Karlie Kloss – Entrepreneur and Supermodel (#307)

“Everybody has the opportunity to build something.”

– Karlie Kloss

Karlie Kloss (IG: @karliekloss) is an entrepreneur and supermodel who was discovered at a local charity fashion show at age 13 and has been modeling professionally ever since.

Karlie has walked for and starred in campaigns for top designers including Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Adidas, Carolina Herrera, and Swarovski, among many others.

Outside of modeling, Karlie’s personal passion for coding led her to launch Kode With Klossy, a nonprofit that empowers young women to code and become leaders in tech — poised to expand in 2018 to 50 camps in 25 cities.

Time Magazine has recognized Karlie for her entrepreneurship and philanthropic work on its 100 Most Influential People list, and she has also been featured on the covers of Fast Company and Forbes for her work with Kode with Klossy.

Karlie hosts Freeform six-part series Movie Night with Karlie Kloss and is a correspondent for Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World.

If you’re interested in learning more about Karlie’s coding camps (applications and deadlines are coming soon), check out kodewithklossy.com/apply.


You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Karlie Kloss - Entrepreneur and Supermodel

Want to hear another episode with another inspiring entrepreneur? — Listen to this interview with Debbie Millman, where we discuss how to recover from rejection, how to overcome personal crises of faith, class exercises from her most impactful mentors, and much more. (stream below or right-click here to download):

#214: How to Design a Life - Debbie Millman

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Karlie Kloss:

Kode with Klossy | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Show Notes

  • Is Karlie Kloss the nicest person on the planet? [06:23]
  • Who were Karlie’s role models growing up? [07:39]
  • Decisions that helped Karlie avoid becoming another casualty in the high-turnover world of modeling. [09:04]
  • What rules and policies did Karlie’s family impose to guide her through starting a career at age 15? [14:11]
  • How has Karlie remained grounded over the course of her successes? [17:28]
  • Influential books and podcasts. [21:18]
  • How did Karlie get started coding? [24:51]
  • What is Kode with Klossy? [28:22]
  • What stops a lot of people (including me) from picking up a skill like coding, and what are the benefits of understanding the basics of something new? [29:39]
  • Karlie talks about coping with the insecurities that accompany modeling as a still-developing teenager and young adult. [36:36]
  • Karlie’s routines and habits that help her through the day. [40:13]
  • We discuss morning exercises while traveling (and why your excuses for being “too busy” to exercise are probably baloney). [42:40]
  • Karlie’s best investments in time and money. [47:28]
  • Karlie’s motivation for returning to school. [51:01]
  • Favorite classes. [52:42]
  • Recent purchases of $100 or less that have had a positive impact on Karlie’s life. [53:14]
  • What does a page in Karlie’s journal look like, and how does something make it from the page to reality? [54:57]
  • The importance of asking for help rather than trying to go it alone (even when it’s hard to do). [58:03]
  • Habits, beliefs, and tools picked up in the last few years that have had a positive impact on Karlie’s life. [1:00:46]
  • What would Karlie’s billboard say? [1:04:32]
  • Parting thoughts and more information for girls 13-18 who might be interested in Kode with Klossy. [1:06:38]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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30 Replies to “Karlie Kloss – Entrepreneur and Supermodel (#307)”

  1. Tim – phenomenal, as always! I’m old-school and tend to listen to your podcasts via audio and this is the first time I’ve watched the video version – I like it! Karlie – I’m also in the tech/engineering field and would LOVE to volunteer at your Seattle summer camp this year. How can volunteers get involved?

  2. Enjoyed this episode – the interview flowed very well and definitely was inspired by her nonprofit work. Also liked Kloss’ comments on working out while traveling (definitely an excuse I’ve used for not exercising!) – she’s a great example to fitting wellness in no matter how busy.

  3. Hi Tim,

    I own a few books and listen to the podcast semi-regularly. I have to say, I came on to say that I felt you talked over Karlie Kloss in this interview more than in other interviews, enough that I wanted to pass that feedback along.

    I can imagine that the back and forth of a dynamic interview can be tough to pace, but this difference stood out a lot from from of your previous shows I have listened to. It got better towards the end, but at the beginning, I was irritated.

    1. Hello Jenna,

      Very nice observation. Personally, I didn’t pay attention to this while listening to the audio but I also had a quick look at the video and I noticed how at one point Tim’s mouth was just preparing to ask a “what…” question. First I thought it was him trying to let her know about something in a subtle way.

      It probably depends on the relationship between them as well, so overall I wouldn’t say this is something that takes away in any way from the conversation. Since there is no perfect way to do a proper interview, it’s hard to say if this is something that was beneficial or not anyhow.


    2. Exactly same impression! Especially the part about excercises while travelling – Karlie wanted to say something but Tim just kept going ;-). Also for the rapid fire questions Tim seemed to overexplain. But… I totally understand. I’d probably also freaked out in company of a supermodel 😉

    3. This interview really lacked the depth I’ve noticed in other interviews. I was equally irritated because Karlie was not answering Tim’s questions in detail. Many parts of the interview are just general/vague.

  4. Tim – Awesome episode. If your looking for someone to help you learn to code I am in Austin for a few months and happy to help. I am a former TC Disrupt Hackathon Winner(SF 2012) and web application architect in between big projects right now and would love to be of service in any way. Ping me if I can help at all.

    Thanks for all you do!

  5. What an incredible human. Love the story and the impact she’s having on the world. She’s educatIng and rmpower If the next generation. Love to hear more stories like this Tim!

