Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner, who went public with their engagement yesterday, are each famous in their own right: She’s a supermodel; he’s a real estate scion and tech mogul and, perhaps more to the point, the younger brother of Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to President Trump. But to a certain audience of celebrity watchers, the person worth paying attention to in the Kloss-Kushner engagement is actually a third party: Taylor Swift.
A few years ago, around the time Taylor Swift invented the concept of friendship to coincide with the release of her album 1989, Swift and Kloss were seemingly inseparable, especially on social media. Cut to 2018, and a full day after Kloss shared the news, Swift has been silent. On Instagram, which she used to use to congratulate friends on all manner of milestones, she has gone conspicuously without a “Congrats, Karlie” post. Not even so much as a Story. Hmm.
This certainly invites a little Instagram tea leaves–reading. Are Swift and Kloss still close? There’s been speculation over the past year or so that they’re not. For most of us, friendships evolve, that’s life, but celebrities aren’t afforded the privilege of getting to experience the normal ebbing and flowing of relationships over time. Instead, these sorts of things tend to take on mythic stakes—if Kloss and Swift are no longer friends, does that mean that maybe they were never friends at all? Maybe it really was all public-relations smoke and mirrors, carefully designed to boost each of their careers … or so some of the online chatter will extrapolate. (Of course, there’s also a school of thought that insists that all the while “Kaylor” have been in a romantic relationship together and that now believes the engagement is a smokescreen for an even bigger bombshell: Kaylor are having a baby.)
Swift has been playing her social media cards closer to her vest lately (if not always). If you look at her Instagram posts from this summer, they’re mostly about her current stadium tour. She hasn’t posted a series of obnoxious, but extremely fun to gawk at, 4th of July party photos in years. Maybe she got spooked after the great Receipts Reveal of 2016. She shares what she wants to and says nothing when she wants to—even when fans have explicitly called on her to use her fame to make stronger political statements. But Swift has a reputation—and she knows it, hence the name of her most recent album and tour—for shrewd social media and image management. She may not have done an official Instagram post to show off the cake she baked for Selena Gomez’s recent birthday; instead she opted for a more low-key Story, now expired—but we all heard about it anyway. So no matter how loud Swift sings on tour, the blank space around Karlie Kloss may be louder.