Kendall Jenner faces new accusations of cultural appropriation over tequila campaign

Supermodel says it’s been an ‘incredible experience’ learning about ‘this beautiful place, it’s beautiful culture, and the beautiful people’

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 19 May 2021 20:45
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Kendall Jenner is again facing accusations of cultural appropriation over her tequila brand after she released a new campaign in celebration of the liquor’s launch.

After teasing the release of 818 Tequila for months, the 25-year-old officially launched her new spirits company this week in her home state of California.

To promote the tequila brand, Jenner shared photos of herself in Mexico in an agave field to her Instagram page, where she can be seen dressed in jeans, braids, and an oversized shirt with a cowboy hat slung around her neck as she leads a horse.

The supermodel also included photos of actual tequila farmers in the album, as well as a video of herself watching a farmer engage in the time-intensive process of distilling tequila from a distance.

“What an incredible experience I have had thus far, learning about this beautiful place, it’s beautiful culture, and the beautiful people!” Jenner captioned the album. “@drink818 has launched in California... we will be rolling out to the rest of the US all summer long, keep a lookout!”

A separate video shared to 818 Tequila’s official Instagram page sees Jenner driving a truck through the agave fields of Jalisco, Mexico, posing on a large pile of agave plants, and walking among the plants, which take up to eight years to mature.

Jenner has disabled comments on the Instagram post, however, critics have taken to Twitter to accuse the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star of appropriating Mexican culture with both her outfit and the campaign photoshoot.

“Oh no, not Kendall Jenner going for the Mexican look, as if it wasn’t enough of her family members appropriating Black culture,” one person tweeted, in reference to the numerous past incidents where members of the Kardashian/Jenner family have faced accusations of cultural appropriation.

Another person said: “Kendall Jenner roamed through fields of agave on horseback to announce the launch of her 818 tequila brand in California with moody visuals shared to Instagram on Monday despite tequila’s deep-rooted Mexican history having no affiliation to the affluent community she grew up in.”

“Check out @KendallJenner doing her best impression of a Mexican laborer! So refreshing to see that nepotism and cultural appropriation is still a profitable combo,” someone else tweeted.

This is not the first time that Jenner has faced accusations of cultural appropriation in relation to her tequila brand, as she previously faced criticism for “taking from local Mexican artisans and profiting off our traditions and agricultural business” in February, shortly after she announced the new endeavor.

At the time, critics also took offence with the name that Jenner chose for the tequila brand, as 818 references the area code of Calabasas, the city in California where she grew up, despite the spirit being manufactured in Mexico, where it is an agricultural industry integral to the Mexican economy.

Despite the accusations of cultural appropriation, Jenner is not the first celebrity to create a tequila brand, as George Clooney and Dwayne Johnson have both previously launched successful companies.

The Independent has contacted a representative for Jenner for comment.

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