  6. Hi Tim, sorry for the off topic question, but in a recent 5 Bullet Friday you said you were experimenting with the DCT Proflex device. Any thoughts yet? I’m thinking of getting one to help with plantar fasciitis, but at $250 a pop I’d love to hear some real feedback first ($250 can buy a lot of lacrosse balls). I’d love to hear what you (or your readers) think of it. Thanks for any thoughts!

  7. I’m an elementary principal from MO. Proud to have Karlie out there supporting young females with Kode with Klossy! Great role model for my daughter and other girls out there.

    Tim, I’m putting on a free event for teachers through a nonprofit and would love your support through a book donation. We will talk about the book and it will be given away to a lucky teacher.

  8. Hi Tim! It was refreshing to hear that Karlie attributed a lot of her success to three things:

    1. genetics (height),

    2. a strong support network, and

    3. luck, in the form of being in the right place at the right time and taking full advantage of the opportunity presented.

    In my experience, people who lack those attributes but who otherwise work hard, have good habits, and the like have a much harder path to world-class levels in their respective fields. Books, habits, attitude, etc. all help, and you can’t complete the task without those, but without intrinsic basic aptitude, a strong support network, and a series of improbable events winding up in your favor, the destination will be far more elusive. Kudos, and keep up the good work!

    1. Hello Waldo,

      You definitely make a great point but also let me ask you a question, aren’t we the ones who can make ourselves get in that spotlight? Being in a mall at a specific time may seem random, but she was out there, not at home.

      We could say the same applies to Tim. Would we have the 4HWW if he didn’t go to SXSW? Probably not. Without even taking into account that there was a need for a small talk, so a little bit of courage is also necessary at this kind of key moments.


  9. Double WOW! I am so proud there is a Bulgarian like me working for you, Tim, and he is so right – Karlie looks like the most down-to-earth smart and kind person in the world. It is so nice to see there are people like her. Great show!

  10. Tim,

    Just a note to say that I admire much of what you are achieving. I share many of your thoughts with my students and think that they are very worthwhile.

    My question of you would be in how to reconcile your “Drunk Dialing” activity for that audience? It would be sad to think that one part of what you do could call into question your other thought processes, contributions, etc., which that activity would seem to do.

    Thanks for what you do and would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    1. Hi SW,

      Regarding the “drunk dialing”, let’s be honest, it didn’t really seem like the word “drunk” was really part of that podcast episode. All podcasts are also edited, so there’s a low probability of useless information.

      I think you might agree with that?


  11. Tim — completely out of the blue but did not know how else to reach you.

    Have you ever heard of post-finasteride syndrome? Myself as well as thousands of others suffer from it and there is no cure and no understanding from the medical field. I do however think it can be fixed with a regimen of fasting and the appropriate substances.

    In my mind, you are the best suited person to dig into this and try to bring this horrible syndrome and some potential remedies to light. Please at least consider it, Tim.


  12. I have listened to every episode of your podcast and absolutely loved this one! I’ve always had an interest in fashion and am thrilled that Karlie was your guest for this show. She is such an admirable professional within the industry and beyond, and I have been so curious to know how she has expanded her business outside of fashion. Would love to hear more from people in this space!

  13. Hello Tim, absolutely wonderful – you and Karli both set a great example for young entrepreneurs. I have a quick question. Is there a book or even just a blog post on successful self-publishing which you would recommend?

    Thank you!

  14. Tim: Consider subscribing to the YouTube channel: [Moderator: link to Numberphile YouTube page removed.]

    which introduces layman to mathematical topics that are accessible. As to your desire to become better at coding, I would suggest finding a problem, a task that you would like to do better, say on your site, and figure out how to describe the process in ordinary English. A recipe for food is a procedural

    “program”. Do not get bogged down in what computer language you should use. Programming is largely textual which you are clear adept at 🙂

    1. Please interview Sal Khan of the Khan Academy. He likely would be able to enhance your learning of programming, mathematics, etc.

  15. Disappointing episode, her answers were vague and evasive despite further prompting from Tim to go deeper. If you want an enterprising supermodel with cause, Christy Turlington would make a much better guest.

      1. I agree. I had such high hopes for her interview. She gave “nothing” answers. It was like she had not done her research on Tim and the way he structures his interviews. Only TF podcast I have learnt absolutely nothing from. And the ‘nicest person in the world’ comment went no where. I was so eager to hear an engaging story. Disappointed much.

  16. It is inspiring to hear how dedicated Karlie Kloss is to coding, tech and education. I am currently in the process of finishing your 4HWW book and in doing so pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Thank you in advance for any help! [Moderator: link removed.]

  17. Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for this interview with Karlie. I am a huge fan of yours and I have never sent you a comment. First, thanks for being the person you are…and thank you for sharing a part of your life with the rest of us. Now, for the reason I commenting…I have listened to nearly all of your podcasts, and I have rarely heard you seem so attracted to one of your guests. And it seems like she truly admires you. Go for it!

  18. I don’t even know how to address this but I am in a High School and I live in a corner of world that is very small(called Punjab, Pakistan) but I’m really interested in this stuff, but this one was a life-changer. Right Conversation at the right time.

  19. Tim, great interview overall although at times it seemed like a first date… which is really good for entertainment purposes of the viewer, however you could have done a little better picking her brain by getting less emotional responses from her.

    I’d be distracted too if a supermodel was looking at me like that 3 feet in front of me.

  20. I can imagine that the back and forth of a dynamic interview can be tough to pace, but this difference stood out a lot from from of your previous shows I have listened to. It got better towards the end, but at the beginning, I was irritated.