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Along with hundreds of people in midtown Manhattan this afternoon, I tried to meet Kendall Jenner. Spoiler: I didn't, but I did manage to witness her speedwalking through a Sephora, and also met a girl who looked exactly like Gigi Hadid. And like everything involving Fifth Avenue, the Kardasho-Jenner family, and spending literally any amount of time in a Sephora, it was all very exhausting.
The event was marketed as a launch for Estée Lauder's new millennial-focused product line, The Estée Edit. The deal was this: Be one of the first 100 people to purchase an item from the collection, and get a wristband that would gain you entry to the same party as Kendall Jenner at 7pm tonight.
I arrive just before 4pm to an already-buzzing crowd of fans, videographers, and very confused passersby who would stop in their tracks, ask themselves "Does what's happening here concern me?", and then either join or move along.
I quickly discover that at this point, all the wristbands are spoken for, because the chance to be in a room with Kendall Jenner isn't something you can just claim three hours beforehand; come on now. But there's still a crowd for a reason, and within a few minutes, she arrives.
Here's what that looks like (the good stuff starts at the 40-second mark, and is over by roughly the 46-second mark):
Afterwards, she swiftly makes her way upstairs, away from the hordes of normals:
Roughly three steps thereafter, she's behind this blue curtain, where she will remain until 7pm:
Sadly, this is the end of my interaction with the woman of the hour, as more than one staff member assures me that "interviews were secured months ago," and "No, ma'am, you really can't speak to her," and "Do you need any assistance shopping today?" which in this circumstance translates to "Get the hell out of this establishment, you muddling bong bong."
But there are still plenty of people who a) don't have wristbands, and b) are clearly only here to see Kendall Jenner. Everyone's hoping for a glimpse of something — a wave, or even just a sign that she recognizes your existence, perhaps.
It's these people that I soon turn my attention to. Over by the glass windows, there's a group of people debating the likelihood that she'll come out before the store closes. I find out that they're actually two groups having just met, and are made up of a tourist couple from Croatia who just happened to be walking by at the right time, and two local students from Arizona and Australia, respectively.
"We had walked by and they were like, Kendall Jenner's going to be here, so we waited for a little bit, and then Kendall Jenner walked right in!" said the Arizonian student. "Then were were like, 'Okay! We'll just wait in here.'"
I ask who their favorite Kardashian is, and the answer is the correct one for the situation. "I've just heard good things about her," says Arizona. "She's way better than the other ones."
Australia agrees. "She's way more down to earth," she says.
Asking mainly for my own gain, I ask how long they're planning to wait. "They said they were going to close [the store] at six and that's when she was going to go around [the curtain]," Arizona says, "So I think we're just waiting to see if she'd come around before then. We were going to go to Grand Central anyway, so we might as well just wait."
Inspired by my new Arizonian, Australian, and Croatian friends, I decide to stay a little bit longer, avoiding judgmental glares from the employees of Sephora Fifth Avenue, who, to their immense credit, are currently dealing with customers who in the presence of a major celebrity are even more annoying than the usual Sephora customers, who are in general pretty annoying.
But then, across the store, I see a familiar face. Specifically, Gigi Hadid's face, but not on Gigi Hadid.
I immediately approach to this Gigi Hadid lookalike, expecting to finally understand what it must be like living life looking exactly like a very famous supermodel. The friendly compliments! The free stuff! The cascade of modeling contracts, probably!
To my shocking surprise, however, I came to find out that Julie, who is a 15-year-old on vacation from Denmark, has literally never been told this before.
"Uh, no! No!" she exclaims when I ask if anyone's ever noticed the resemblance. Figuring that perhaps Gigi Hadid has yet to be a thing in Denmark, I ask, "Do you know who that is?"
"Yeah!" she says, laughing. "Thank you!"
Another surprising fact I learn about Not Gigi Hadid: her sister, not Julie herself, is the real Kendall Jenner fan. "My sister saw [the event] on Instagram," she explains. "We came a half an hour ago. I hope she waves at some point, but my sister is a really big fan, so I think we're going to wait until she comes out and waves."
It's then that I come to the regrettable conclusion that the Arizonian, the Australian, the Croatian, and Danish Gigi Hadid will likely never get that one simple wave they've been waiting for this afternoon. "She's not coming back out," the increasingly annoyed Sephora employees keep reminding us. "The store's closing soon."
Instead, I use the opportunity to peruse the whole event's raison d'etre: The Estée Edit. They look pretty much like regular Estée Lauder beauty products, but in slightly cooler packaging.
The store is still relatively full, but it's time to go. Though all logic and a relatively higher-than-average knowledge of how celebrity publicists operate assures me that I am right in assuming that Kendall will not end up giving the people one more hello, I can only hope that she did. And that when she did, she happened to catch the eye of Danish Gigi Hadid, and subsequently presented her with a lifetime of fame, fortune, and best friendship.