THE VIEW IS stunning up here, from the 34th floor of this downtown Manhattan office building. Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, the day is bright and clear. But the 24 teenage girls occupying the space are over it. Their noses are buried in MacBooks, while a soundtrack of Disney hits plays in the background. There’s work to be done, after all: They’re students at a nonprofit coding camp called Kode With Klossy, and today’s assignment is to design and code an online photo gallery.
They’re so focused on the task, in fact, that they don’t notice when the camp’s creator and very famous namesake walks in.
“Hey, guys,” says supermodel, Project Runway host, and coding enthusiast Karlie Kloss, as she gives the students a friendly wave. The girls seem a bit too stunned to react. Eyes widen as they glance around at each other, quietly nodding with shared enthusiasm. But before they can do much of anything else, the 27-year-old Kloss is checking out their work, bringing her six-foot-two-inch frame to a squat so she can be eye level with her students and their screens. For the next 90 minutes, she asks questions about their code and their plans for the future— through conversation occasionally veers off to Harry Potter and chocolate chip cookies.
If it’s all a little surreal inside this room, it can look even more so from the outside. Kode With Klossy operates in 16 cities and this year alone gave almost 1,000 young women the (free) opportunity to learn a critical skill. It has attracte