Aspiring model Kendall Jenner – the young half-sibling of the famous Kardashian sisters – says she wants to use her huge public profile to “make a difference” to other young women worldwide.
The reality TV star celebrated her 17th birthday in Broome on Saturday, having flown in from Sydney for a top-secret series of shoots with WA-born, New Yorkbased photographer Russell James for his Nomad Two Worlds project.
Although wilting slightly in the “really hot” weather, Kendall was clearly charmed by Broome.
“We stopped by a few beaches … it’s very small and cute and I like it.”
James revealed he was introduced to Kendall by her mother – “momager” Kris Jenner, who accompanied her to Broome – who told him of her interest in photography and art and asked if he would work with her.
He was dubious at first, as Kendall was already part of a huge brand and he didn’t believe she needed help to raise her profile. “But when I spoke to Kendall, a couple of things came across very strong … she has a great passion for imagery,” he said.
“But the thing for me that resonated the most was that she said: I want to make a difference … I just don’t know what to do.”
James told Kendall he would photograph her if she was genuinely willing to learn about indigenous and marginalised cultures; to “use her voice and enormous following on things that could make a difference”.
“All I see is this kid with unlimited reach potential to millions of young people," he said.
He was also “blown away” during her first shoot: “I had that reaction maybe the first time I shot Giselle, Candice Swanempoel, Erin Hetherton … in my 20 years, there’s just a few times I’ve seen that kind of beauty through the lens.”
Arriving by private jet on Friday with a huge ensemble of celebrity hairdressers and photographers, Kendall and Mrs Jenner were whisked off to Cable Beach Club and Resort, before Yawuru Aboriginal traditional owners conducted a welcome to country for them. Sylvia Clarke, accompanied by Bart Pigram on guitar, sang songs from Bran Nue Dae in a private concert on Gantheaume Beach.
Before a Saturday sunset shoot, Kendall met and posed with Kimberley Girl participants and on Sunday flew to Derby to meet Aboriginal elder Donny Woolagoodja and visit key Aboriginal sites.
Kendall admitted she still had a lot to learn about Australian indigenous culture but was “very excited to learn”.
“I have always been very interested, but it’s kind of a learning experience for me … I don’t know much and that’s kind of why I’m here,” she said.
James said photos of Kendall shot in and around Broome would be used in a new Nomad Two Worlds project exploring cultural links along the trade route between northern WA and Indonesia.