nicely and not at all racy. Looking forward to part 2!

    Wrote about the shoot on my blog and linked back to your site. Cheers!

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