- Kendall Jenner announced Tuesday that she’s releasing a tequila brand.
- The model is being accused of cultural appropriation by some social-media users.
- Some who are confused by the criticism cited other non-Mexican celebrities who released tequila.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Kendall Jenner announced she’s launching a tequila brand on Tuesday, but not everyone is happy about the news.
In an Instagram post, the model confirmed she has been working on her tequila brand, named 818 (presumably after the area code for Calabasas, California, where she grew up), for three and a half years, tasting and developing the product with an unspecified team.
“After dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING … 3.5 years later I think we’ve done it! [sic],” Jenner wrote. “This is all we’ve been drinking for the last year and I can’t wait for everyone else to get their hands on this to enjoy it as much as we do!”
Jenner’s brand has already won several awards, including best reposado, at the World Tequila Awards, according to WWD.
The supermodel joins a growing list of celebrities who have their own tequila brands, including George Clooney, Nick Jonas, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Some are accusing Kendall Jenner of cultural appropriation
Commenters on Jenner’s Instagram announcement and others on Twitter say that the model launching a tequila brand is an example of cultural appropriation.
“Something about Kendall Jenner making tequila rubs me the wrong way,” one Twitter user wrote. “Like the idea of white celebrities taking from local Mexican artisans and profiting off our traditions and agricultural business yet only visit Cabos and Puerto Vallarta for vacation spots…”
—LaMesaQueMasApluada (@estyledesma) February 17, 2021
“The Mexican workers better not be getting under payed [sic] kenny,” reads one Instagram comment.
Another person criticized Jenner in the comments for not publicly expressing gratitude toward those who worked on making the drink. “Damn at least thank the Mexican farmers, distillers whose craft and heritage you’re appropriating,” they wrote.
Others noted that workers are often paid poorly and exploited.
—Cindy Alvarez (@_cindyy_a) February 17, 2021
Not everyone sees the problem with Jenner, specifically, launching a tequila brand
Some social-media users are confused by the backlash to Jenner’s announcement, citing several other non-Mexican celebrities who have come out with tequila brands in the recent past.
—chelsea♎︎ (@chlsflz) February 17, 2021
Forbes also noted in an article about the backlash to Jenner’s tequila that many other non-Mexican Americans currently have or previously had tequila brands of their own, and that multinational companies like LVMH hold stakes in major tequila brands.
Tequila is a staple of Mexican culture
Tequila is inextricably tied to Mexico and to Mexican culture, and more specifically to the town of the same name in the state in Jalisco that’s considered the drink’s birthplace. Tequila is made from the blue Weber agave plant, according to Thrillist, and this specific variety of agave is the only one that can be used to make proper tequila.
According to CNBC, tequila is only produced in the state of Jalisco and in a few other municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
Representatives for Jenner didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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