Kit Keenanâ€™s Not Afraid to Get Political
The luxuriesÂ that NYC affords its fashion-forward youth are embodied by Kit Keenan, featured in our new Girl Cult issue.
This might be your first time hearing about Kit, but you have definitely heard of Kit’s mom, famous designer Cynthia Rowley, and although Kit is insta-famous, she’s not your run-of-the-mill teen model.
We talked to Kit about her interests, including her passion for women’s rights and integrating sex-ed earlier into schools, and where those passions might take her in the future.
Top: Vetements from THELOIT.COM |Â Dress: Nicopanda |Â Shoes: Toga Pulla
What are you specifically working on?
Last summer, I did an internship at Planned Parenthood, and then this summer Iâ€™m doing an internship at Everytown For Gun Safety. In the past year, Iâ€™ve also gotten interested in film-making just because I think itâ€™s so important for this generation in whatever job I end up doing, and itâ€™s just fun for me. So Iâ€™m kind of with my films Iâ€™m working to meld those two interests together which are social issues and film-making too, and then in the upcoming year, I want to experiment more I think with being in front of the camera as well as behind the camera. More like interviewing people, but Iâ€™m kind of keeping that open, just because I donâ€™t really have that much acting experience, but Iâ€™m m totally like willing to just try new things whenever.
When did you become aware of the social issues that you care about?
For feminism, just kind of womanhood comes crashing down on you I guess at a certain point, and you do have to deal with that no matter how privileged you are. And growing up in New York, Iâ€™ve had a lot of experience with just a wide array of womenâ€™s lives and getting to know different womenâ€™s experiences.
I guess once you start to hit puberty, first off itâ€™s super surprising a lot of times, and thatâ€™s what I mean. It comes crashing down on you and with puberty comes like a lot of other things, like discovering your sexuality and that is totally a process and understanding your body and your sexuality is something that you will probably have to deal with your whole life and itâ€™s something that Iâ€™m still working on. And thereâ€™s a certain point in your life where you start to see, like even walking down the street in New York, five years ago, I never would have had the same experience as I do now.
Who told you about your period and other things?
Nobody really told me about it, which is kind of an issue in itself. Just getting sexual health information out to younger kids especially because thereâ€™s so few resources like that are targeted towards a younger audience, and thereâ€™s not so many but there are sex ed platforms targeted towards adults and towards teens. But for kids, thereâ€™s not really a safe space that I know of, or there wasnâ€™t when I was like growing up. Even though Iâ€™m still growing up, thereâ€™s not really, and I mean Iâ€™m sure there are sites, but Iâ€™ve never reallyâ€¦ thereâ€™s not one that i know of. And I think that kind of comes from the stigma around sex ed and just a lot of people are hesitant to teach their kids about sex and sexuality at a young age which actually just causes more problems especially in my generation where thereâ€™s not really a dating culture, thereâ€™s more of just a hookup culture. That can be really dangerous if you donâ€™t have the right resources to learn about sex ed in general and to learn about your body and whatâ€™s good for you.
And then the whole issue of sexting â€“
Yeah I mean thatâ€™s something that is just kind of part of the hookup culture that is like such a big part of my generation, and that definitely comes with social media and how women portray their sexuality on social media, which definitely has like a lot of repercussions just because however you portray yourself online is how other people see you in the real world.
What do you think is the difference between walking down the street 5 years ago versus now?
Just as you start to look like a woman, you definitely get a different type of attention than you do when you still look like a young girl, and that can really make you see your body in a negative way because you donâ€™t like it. Youâ€™re not even trying to be sexy, but just looking like you do, you already are a sexual object.
Because of what other people are thinking?
Have ever felt tempted to cover up to avoid creeps?
For sure. And in New York it actually a lot of times can be really dangerous to be walking down the street in something thats super revealing, which is really just not okay. But thatâ€™s the reality. Especially growing up in an urban environment.
Whats your day to day right now?
I just finished my junior year of high school and it’s summer now, so Iâ€™m very happy about that. Iâ€™m starting my internship on Wednesday at Everytown, and Iâ€™m going to South Africa for three weeks, and Iâ€™m going to a leadership academy there that does like a lot of community service. And I donâ€™t know that much, but I have been researching the HIV epidemic in South Africa, which is so relevant to what Iâ€™ve done in the past especially at Planned Parenthood. And then once I get back from South Africa, Iâ€™ll be at the beach probably surfing every day which is gonna be fun. But Iâ€™m relaxing before school starts again.
How did your Planned Parenthood internship come about?
I actually was working at the communications Department of Planned Parenthood, which was really interesting to me because my boss did a lot of work like writing and editing scripts for tv shows which gave me the idea to meld social issues together with tv or film. And that was just like a really inspirational experience for me. So a lot of the work that she was doing was like if a TV show or a movie had a scene at a Planned Parenthood, she would go through and edit the script to make sure all the info was accurate. And doing PSAs and stuff with celebrities. I know they were doing one with Emily Ratajkowskii when I was there, and just that type of thing that puts those two of my passions together.
This summer at Everytown, Iâ€™m also gonna be interning in like a similar department which works on youth outreach and getting these issues into like pop culture and magazines and stuff like that.
When you were growing up, were there discussions of political issues in your house?
My parents are pretty liberal, I would have to say so I guess Iâ€™ve just kind of grown with that. They werenâ€™t really discussing these issues all the time, but they definitely had their own viewpoints about all that stuff. And they were also viewpoints that I think growing up for them, their parents maybe didnâ€™t always agree with. So it was important to me to have their viewpoints be so liberal because it definitely allowed me to talk about things with them that they might not have been able to talk about with their parents.
That was like never a question in my household [being pro choice].
What are your eventual goals?
I would love to do more interview stuff, like just becoming comfortable in front of the camera I think is like really important to me. Also I guess I want to work on a feature length film for sure because itâ€™s an experience Iâ€™ve never had, but also I would totally do like a TV show or something fun like that because thatâ€™s kind of how a lot of people get their start. I mean definitely both [behind and in front of camera] because Iâ€™m learning all these skills and I have all these resources to learn how to make films, and thats kind of what Iâ€™ve been working on in the last year, and getting to know how to use Final Cut Pro. Getting to use awesome state of the art cameras and stuff thatâ€™s available through my school. And then way more recently, Iâ€™ve been like figuring out how to also be in front of the camera because Iâ€™m pretty comfortable and I kind of have always been. I remember when I was little, we went to Japan and I was shot for this Japanese magazine and my stepdad was like that was so scary because you were actually a little diva and you were just likeâ€¦ Iâ€™m just like working on becoming more confident and more comfortable.
Top: Nicopanda |Â Pants: Vetements from THELOIT.COM |Â Shoes: Toga Pulla
Top: Nicopanda |Â Skirt: Nicopanda |Â Shoes: Alexis Gamblin
Photography: Amber Asaly
Styled by: Maikeeb