Arts & Entertainment

They Live in the Same World, Yet They Have Different Lives

By Maya Beshir-Renard

Kendall Jenner is an influential presence in the modeling community walking for illustrious brands such as Versace, Givenchy, and Chanel. In 2023, her estimated net worth reached an impressive “$60 million.”
During Paris Fashion Week in September, Kendall Jenner was seen as a front-row spectator during The Row’s spring collection. According to Vogue Magazine, she wore The Row's double-breasted June trench coat in sage green tucked into a calf-length black midi skirt and paired with The Row's gold Brian belt. As she walked to The Rows Spring Show on September 27, in Paris, she found herself ensconced within a swarm of paparazzi and photographers eagerly capturing her iconic presence. Amidst this media frenzy, supposedly unbeknownst to both the paparazzi and Jenner herself, a mother and her daughter sat on the sidewalk. The mother sat on a pink and white blanket, while her young daughter stood beside her barefoot on the cement, both captivated by Kendall, watching her in awe.
Kendall Jenner walked past the mother and daughter without acknowledging their presence or that they were begging for money. This act raised questions about the morality and ethical responsibility of a millionaire in such a scenario. Is it justifiable for a millionaire to walk past a homeless mother and daughter while having the means to help them?
Opinions regarding this incident quickly proliferated across various social media platforms. Many sided with Kendall Jenner, saying that it is unwise to judge her solely based on this single interaction. As @RihRih- Chan commented “I am not Kendall’s fan but I don't think we should judge her according to what we see. I mean duh, she can help without the media. Who Knows.”
A significant portion of the comments on this issue revolved around people's perception of celebrities, with some criticizing their perceived lack of generosity. @marshgirl remarked, “ [Kendall Jenner] is rotten to the core. Definitely lacking consciousness… Not surprised, considering it's Kendall Jenner after all. Not an admirable Trait to see.” These different opinions on this video circulated Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram.
This incident prompts us to reflect on our own opinions and values, therefore I asked a couple people from the Léman Community for their opinion. I posed this question to members of the Léman community, including the leader of the Black Student Union, Aïda Desouza Niandulliet (12th grade) and another student who wished to remain anonymous. Initially, none of them were aware of this situation, showing how we lean towards overlooking problematic behavior when it emanates from a beloved celebrity.
When I asked their opinion, the anonymous student responded, “This issue shows ignorance. Nowadays, celebrities who have a lot of wealth think they're above others in society. I believe Kendall could've given something to the mother and child, she has the ability and a big audience. She could reach out, she could post about it, she could change their lives, but no, she just ignored it.”
Aïda Desouza’s response shared a perspective that aligns with the belief that celebrities are not obligated to give money, because it is not expected of them to be generous. She noted,“I'm not surprised that Kendall didn’t give any money. First of all, a lot of people don't give money to homeless people, second of all I don't know if she's nice or not but I think this situation is more a symbol of inequality in our society with the image of an extremely rich celebrity passing by a poor family.”
Kendall Jenner's ignorant interaction with the homeless mother and daughter has ignited a heated debate, showing the complex dynamics between celebrities and their social responsibilities as role models. The issue prompted discussions on issues of generosity, societal inequalities, and the influence of celebrities on society. Ultimately, it serves as a stark reminder of the power celebrities have and the moral scrutiny to which they are subject to because of their power.