Kenya Kinski-Jones

by Amy Marie Slocum

The Unbearable Jonesness of Being*—Where Kenya Kinski-Jones Joins Us In Lisbon For A 1999 Rolling Stone Interview with Brad Pitt
Kenya Kinski-Jones swishes down the Lisbon streets, one more American on vacation. In her hand she carries a camera, which she shoots from waist height. “It was a campaign out in the desert, we were shooting for five days,” she announces, I comment that models are always living six months ahead, winter coats in the summer, bikinis in the winter, “I know, it’s always switched, I was actually talking to someone about that the other day.” She snaps a ragged, down-and-out Portuguese man on a bench and pushes through a flock of pigeons, a little disappointed that the birds, with their seen-it-all urban ways, are too underwhelmed to scatter in front of the lens. Instead they nonchalantly hop out of her path, and she swishes onward.

It is the last week of October. “I’ve done modeling since I was 18, I’m 22 now, and I’m finishing up college, I have two months until I’m finally done,” Kinski-Jones says, “I’m dedicating a lot of my time to make sure I’m getting my education.” She describes her state of mind: “I love to write, I’d love to get into journalism, or, I don’t know, I’m not sure what kind of writing I want to get into, but it’s definitely a passion of mine, and I’ve been really focusing on that the past four years in—” she pronounces this last word as French, “school.” I ask her what she’s looking for, “I’d like to combine that,” she says. “I’m just excited to explore my interests and see where it takes me.” Kinski-Jones was named the new face of Calvin Klein Jeans this year, I assume that she is going to follow the path of her mother and steer her Titanic-sized name and image towards acting, but I am wrong, “Acting is amazing, but it’s just something that isn’t really for me. I actually had an audition recently, it was really random, and I did it as an exercise for myself, to just be brave and do the audition, but it’s not something that I’m interested in right now.”

Regarding that name: the  Jones of course comes from the legendary music producer Quincy Jones, and the Kinski from German actress and model Nastassja Kinski (who was herself a form of screen royalty, being the daughter of Klaus). Her half-sister Rashida Jones is the Harvard-educated actress who has appeared on Parks and Rec., The Office, and in The Social Network (2010), etc., and half-sister, Kidada is the former model, celebrity stylist, and fashion designer who was engaged to Tupac Shakur at the time of his death.

I bring up the obligatory “What’s it like…” question, and Kinski-Jones gives me the obligatory “I had a really normal upbringing,” answer, but she seems relaxed.

Right now, Kinski-Jones’ plan is to go to an art-deco cafe she spotted earlier from the car. She heads down the long road toward it, moving swiftly. If anyone half-recognizes her, she is gone before the photo-fit match is completed. If you are famous like Kinski-Jones, you adopt smart tactics. You learn that the best way to see a city is on a bicycle—you can out-pedal any pedestrian attention and cut away to places where the paparazzi cars can’t follow. But even on foot, there are useful strategies. “I feel like, with modeling, there’s such a window, age-wise,” she says, “I think, with that, you get to travel to really interesting places, and meet really creative and passionate people, so I definitely want to be able to turn my attention to that.” Mostly, Kinski-Jones is doing alright.

[Editor’s Note: All of the above events in fact happened between Chris Heath and Brad Pitt in May of 1999. They have been partially plagiarized for our purposes.]

Photographer: Justin Campbell at

Stylist: Monty Jackson for

Hair: Dimitris Giannetos for using Oribe

Makeup: Paul Blanch for using Chanel

Photography Assistant: Chris Moneberg