Perhaps you've heard about this already, but indulge us: Karlie Kloss, a 25-year-old model and self-proclaimed math and science nerd, took her first coding class in 2014 and that same year, she founded Kode With Klossy to encourage and empower girls to learn code and become leaders in the (male-dominated) tech industry. Every summer, Kode With Klossy grants scholarships to a select group of 13 to 18-year-olds around the country to attend coding camp. It's a fantastic program for a very important cause.
But back to Kloss. Over the years, she's been on magazine covers, featured in profiles, spoken on panels, made television appearances, given awards and plenty of other opportunities to promote Kode With Klossy and her love of coding. Her latest effort is a collaboration with Away, a capsule luggage and travel accessories in exclusive, limited-edition colorways — Gigabyte green and Pixel purple — that launches on Thursday and ranges between $55 and $295. To celebrate, Away and Kloss hosted a class on Wednesday night in New York. It was time to finally witness the model's coding skills in action. Sort of.
But how are Kloss's own "koding" skills? Let me preface my recollection of the event with my half-assed research to find proof on the internet of Kloss really, actually coding. All I came across was a Reddit forum that included a major #tbt of Kloss on a computer. "On Wednesdays, we kode," her Instagram caption read. I didn't bother to dive too deep into the comments for my own peace of mind, so instead, I pinged my friend Colleen, a computer science major and now adult computer science professional, with the Reddit forum's photo. "Is this legit?" I cluelessly asked. "Well, that is code per se," she responded. Hm. Okay. "But that's just navigating through Unix. To put it in terms you would understand..." and then my eyes glazed over. Sorry, Colleen. Mystery still unsolved.
I arrived on the fifth floor of a downtown-based WeWork with a group of editors, female entrepreneurs and Kode With Klossy scholars. The point of the evening was to learn a few basic skills in coding while drinking kombucha and eating tiny grilled chicken burgers. After a short introduction by Kloss and Away co-founder and CEO Steph Korey, each editor was directed to an assigned table adorned with colorful school supplies and one iPad. A Kode With Klossy instructor — sadly, not Kloss — took over to start our class. "Raise your hand if you've done coding before!" she commanded. I, a coding newbie, maniacally looked around the room to see if Kloss was raising her hand, but I couldn't seem to spot the 6'2" model in a white Bella Freud suit anywhere! Ugh. My one question still unanswered.
At my table, I sat alongside an entrepreneur (mine was MIA, so a publicist filled in) and a Klossy Cool Teen™ (Hi, Tallie!). We fired up our iPads for Swift Playgrounds, a fun program that teaches kids to code. Our first lesson: Issuing Commands. While trying to direct the app's digital character called Byte to collect gems, Kloss arrived at our table and peered over our shoulders. "This is it. It's happening," I thought, hoping that Kloss would go into micromanager mode, offering to tap the screen's commands so Byte would "step forward," "step forward," "turn left" and "collect gem." But instead, she sang her praises for Tallie. "She’s the best! You're in great hands," said Kloss and then she moseyed on over to the next table.
Later on, we leveled up to coding a quiz, which was introduced with Kloss not coding a quiz in front of everyone but taking a quiz. (Still! Nothing!) As we attempted to develop a quiz on our own, which required plenty of heavy lifting from Tallie exclusively, Kloss arrived at our table a second time. "Last freakin' chance. Here we gooo," I silently screamed in my head. But the issue at hand was that we couldn't find the spaghetti emoji, a choice for one of our quiz's questions — not exactly the best opportunity for Kloss to get her code on. "Oh, here it is," said Tallie, yet again being that one person in group projects who's actually pulling her weight and more. "See! You’re in great hands!" said Kloss and then she was off.
So did Kloss actually code before me at all on Wednesday night? Nope. Not at all. I'll have to sneak my way into another event in the future. But what I can say is that learning the basics of coding can be pretty easy — and really fun, too. Tallie certainly proved it, and so did the rest of the girls who were putting their Kode With Klossy knowledge to work. Perhaps if Kloss is inspiring hundreds of other girls to really, actually code then maybe that’s all the proof I need.
See the gallery below for Kloss's campaign and products from her collaboration with Away, which is available for purchase on AwayTravel.com now.