Karlie Kloss Discusses Kode with Klossy, a Coding Camp for Girls
Who says boys should have all the fun?
You probably know Karlie Kloss as the Victoria’s Secret supermodel who also happens to have a baked goods brand called Karlie’s Kookies. What you may not know, however, is that the 23-year-old is fluent in the programming language Ruby. Having always been interested in math and science, the NYC-based model picked up coding several years ago. Hoping to inspire other young girls to learn the technical skill, Karlie partnered with NYC’s Flatiron School in April 2015 to launch #KodewithKarlie, a scholarship program for teen girls. As an extension of this initiative, the supermodel now introduces Kode with Klossy, a coding summer camp for girls aged 13 to 18. The program runs for two weeks and will provide scholarships to 80 young women from New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis, Missouri (Karlie’s hometown).
TechCrunch recently caught up with Karlie to learn more about the new summer program, including what inspired her interest in coding, what the curriculum is like, and more. You can read an excerpt from the conversation below and can head over to TechCruch to read the full story. To learn more about Kode with Klossy, you can head over to the program’s website here and can watch the video above.
You’re a supermodel with an ultra-successful career in the fashion industry. Why learn to code? What’s the story behind wanting to do that?
I grew up in St. Louis and didn’t really know anything about fashion until I walked in a charity fashion show at my local mall and was signed to a modeling agency. Before my modeling career took off, I really loved my math and science classes in school. My dad was an ER doctor and as a girl, I dreamed of following in his footsteps. Taking coding classes brings me back to the excitement I felt as a kid in first-period biology. I’m a curious person and coding allows me to think about how our world is built.
What are common reactions in the fashion industry when you tell them you are learning to code?
People have been really supportive and excited about Kode With Klossy. Ten years ago, it might have been this weird thing for a model to be taking computer science classes, but the industry is very tech friendly today. When I started modeling, fashion week was this very exclusive thing. You weren’t allowed to say anything about the designer’s collections to anyone. Now, I walk in shows that are live-streamed on Periscope and teased out on Instagram. The fashion industry has changed a lot over the last few years because of technology.
How does cultivating a technical skill help you in your life/career?
Since I started coding, I’ve learned a lot that feeds back into my work in the fashion industry. The magazines I shoot for and the brands I work with are driven by what’s happening in the tech world. When I’m in a meeting with one of my fashion partners, having a technical understanding of how it all works makes me a stronger businesswoman.
Moving on to the new code camp, what prompted you to give it a go?
If you can learn how to write code, or at least, gain an understanding of how it works at a high level, then you open yourself up to more opportunities in your career and life. We need more women studying code in school and working as programmers in every industry. As technology changes the way our world operates, tech companies will have more influence on our lives — it’s important that women are part of that equation. My goal is for Kode With Klossy to introduce and teach coding to a handful of the girls who will make up that next generation of change-makers.