ON NOVEMBER 8TH, model Karlie Kloss tweeted a photo of herself studiously filling out her voting ballot. “One of the greatest privileges we have as Americans is a voice,” she wrote. “ I’m proud to say I did my part, now it’s your turn.” She concluded her earnest plea with the hashtag #ImWithHer, becoming the latest in a string of millennial celebrities to lend her support to Hillary Clinton.
That Kloss would endorse Hillary might not seem all that surprising on the surface. After all, she’s a white, affluent 24-year-old woman residing in New York City. She works in a notoriously Democrat-leaning industry. She is a card-carrying member of Taylor Swift’s girl squad. She is often photographed clutching a Macbook and coffee.
Like I said, she’s an obvious Hillary supporter.
But Karlie Kloss boasts an unlikely connection to the Trumps: her boyfriend of four years, Joshua Kushner, is the brother of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner has been married to Ivanka Trump since 2009 and played an integral role in Donald Trump’s campaign. (Speaking to The New Yorker in October, an anonymous Trump aide described Jared Kushner as “the real campaign manager”. Another source described Jared as a “snaky little motherfucker” and “horrible human being”.)
Back in August, when the prospect of a Trump presidency still seemed like an impossibility, a spokesperson for Joshua Kushner told Esquire that he would not be voting for Donald Trump despite his brother’s allegiance to the flaxen-haired millionaire.
By the time November 8th rolled around, Kloss was following her boyfriend’s lead and publicly distancing herself from the Republican candidate. After all, Hillary was almost certainly going to win, so they had nothing to lose by pledging their support. Better to back the winning horse now than remain ambiguous and invite unwanted speculation. Right?
Cut to November 9th, the day the world awoke to discover that Donald J. Trump had overcome a deficit of nearly 2.9 million votes to defy the odds and become President-Elect of the United States. (Thanks, electoral college!) The victory sent shockwaves around the world and was hailed as the greatest political upset in modern history.
And Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner found themselves in a very tricky position indeed.
Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner have been dating since June 2012. In that time, Kloss has ascended the ranks to become one of the most successful models in the world, as well as a permanent fixture in Taylor Swift’s universe. But Kloss is savvy and knows that modelling is not a job for life. In recent years, she has diversified her portfolio and made a concerted effort to turn herself into a brand.
She is an avid YouTuber having launched a vlog series called Klossy in 2015 with the noble aim of “making the world a little more Klossy”. She is passionate about baking and has previously collaborated on a line of cookies called, appropriately enough, Karlie’s Kookies. She has also spearheaded a campaign called Kode With Klossy, which teaches girls how to code.
Kushner has similarly diverse business interests. The 30-year-old Harvard graduate is the son of real estate developer and convicted felon Charles Kushner. He was accepted to Harvard after his father coincidentally made a generous $2.5 million donation to the university and became immediately involved in the tech start-up scene.
After several failed start-ups, Kushner founded Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm that focuses on tech and media investments. According to Crunchbase, Thrive Capital now has over 113 investments. These range from peer-to-peer insurance start-up Lemonade to workplace messaging app Slack to Flatiron School, a coding school that just so happens to have partnered with Kode With Klossy in the past.
Kushner is also the founder of Oscar Healthcare, a millennial-friendly health insurance provider, and a co-founder of Cadre, an “online marketplace that connects investors and operators of real estate”. One of the other co-founders of Cadre? None other than Jared Kushner.
Joshua Kushner and Jared Kushner have always maintained a close relationship, and this doesn’t appear to have changed in the wake of Trump’s victory. This past weekend, Joshua joined Jared and Ivanka in Hawaii to celebrate Hannukah.
Here’s a photo he took of his sister-in-law (and de facto First Lady) Ivanka Trump on December 29th.
So where does this leave Karlie Kloss? You can’t help who your family are and you most certainly can’t help who your in-laws are. But will Kloss be sufficiently repelled enough by the Trumps/Kushners to distance herself from them come January 20th?
To date, Kloss has enjoyed a relatively good relationship with her possible future brother-in-law and his wife, as well as their powerful friends.
Here’s a photo Karlie snapped of Jared and Ivanka at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Here they are mingling at the same event.
And here she is at the US Open with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, music mogul David Geffen, Roman Abramovich’s wife Dasha Zhukova, oil baron Mike Hess, oil heir John Hess, Hollywood agent Michael Kives, billionaire Leon Black and Princess Beatrice. Oh, and Wendi Murdoch.
If ever there was a photo to lend credibility to the ‘lizard people’ theory, eh?
Bizarrely, Kloss has forged quite the friendship with Wendi Murdoch in recent years. (Reminder: Wendi Deng Murdoch was married to media mogul Rupert Murdoch for 14 years. She is rumoured to have had romantic dalliances with Tony Blair, Google’s Eric Schmidt and, er, Vladimir Putin.)
Wendi has been friends with the Kushners for quite some time now. In fact, she is credited with reuniting Jared and Ivanka after they split up in 2008.
She is also close friends with Joshua Kushner — a 2012 New York Times article described how Josh introduced Wendi to Art.sy, an art start-up that she later invested in — and has since grown close to Kloss.
Her rumoured relationship with Vladimir Putin and friendship with the Trump-Kushners has raised a lot of eyebrows and inspired lots of Twitter conspiracies. (For the record, it is now being reported that Wendi is dating a 21-year-old Hungarian model.)
Last summer, Wendi thanked Karlie for her support at an event. (Notice Karlie’s heart emoji comment.)
In September, they palled around at Alberto Mugrano and Colby Jordan’s wedding in the south of France.
Oh, you don’t know who Alberto Mugrano and Colby Jordan are? Alberto is the son of an Israeli billionaire, while Colby is the daughter of a private equity executive. Their wedding reportedly cost $6.5 million.
And they appear to have celebrated New Year together in St. Bart’s, because of course.
Grace Murdoch, the teenage daughter of Rupert and Wendi Murdoch, shared a video of Karlie Kloss jumping into the ocean with her and her sister, Chloe Murdoch.
Like Karlie and Joshua, Wendi sort of distanced herself from Donald Trump ahead of the election. In an interview with The Guardian, she was asked about the presidential campaign and how it might affect her friendship with Ivanka Trump.
Well, she’s not running for office. She’s very impressive. She has three children and she is teaching them Chinese. It’s very nice. We’ve been friendly for many years. I try to separate [the election] from that. She collects art, you know.
Collects art. Gotcha.
So what now? If the recent Hanukkah photos are anything to go by, it doesn’t look as though Joshua Kushner will be estranging himself from his brother (and business partner) anytime soon. He even appears to have recently followed Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter, which is interesting given Jared Kushner’s recent efforts to get the Israeli Prime Minister to attend the inauguration.
But do the likes of Wendi Deng and Dasha Zhukova abandon Ivanka Trump? Or do they continue to rationalise their friendship with the First Daughter, regardless of how toxic and corrupt her father’s administration turns out to be?
“Well, she’s not President.”
“She’s a positive influence.”
“I hear she’s working on a childcare initiative!”
And what of Karlie Kloss, a young woman from St. Louis who now finds herself at the epicentre of one of the world’s most powerful families.
Will she speak out against the incoming Trump administration? Or will she ignore it for fear of antagonising her boyfriend’s family? Will she attend the inauguration, which is looking pretty anaemic when it comes to celebrity turnout? Will she wait for tensions to die down before being photographed with Ivanka Trump at some media-friendly ‘Let’s Code, Girls’!’ event? Or will she withhold her support entirely?
Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure: she’s bound to have plenty of gossip for Taylor Swift for the next four years.