Amina Blue: Diary of an It Girl

The 23-Year-Old Model Visits a Monster Truck Rally and Reflects on Overnight Celebrity, Solitude, and Her Pitbulls

  • Text: Natasha Stagg
  • Photography: Hannah Sider
Although Blue isn’t the child of a modern-day stage mom growing up in California, it’s hard to find a surface-level factoid about her that couldn’t also be said of a Kardashian or a Jenner.

“As far as the Kardashian circle, I think we’re a lot more different than we are similar,” says 23-year-old Brooklyn native Amina Blue. It’s a comparison that she has heard many times, for a few reasons. Although Blue isn’t the child of a modern-day stage mom growing up in California, it’s hard to find a surface-level factoid about her that couldn’t also be said of a Kardashian or a Jenner. Except: “I’m vegan, and they’re kind of heavy on the fur and animal products,” she points out. “We just work together. We work really well together. We get stuff done.” She pauses and then adds, “I guess you can’t really judge until you’re fully in their shoes. They have a lot to deal with.”

“I saw that the most successful people were the ones that could have a conversation with anybody about anything. That’s what made them stand out.”

An “it girl” can define her era, and the twenty-teens are somewhat defined by privacy and the attempt to protect it. In the 90s, “it girl” could refer to someone who was more recognized for her personality than for her career—that is, someone whose personal life or rapport with the press tended to overshadow her work. Still, she usually worked first, only becoming a media darling by way of projects that needed attention. Reality television changed that, and then social media changed it again. Today, the term has come to stand in for a word not yet invented, one that loosely means “famous first” (or, that phrase made popular in the early days of KUWTK, “famous for being famous”). Perhaps the girl described as “it” today doesn’t have any projects she wants to share. It could be that she’s not very personable with the press, either, instead communicating directly with her fans. Possibly, she became “it” before she even knew exactly what she wanted to be famous for.

Blue’s fame came faster than anyone could have anticipated, by way of the most exalted family on social media. Now she’s a music video star, who you may recognize from Tyga’s “1 of 1,” filmed while the rapper was on a break with Jenner. When she removed that pair of stiletto mules during the infamously uncomfortable Yeezy Season 4 fashion show, her work as a runway model was practically canonized. From there, West introduced her to stylist and magazine editor Carine Roitfeld, who promptly put her in CR Fashion Book and invited her to the annual New York Fashion Week party Harper’s Bazaar Icons. She was cast in another recent high-profile shoot, photographed by Vogue and W go-to duo Mert & Marcus and art directed by West at his Calabasas home, starring West’s wife Kim, her sister Khloé, and a handful of other celebrities. Even next to the two Kardashians, Blue’s curves look surreal. West did the story with 032c, and where the German magazine could have had a Kardashian coup for a cover, they instead went with one stunning crop of a nude Blue.

Blue views every person she meets as an opportunity to learn, and West’s in-laws give plenty of lessons on “what to do and what not to do.” Reality television isn’t, according to Blue, what not to do. In fact, she’s already shot a pilot for VH1 that follows herself and other “influencers” (a title she prefers). West took to Blue after he guested on a Busta Rhymes video in which Blue was an extra, casting her in every Yeezy project since. She calls him a mentor and friend. Plus, she says, he has more influence over her generation than anyone.

“I’ve seen people go crazy for this man. His followers are so dedicated and so sincere." She adds, "The thing with Kanye is that I don’t think he plays many games. Everything that comes out of his mouth is usually what he’s thinking. You just gotta take what he says and deal with it. I know a lot of people are upset with that whole Trump thing. I was, too, like: What’s he doing with Trump? But once you hear his reasoning—and I’m not saying I agree with it—you know, everybody’s different. Maybe it’s a good thing that he’s meeting the president of the United States. If you can’t beat ’em you might as well just join ’em.”

The world of celebrity changes daily. Picture the 90s: A Page Six reporter befriends a cool girl at a party, agreeing to scratch her back if she’ll make a good story. Back then, when fashion preferred relatively miniscule butts, political correctness and the internet were new concepts. Fame was both less stigmatized and less accessible—an “it girl” had to go out, be seen, and be charming. By comparison, “it girls” of today will most likely have been discovered via Instagram. Their art direction, more than anything else, gets them through doors. They are, more often than not, self-described homebodies, even antisocial. Today, a cool girl is coaxed from a bedroom iPhone shoot into a professional studio. Blue describes herself, like so many of today’s overnight influencers do, as, “pretty boring.”

