Cory Kennedy, ubiquitous club urchin and object of desire for fashion-mag hags everywhere, is hanging with her buddies after The Like show at MoCA. One of them is designer Jeremy Scott. “Cory’s the It Girl!” he announces. Then, pointing to her boyfriend, nightlife photographer Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter, he adds, “She’s always being hounded by the paparazzi!” Giggles all ’round.
A blonde girl is hanging out with them, and I ask how she knows Cory. “I just met her tonight,” she drawls. “We’re really close now.” She turns to Cory and asks how it feels to be a celebrity. Cory brushes a tendril of matted brown hair from her eyes and pauses. “I don’t really think about it.”
Away from the group, we sit facing each other, cross-legged on the edge of the MoCA fountain. The New York Times interviewed Cory the other week. It must have been kinda surreal, I suggest, especially because she’s only 16.
“I can’t even grasp it yet,” she says, all big eyes and spindly legs, like a foal. She tells me they asked her about her childhood, her fashion sense and the controversial nature of being her.
“I think that’s why I’ve gotten so much attention, because I’m so controversial,” she explains. “People either love me, or they hate me, hate me, hate me.”
She twiddles a ’90s-rapper-style gold chain, which she wears over a Marc Jacobs T-shirt dress, worn backward. A metallic American Apparel boob tube glimmers beneath the giant armholes. A Marc Jacobs scarf is tied around her right bicep and her flat gladiator sandals — Salvation Army, $4.50 — are falling apart. One is held together by a hair band.
Why does she think people hate her?
“Maybe it’s ’cause most celebrities are, like, perfect,” she ventures. “They have their hair brushed and their makeup done and no bruises on their legs . . . and I’m like BLEURRRRGH!”
Then there are those who hate on her for being, as Gawker.com put it, “a malnourished teenager who dresses like she raided her retarded grandma’s basement and does nothing with her wasted life but pose for pictures on a Web site and hang out and live off her parents while waiting to get famous for some as-yet-unrevealed talent.” Ouch.
Either way, Cory’s life has changed dramatically ever since The Cobrasnake made her his intern and splashed photos of her all over his Web site. A latter-day Bianca Jagger in ballet flats, she’s the one with the messy long brown hair, the crooked smile and the glass of white wine perpetually in hand. Now she gets MySpace messages from admirers all over the world, and fashion bloggers in Europe, Australia and South America have been asking “Who is Cory Kennedy?”
Apparently, the worldwide Cory craze started in the Netherlands.
“They were the first international place that started giving me attention,” Cory says. “Then it went to Spain, and then London, and blah blah blah . . . and Australia kinda came last, and Canada’s chillin’.?”
People usually ask her about her age, and her clothes. She says her biggest fashion inspirations are Jean-Luc Godard’s À Bout de Souffle, the 1920s through the ’40s, Twiggy, Edie Sedgwick and Kurt Cobain. She loves to mix vintage with designer, and lists her favorites: Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Marni, Jeremy Scott, Isabel Marant, André Courrèges, Obesity & Speed, Pierre Cardin, Tsumori Chisato and Mary Ping.
She tells me she’s especially excited to be working with Jeremy Scott on his next collection. “I bring him stuff and say, ‘Look at this!’?”
I wonder where Cory gets the money to buy designer clothes. “My parents are good to me,” she says, adding, “But I’m good to them.”
She lives in Santa Monica and has a twin sister (not identical) who doesn’t go out clubbing like she does. She also has two younger sisters, ages 14 and 13. Her folks run education programs for adults who did not complete high school. They don’t want Cory to end up one of their pupils.
She agrees, and plans on getting her high school diploma before pursuing her career, probably in fashion. Her parents are vaguely aware that she has a following, but “they don’t really understand. It’s kind of weird because I say, ‘Yeah, I kinda have some fan sites and stuff,’ and they’re like, ‘That’s cool.’?”
Cory’s starting to get fidgety. We wander back into the courtyard, while she tells me about some haters who have been posting mean things about her on livejournal.com. Then she spots Mark and yells his name with extraordinary force for one so petite. He comes over. There’s a party downtown, he says. There’s a possibility it may be lame, and they carefully weigh their options. It’s a tough call — after all, Cory isn’t even supposed to be out. Turns out she’s grounded.