Supermodel previously deleted campaign that showed her posing in agave fields
Kendall Jenner has revealed that she and her tequila brand are “donating back to the community of Jalisco” after she sparked accusations of cultural appropriation when she first launched the spirits brand.
The criticism over the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star’s tequila brand began in February shortly after Jenner announced the launch of the alcohol, with many accusing her at the time of “exploiting Mexican culture” and profiting off an agricultural industry that is integral to the Mexican economy.
Most tequilas, including Jenner’s, come from Jalisco, Mexico, where the spirit is made through a time-intensive process that sees farmers harvesting agave plants, which take up to eight years to mature.
The supermodel then faced additional criticism over the press campaign that coincided with the launch of the tequila, which featured Jenner, dressed in jeans, braids, and an oversized shirt with a cowboy hat slung around her neck as she led a horse, posing in an agave field in Mexico.
The supermodel also included photos of actual tequila farmers in her Instagram album, which has since been deleted, as well as a video of herself watching a farmer engage in the time-intensive process of distilling tequila from a distance.
“Is Kendall Jenner really wearing braids and pretending to be a farm worker while colonising tequila? It’s a no for me,” one person tweeted at the time.
Following the criticism, Jenner has now revealed that she, through her tequila company, has launched a new initiative to support the community of Jalisco.
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the 25-year-old said: “We actually, at our distillery, which I was just at the other day, we found a way to take the agave waste, the agave fibres and the water waste, and build this sustainable brick that we are actually donating back to the community of Jalisco.”
According to Jenner, the sustainable bricks will then be used to build homes for “people that need homes,” with the reality star noting that they have already been used in the construction of a “half-built hospital”.
During the interview, the model also said that one of the reasons she decided to launch 818 Tequila was because many of the other tequila brands on the market were not as “friendly to the planet as they could possibly be”.
“So I took that upon myself to make that a really big part of us as a brand,” she continued, explaining that the spirits company has partnered with international organisation One Per cent for the Planet to donate one per cent of their revenue to “planet-saving initiatives”.
“Along with saving the planet, it’s important to us to be friendly to the community as well,” Jenner added.
Apart from her desire to craft a spirits brand that prioritises the planet, Jenner told Fallon that she chose tequila specifically because it is the preferred alcohol of her and her friends, and because she realised that tequila production is a “male-dominated space”.
According to Jenner, growing up in a “really strong female family” drove her “even harder into the space” and made her “really excited” about the venture.
While Jenner has not specifically addressed the accusations of cultural appropriation, she disabled comments on her Instagram shortly after launching her tequila campaign in May, before ultimately deleting the photos and videos.