Will Kendall Jenner Be a Supermodel? The Face's Nigel Barker Weighs In

03/05/2014 at 01:12 PM ET

Kendall Jenner ModelFrancois Guillot/AFP/Getty; Neilson Barnard/Getty;

When Kendall Jenner, 18, walked in Marc Jacobs’s show (center) during New York Fashion Week, many assumed it was a one-time stunt by the designer, who loves using celebrities in his ad campaigns. But now that she’s graced the catwalk in London and Paris (for Givenchy, left, and Chanel, right), Jenner seems poised for a high-fashion career to take off. We chatted with Nigel Barker, host of modeling competition The Face, to see if he thinks Jenner has what it takes to become a top model.

“I definitely think she has the potential,” he tells PEOPLE. “These things rely on a little bit of longevity and she’s still young, [but] she’s doing all the right things, walking in the right shows. She’s got the look — that smoldering, strong look. Every once in a while, she reminds me a bit of Gia Carangi, that sort of mystery to her.”

But Barker is quick to point out that it’s what she does with this newfound high-fashion exposure that will make or break her career. “We now have to see the editorial pickup, we need to see the big magazines endorse her. She’ll need to get campaigns in the right areas,” he says. “Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, if they pick her up, then high fashion has truly endorsed her. Hopefully when she’s in front of those cameras, she’ll allow her confidence and sense of humor and motivation to come together and be spontaneous. If it’s everything we expect from her, people will want to see it.”

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He also says that any backlash she might receive could work in her favor. “With modeling you don’t have to be liked. People need to have an opinion — you never want to be average,” he says. “You want people to say ‘I hate that, I love that.’ Both are newsworthy. Both create a cult following, and having models who have cult following is fantastic.”

And of course, it doesn’t hurt for these designers that Jenner has that cult following built-in with her Kardashian brand. “It makes total sense. Why would you not have someone who could be a model, be a model if they have a built in audience?” he says, though adding it could fuel her to work even harder to prove herself. “If people think you’re blessed just because you’re a Kardashian, you might think, ‘I want to prove this.’ That drive, that ambition is inspiring, and people will see it.”

Barker would know — he’s had many seasons on America’s Next Top Model and The Face to see up-and-coming models make it or break it. And he promises lots more of that on The Face‘s second season, which premieres tonight on Oxygen, with new mentors Anne V and Lydia Hearst in addition to existing mentor Naomi Campbell.

“This season I’m not just the host, I’m also a confidant,” he says. “Now I get to go in and ask the questions the audience is thinking, from the drama behind the camera to the mentors’ advice in front of it. Why are they thinking that, what’s going on? It adds a whole new dimension.” Tune in tonight at 10 to see it go down, and tell us: Do you think Jenner has what it takes? Is Barker spot-on in his assessment? What should she do next?

–Alex Apatoff

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Showing 34 comments

Digit on

I don’t find her look mesmerizing or a stand out in the least. If her name wasn’t what it is and she didn’t have so much hype as she does due to the tv shows….quite frankly she wouldn’t be a big deal in the fashion world.

Katrina on

can she be a model? yes of course. A supermodel? umm I doubt it

Analina on

Giselle didn’t start modeling and automatically become a super model! She started dating leonardo dicaprio. She also had a nose job. She also accepted a lot of work (campaigns) but Giselle was not an overnight supermodel. This is exciting to see her potential and time will tell on her career etc

Pickford on

Only because of her family does she get such special treatment from designers, otherwise she would just be another nameless model. She is not exceptionally pretty or memorable, but she does have the model form. Personally I think she looks man-ish. Maybe thats why she had to go without a shirt on the runway, just saying.

jwcgd23 on

Reblogged this on Lita's Corner.

me on

kendall built her dream since she was a liitle girl. she got the look! beautiful face,tall,skinny, good personality and never talk too much to any media. she love fashion in her own way. she is the prettiest in good manner. now the fashion business in love with her. everything she wear is always stunning! her portfolio is more than enough to be a new supermodel now! congrats pretty kendall.

Diane on

She not in any way a Kardashian. She is Bruce Jenner’s daughter with that trashy ex of his who is also not a Kardashian.

JP on

I think she looks like a super model….,good luck to her!!

janie on

I think she’s very attractive, but girls like her are a dime a dozen… She’s where she’s at because of who she is. I like her and she seems to want to stay away from the drama of her family. I wish her well.

Dee on

She’s tall with small chest, and her name has assured her easy opportunity to enter the modeling world. Too bad she doesn’t prefer education since she can afford it. But why improve the world when you can prance around it in a mini skirt instead?

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