Up Close and Personal with Kenya Kinski-Jones and Will Peltz
A short, turquoise-painted cinder block wall barely separates the Harvard House Motel from Hollywood Boulevard, and the structure’s noir-tinged aura persists even during daylight hours. Actor Will Peltz and his girlfriend of seven years, model Kenya Kinski-Jones, are on set at the seedy 1947 relic for C’s cover shoot, adding to a growing list of projects they’ve booked together, including campaigns shot by such luminaries as Mario Sorrenti and Peter Lindbergh. For the couple, there’s something romantic about the seamier side of the famed boulevard. “You know, we actually met right around here,” says 25-year-old Kinski-Jones. “We met in a church,” confirms Peltz, 32, who was shooting the indie film Sugar with Kinski-Jones’ mother, actor Nastassja Kinski.
By all accounts, the couple felt an instant connection. Kinski-Jones, a Los Angeles native whose father is music producer Quincy Jones, arrived straight from high school—she was 17 at the time—to visit her mother on set. Peltz, the son of New York businessman and investor Nelson Peltz, spotted her immediately and, well, the story turns into a playful he-said-she-said.
“I told Kenya’s mom, jokingly, ‘I want to take your daughter out. I’m going to marry her,’ ” says Peltz. He eventually got mom’s blessing (for a date), but maintains that Kinski-Jones pursued him. “Oh please, that’s not true,” she interjects. “He’s the one who asked me out.” Peltz teases her about relentless texting, but the laughter in his voice indicates his girlfriend’s early relationship memories adhere more strictly to the truth.
A providential meeting also jump-started Kinski-Jones’ modeling career. She was introduced to photographer Bruce Weber by her mother, leading to a Vogue España story. Once the self-professed bookworm earned her bachelor’s degree in literature at Loyola Marymount University, she made her runway debut at Chanel’s 2016 Métiers d’Art show. Peltz, also a model, grew up in Bedford, N.Y., playing hockey, but came to acting after helping his sister, actor Nicola Peltz, run her lines. In addition to indie titles, he’s appeared in the thriller Unfriended—plus campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dior and Tod’s. Most recently, Peltz walked in Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Sartoria show in New York’s Rainbow Room. The duo’s cadre of industry friends includes Anwar Hadid (brother to Bella and Gigi, and Nicola’s boyfriend) and a cross-section of Southern California natives—Peltz’s Coachella “class picture” on Instagram features Kaia and Presley Gerber.
The pair will hopscotch between shoots around the world in the coming months, but Peltz and Kinski-Jones have their collective sights set on Tokyo this summer. “Kenya went for work last year and fell in love,” says Peltz, who has yet to visit Japan’s neon-lit capital. Wherever the summer leads them, Peltz hopes it will be as a couple. “When I’m traveling, I don’t know if it has to do with the jet lag and the time change, or the immersion in another culture, but I get super lonely,” he confesses. “So it’s always nice if Kenya goes with me. It makes the trip that much better—to share the experience.”
Photography by CARTER SMITH.
Styling by ALISON EDMOND.
Written by ELIZABETH VARNELL.