Former Miss Indian N.M. says she was profiled at KKW store; company denies it


Nicole Johnny, like thousands of other people, was excited for the Kim Kardashian West Beauty pop-up shop. It happened to open the same weekend she was in Los Angeles.

Nicole Johnny, a former Miss Indian New Mexico, says she was mistaken for Mexican at a KKW store and told by a security guard she could be deported.

This excitement turned to disappointment when she experienced racial profiling by a security guard at the store.

Johnny is a student at Pepperdine University where she is studying finance. Next month she will be getting her master’s in business administration. She is part of an online program with one in-person class every other semester that is scheduled during the weekends. This is why Johnny was in Los Angeles. “I was there for our strategic management class,” she said.

This was also the first time KKW Beauty would have a pop-up location where customers could go to a physical location to see and try her makeup products in person. This is a big deal for a beauty line that was sold exclusively online. “For a while I had been eying the Kim Kardashian West makeup line,” Johnny said. “Because it’s online you can’t sample it. I’m the type of consumer where I want to look at it. I want to feel it. So, I always like to go to Sephora to look at products before I buy it.”

The former Miss Indian New Mexico eagerly waited in line with her mother and brother for over an hour before making it to the front. Johnny and her family were among the last five people waiting to get into the shop before it closed at 10 p.m. “The two girls behind us were locals,” she said. “One of them had actually won the contest to meet Kim Kardashian. So, she was telling us and we were, like, ‘Oh my God, you met Kim Kardashian?’”

They were patiently waiting in line and talking about what Kim Kardashian was like when Johnny thought the employees at KKW Beauty had given her the signal to enter the store. This was when it happened. “I took a few steps forward and out of nowhere this white security guard was, like, ‘You need to wait and stay in line. Or I can make a call and get you deported,’” she said.

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About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah