Extraordinary stays curious

K arlie Kloss is a model out to make an impact. As the founder of Kode With Klossy, a nonprofit that empowers girls to learn to code, she is working to change the role of girls and women in tech. Karlie shares how rejection fuels her, and how she’s had to change the way she sees herself to take on this new challenge.

When I first started taking classes, coding seemed so abstract. But that’s what was so exciting about it. I found it empowering to learn how things are built and to be able to build something myself. I’m by no means an expert, but I think I surprised myself when I realized, that like anyone else, I can start at square one, get better, and then use code to accomplish something meaningful in the world.

REJECTION DROVE me in THOSE EARLY YEARS, and it STILL DOES TODAY. DESPITE the SUCCESS I’VE HAD, THERE are STILL TIMES when I HAVE to BUILD up MY RESILIENCE and PUSH FORWARD.

Because of my dad, I was inspired to have a skill that could help others. At first, I didn’t see how I could do this while being model; coding and modeling just didn’t seem to go hand in hand. Then I had an “aha” moment where I realized that I didn’t have to be a teacher or a doctor to make a positive impact; I could combine my passion for coding with my public platform to reach people and affect their lives in a positive way.

After learning about the shortage of women in STEM fields, I started Kode With Klossy which offers free coding summer camps that teach girls how to code. The girls who attend our camps are ages 13 to 18 and come from all different backgrounds. It’s been amazing to get to know the girls and watch them grow into themselves. They start out not knowing much about coding or how to code and then gain skills and a sense of confidence over the course of the camp. And there’s this ripple effect: many of these girls want to use their skills to help solve problems in their communities. They are future leaders, and I feel honored to be a small part of their journey.

In the coming years, we’re working to scale Kode with Klossy across the country and hopefully around the world. My goal is to instill in girls an insatiable passion and curiosity around STEM fields so more of them will enter the technology field and lead the way for generations to come.