Blue’s confident ease—that can be misread as evasiveness—seems to fan the emotional flames of her followers. After the world was privy to the striking features on display at Yeezy’s first fashion show, Blue was made a voiceless meme. Kylie Jenner modeled in the same show, barely recognizable in a wig cap and oversized blazer, while Blue looked like a cross between Storm and Betty Boop as painted by Mark Ryden, in little more than a transparent bodysuit. Since then, almost every move she’s made is steeped in controversy. “I get people writing to me from Kylie’s fan pages,” Blue says, “and they are most threatening and rude and obnoxious comments. They’ll argue with my regular fans. Most of the comments I get are really positive, asking me how to eat better and be vegan.”

An “it girl” can define her era, and the twenty-teens are somewhat defined by privacy and the attempt to protect it.

Most important, perhaps: Blue represents someone comfortable with exposure and uncomfortable with pressure. She lives with four pitbulls because she couldn’t find homes for three of her dog’s thirteen puppies. She recently bought a house to renovate in North Carolina, where her grandmother lives, for when she wants “a change” from city life. “If I don’t have to go outside, I’d rather not," she says. "I'm not a party person. I don't go to the club often. I have a really weak stomach and I throw up everywhere. I’ll have a glass of wine, but with hard liquor I can’t do it." The aversion to alcohol has made being involved in rap video shoots less of a draw. She doesn't do much of that anymore. "I did some bottle service at a strip club and honestly that was enough for me," she says. "There was some crazy shit in there. I enjoyed it and the money was great, but I did it for a little bit and now I’m done.”

The negativity started after Tyga posted behind the scenes snaps of his “1 of 1” video on Snapchat, the camera giving Blue elevator eyes before she coyly parts a white robe to reveal a tattooed hip. To add fuel to fire, the video cast her, a bleach-blonde, blue-eyed woman of German-Pakistani descent, as a Jamaican (and it’s not just the cornrows—the dialogue drives this narrative home).

She’s inadvertently the unnamed and politically incorrect ideal.

Find one of the many videos of Blue walking stiffly down an outdoor runway on New York’s Roosevelt Island before removing her sweaty Yeezy Season 4 heels and you’ll find comments picking her and others apart for not being “real models.” And even before the shoes came off, Season 4’s open casting call was published, requesting “multi-racial women only,” which started a turbulent conversation online about stigmatizing and diluting blackness. Perhaps another indicator that Blue encapsulates her generation’s untold aspirations is that she is pale in complexion with bigger lips and hips than most white women. She’s inadvertently the unnamed and politically incorrect ideal. The 19-year-old Jenner sister has put up with similar accusations of race-appropriation that stem from her admitted use of injections and hair extensions. But, "I don’t really talk to Kylie," Blue confirms. "She’s not one of the Kardashians I’m friends with.”

Perhaps another reason why internet-age “it girls” like Blue are such homebodies is this potential trauma that comes with exponential growth of attention. Blue doesn’t seem phased by an excess of aggression directed at her, but she’s likely good at masking her emotions. Since she turned 18, she’s been getting tattooed, despite wanting to work as a model. Large figures crawl up a thigh and around a shoulder. On her chest is an Eye of Horus that at least one Kanye hater has publicly described as a symbol of the Illuminati. “There are a lot of people that don’t necessarily agree with the way a woman looks with tattoos, especially with as many as I have, but… it worked out. I just have to slow down a little bit. I’m really small.” She is all of 5’1”. “I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to work as much,” she adds, referring to the few first trips to the tattoo shop. But, she notes, “I get scared all the time.”

“I saw that the most successful people were the ones that could have a conversation with anybody about anything. That’s what made them stand out.”

A major influence for Blue is actress, model, and fellow vegan shoe designer Pamela Anderson (Blue's own shoe line is due out in April). "She has a bubbly personality," which is something Blue admires, having discovered in the strip club that she couldn't be as cunning in business as the dancers were. "I can be friendly, but in that type of environment it’s hard to be friendly.” And being able to be friendly in every type of environment is the goal: “I saw that the most successful people were the ones that could have a conversation with anybody about anything. That’s what made them stand out." In other words, Blue wants to be the type of person who can make it look like she actually likes leaving the house. Her popular Instagram account, the bio of which reads at press time, "I AM THE INFLUENCE," has given her a head start, as have her handful of inadvertent scandals. After all, another lesson Blue learned early (one that has proved itself in major ways lately), she quotes with a knowing laugh: "All press is good press."

  • Text: Natasha Stagg
  • Photography: Hannah Sider