Meet the models who code!

Modelling and computer science are two worlds that don’t collide very often. Each burdened with its own stereotypes – young, geeky guy coders and beautiful but not very bright models – it can be difficult to imagine an overlap. But two world-famous models are here to break those stereotypes. Lyndsey Scott and Karlie Kloss each have a passion for coding, devoting time to this pursuit when they’re not on the runway and inspiring girls to get interested in technology. DiscovHER takes a look at these multi-talented (role) models.

Lyndsey Scott

Model by day and coder by night, Lyndsey Scott leads a double life. Since graduating in Theatre and Computer Science from Amherst College in 2006, Lyndsey has been working hard. She has modelled for some of the biggest names in fashion – Gucci, Prada, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein, to name just a few – but has also managed to release a range of iOS apps and is one of the most popular users on Stack Overflow, an online community of coders. She’s worked with Java, C++, Python and Objective-C.

On the route to achieving this double success, Lyndsey has been confronted with negative stereotypes on both sides. As a model, her education and interests were frequently swept under the carpet, and she often felt that the industry tried to reduce and simplify her. On the other hand, men in the technology industry often didn’t take her seriously – at least, before they saw her coding skills – due to her gender and status as a model.

Fortunately, Lyndsey has a “thick skin and isn’t bothered enough by it to be discouraged.” Here she is in action, teaching girls how to code in a tutorial:

Karlie Kloss

Karlie Kloss is currently one of the most successful and well known models around the world. At only 24 years old, she has modelled for luxury giants such as Valentino, Givenchy and Versace, having started her career during her teenage years. Recently, however, Karlie has been spending time reconnecting to her childhood interest in math and science – with coding classes!

Over the last few years, she has been learning to code with Ruby on Rails in her spare time, taking classes at New York’s Flatiron School. She is also convinced of the need to get more women into coding. “As technology changes the way our world operates, tech companies will have more influence on our lives — it’s important that women are part of that equation,” she said in an interview with technology website Tech Crunch.

And she takes that belief seriously. She recently launched Kode with Klossy, an initiative that organizes a summer camp for girls, where 80 selected participants spend two weeks learning the basics of Ruby on Rails. In an interactive and participative environment, the girls start with the fundamentals of coding and finish with building their own app, based on whatever interests them. Kode with Klossy also provides one woman a month with a scholarship to a year-long coding program at the Flatiron School.

Do these programs work? The attendees of this summer’s Kode with Klossy camp seem to think so:

How should we encourage more girls to take up computer science? Share your thoughts @4womeninscience.

For Women in Science

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