Photo: Steven Klein for Interview
People who click or page through the pictures in Kylie Jenner’s new Interview magazine cover story will see a bare-bottomed woman who looks made-up, confident, and quite possibly into S&M. Photographed by Steven Klein, the images are sexy, stylized, and intentionally overly glossy. Clad in latex and gold paint, Jenner looks like one of those Real Dolls favored by lonely men who’ve caved in to their last resort.
But people who actually take the time to read the article will meet someone entirely different: A teen who sounds confused, lost, anxious, and quite frankly, a little depressed.
I can honestly say that, for the first time in my life, I feel sorry for Kylie Jenner.
Let’s start with the fact that, at the ripe old age of 18, Jenner feels like her “youth” is gone—and maybe was never there to begin with. “I feel like I’ve already lost parts of me, like, my youth,” she tells interviewer Chris Wallace.
“You do feel like you missed out on a lot of stuff?” he asks.
“I do,” she answers. “I feel like I’m going to look back and be like, ‘Damn, I wish I could’ve just been a kid and done normal teenage stuff that my friends get to do.‘”
The childhood Jenner did have was filled with bullying and anxiety attacks. She says she’s been tormented by her peers and the press relentlessly since her childhood—when she was involuntarily cast in a television series you may have heard of, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. At nine, she was prematurely faced with the omnipresent worry of most older celebrities: Who are my real friends?
“I always felt like people weren’t friends with me for the right reasons, and they would be like, 'You know everyone is just friends with you because you’re famous,’ or just weird stuff,” she explains. “I had a lot of friend issues throughout the years. That took a toll, and now I have two really great best friends that are the only people I hang out with. I keep a close circle. But it doesn’t affect me anymore; I’m totally fine with it. It’s just when you’re young, like 9, 10. It’s just confusing and you don’t know why people are saying mean things about you.”
Photo: Steven Klein for Interview
To cope, Jenner would spend all her spare time outdoors, listening to music and basically staring off into space until her anxiety attacks subsided: “I had a lot of anxiety when I was younger, so I would just run to this hill path in the back of my mom’s house and listen to Jack Johnson […] and stare at the sky until my anxiety went away. When I was 16, I was always outside. We always watched the sunset, the group that I was friends with.” (Reminder that “when [she] was 16″ was all of two years ago.)
Now, her outdoor hangouts have dissipated, while her uneasiness has grown. “I wake up every morning with the worst anxiety,” she says. “I don’t know why.”
In 2015, the bullies Jenner faced as a kid have multiplied a million-fold, and are now trolling her on the Internet. “Every single day I see something negative about me. And it’s just completely torn me apart. I feel like I’ve lost so many amazing traits because I’ve listened to stupid people, ignorant people who are bullies,” she tells Wallace. And later, “I wake up every morning at, like, seven or eight because I think that there’s a bad story about me, and I have to check. My worst fear is waking up and finding something bad about me on the Internet.”
With her 43.7 million Instagram followers (and more app subscribers than any of her sisters—including Kim Kardashian), you’d think Jenner would feel she now has more people rooting for her than against her. But she claims that even her most loyal fans know absolutely nothing about her, or her personality—and that everything the public sees, including the bits she posts and releases herself, are completely fake.
“I’m not myself on Snapchat or Instagram,” she explains. “That’s totally not me. I’m way flashier on Instagram and Snapchat, because I feel like that’s what people want to see and that’s what I’ve always done, so I’m not going to stop. People want to see my cars and my purses. People love fashion. But that’s so not me.”
Instead, the “real” Kylie Jenner fantasizes about leaving her celebrity behind for a more simplistic way of life. “When I’m, like, 30, I want to go off the map, have a family, and live in Malibu with a farm, and just raise my own chickens,” she says.
It’s hard to picture that dream becoming a reality for someone who’s basically made a living off of already being famous. Then again, farm landscapes tend to make excellent selfie backgrounds.
Read and see more at Interview.