It’s been a big year for Kendall Jenner.
The top supermodel, who graced her fourth American Vogue cover for the April 2018 issue, became an aunt twice over, was named the Fashion Icon of the Decade by the Daily Front Row, dialed back on her industry duties and learned one of her biggest lessons yet in the wake of controversy.
It was nearly a year ago in April 2017 that the 22-year-old star appeared in a Pepsi commercial that was swiftly met with national backlash. Less than 24 hours after the spot’s debut, the brand ultimately pulled it.
“Obviously, my intention was not to hurt anyone,” Jenner told Vogue. “Honestly, I just hid out. It hurt me that I hurt other people.”
As she continued, “I’ve been yelled at before, stepped in controversy before, but nothing to that extent. You can never really prepare for something like that.”
When asked if someone spoke to her about it, the reality star said no. “Nobody came to me to explain it to where I was like, Oh, I get it,” she said. “But I’m not an idiot. I can see it for myself.”
The commercial featured Jenner taking part in a photo shoot as a crowd of protesters collected in the streets against a barricade of police officers. She ultimately joined in, handing a can of pepsi to one cop, who accepts to the sound of cheers. Some criticized the perceived message, noting that a white woman wielding a can of Pepsi should not be depicted as the answer in the wake of nationwide protests to police shootings of African Americans.
Having grown up with African American family members and friends, Kendall “didn’t think of the ad as controversial for exactly this reason,” she told the magazine. “When it was physically happening—the high five? Isn’t that what everyone was freaking out over?—I just didn’t think of it like that.”
In the aftermath, Jenner learned to keep a closer eye on things. “I am a huge people pleaser, and that is what my job has always been: You come to set and you do what you’re told. I don’t think of myself as anything special most days—I am just a normal-ass kid who likes to hang out with her friends and likes pizza. My family, my agent, my friends all make fun of me for it: Girl, you need to give yourself some credit,” she told Vogue. “But that’s what I took out of it: I need to be more present and pay more attention.”
She has certainly noticed the Internet claims that she is a lesbian, despite her very quiet fling with NBA pro Blake Griffin, the power forward for the Detroit Pistons. In fact, as the author noted in the article, Jenner called her the day after Valentine’s Day from Michigan and said she was visiting “a friend.”
So, why the digital speculation about her sexuality? “I think it’s because I’m not like all my other sisters, who are like, ‘Here’s me and my boyfriend!’ So it was a thing for a minute because no one ever saw me with a guy. I would always go that extra mile to be low-key with guys, sneaking around all the time. You don’t want to, like, look crazy,” she explained.
“I don’t think I have a bisexual or gay bone in my body, but I don’t know! Who knows?!” the model continued to the magazine. “I’m all down for experience—not against it whatsoever—but I’ve never been there before.”
“I’m not gay,” the star added, noting she does have “tough energy.” “I have literally nothing to hide.”
Well, she did have one thing to hide—or rather, not discuss: little sister Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy. It was just this February that the makeup mogul confirmed she had been pregnant when she announced the birth of her daughter, and the newest member of the Kardashian family, Stormi Webster.
“It’s not that it’s more exciting than any other births in the family—it’s different exciting, because she’s my baby sister who I grew up with,” Jenner told Vogue. “We all grew up in twos: Kourtney and Kim grew up together; Rob and Khloe; Brandon and Brody; Burton and Casey, and then Kylie and I. So to see my best friend growing up have a baby? It’s already made us even closer.”
Will Kendall be next to experience motherhood? Maybe in a few years. “I am ready to wait,” she said on the subject. “I want to have kids, but at, like, 28 or 29.”