I think this is the strongest I’ve ever been,” says Jordyn Woods, 26, in Los Angeles on the set of her joint ESSENCE GU cover shoot with her little sister Jodie Woods, 17. “I feel more sure of myself than I have ever been. When I had that revelation, my faith strengthened, my connection with my family strengthened, and I felt like God was speaking. But to walk in God’s glory, and to be in God’s glory—you will be tested, you will be humiliated,” she adds.
That latter statement may be a reference to when she found herself mired in a tumultuous storyline with the Kardashian family in 2019. At the end of it all, she publicly distanced herself from the clan and, ultimately, retreated from the harsh lights of the media. However, Jordyn—now a business owner who recently launched her own clothing line—is feeling confident and whole. She is, in other words, above it. “I’ve never grown through anything comfortable, so sometimes you have to get uncomfortable,” she says. “You go through things, and they bring you to the path that you are supposed to be on.”
Her sister Jodie, sitting next to her, nods as she speaks. “God’s plan is bigger than anything,” she agrees.
In 2017, their father, John Woods, passed away, leaving their mom to raise four kids on her own in L.A. It was a devastating loss for the family, creating a gap that Jordyn’s boyfriend—and Minnesota Timberwolves center—Karl-Anthony Towns would eventually help fill. “He always shows up for all of us, not just Jordyn,” Jodie says, proud of the bond her sister and Towns have forged. The pair had been close friends for years. Then Towns lost his mother during the pandemic, drawing his family and Jordyn’s closer. “We flew out to Minnesota after his mom passed, and we have been dating ever since,”Jordyn explains. “He knows Dad is not here anymore, so he is just looking out for us in all aspects. I feel like he has a heart of gold, and that is really difficult to find.”
Even in the studio and in full glam, Jordyn and Jodie have gratitude and humility that are alluring. To my right, their mom, Elizabeth, who is also their manager, is recording our conversation on her phone. Their family dynamic reminds me of a passage about unconditional love in the late bell hooks’s All About Love. “Loving parents work hard to discipline without punishment,” hooks wrote. “This doesn’t mean that they never punish…they focus on teaching children how to be self-disciplining and how to take responsibility for their actions.”
That’s exactly what Jordyn did in the aftermath of the trouble with the Kardashians in 2019. The situation might have left some people hysterical, possibly to the point of ruin—but Jordyn not only persevered, she also prospered. And with the support of her family, she continues to flourish, while using her opportunities to familiarize her audience with her little sister Jodie. And what’s better than one Woods sister? Two.
“Maneuvering in the industry with my little sister, it’s kind of scary, just because I know what the industry entails,” Jordyn says. “You have to have very thick skin—but it’s also a blessing because we’re able to do it together. I know I have my right hand there with me.” While Jordyn didn’t have a big sister to lead her through the highs and lows of Hollywood, she’s determined that Jodie, the baby of the family, should be protected at all times. She admits that watching her younger sister enter the spotlight is both rewarding and nerve-racking, given what she knows about the world in which they operate. “She was sick!” Jodie interjects when I ask Jordyn how she felt about her sister becoming a young influencer.
Jordyn, who grew up in Hollywood, had her first negative paparazzi encounter when she was 12 years old, and she recalls it as “the worst day of [my] life.” “I didn’t know how the Internet worked,” she says now. “Seeing people talk about me and say the craziest things about me was hard. From then on, I had to really pick myself up. That’s when I realized that my individuality is my greatest gift.” In retrospect, it was Jordyn’s determination to stay positive that helped her manage life’s crises. And Jodie, nearly 10 years younger than Jordyn, would reap the benefits of her sister’s hard-won lessons.
“People will hate just because they weren’t in the same position as you growing up,” says Jodie. “I just don’t listen to people on the Internet. Like, I know who I am in real life. My family’s got me. I’ve got real ones around me, so I don’t need y’all.” It’s a resilient attitude for a teenager who came of age with social media at her fingertips. But observing her older sister was like an Influencing 101 lesson for Jodie, allowing her to grow her personal brand over the last few years. “It happened so naturally,” she says. “I never was like, ‘I wanna be an influencer,’ or
‘I want to have a makeup company.’ That wasn’t really my main thing. Then it just happened, and I fell in love with doing it.”
Jodie celebrated a M.A.C. collaboration this past July.
“I feel like I am really coming into myself,” she says, “and I am way more wise. I felt like I was ready.” Yet Jodie and Jordyn are just scratching the surface of what’s to come. Jordyn, who’s busy scaling up her clothing line, Woods by Jordyn, hints at more exciting projects on the way.
From red carpets to Fashion Week, the sisters are a fresh power duo—and they are doing it with their mom by their side and a family-first approach. This close-knit vibe is how they’re protecting themselves from industry woes. We don’t get to choose our biological family, so it’s a gift when you are close with your siblings and a blessing when you can work together to build generational wealth. Investments, YouTube videos and more brand collaborations are in the pipeline for Jordyn and Jodie, but the biggest update from the Woods sisters is a potential music release. “I am trying not to share anything too prematurely,” Jordyn says with a conspiratorial air, “but hopefully there will be some music from one or both of us.” Stay tuned.
Photography: Tyrell Hampton
Photography Assistant: Khalilah Pianta
Styling: Danasia Sutton
Stylist Assistant: Kassidy Nagy
Stylist Interns: Rio Leon & Jeremy Lamberti
Jordyn’s Hair: Ashanti Lation using VIP Luxury Hair Care at OPUS Beauty
Jodie’s Hair: MiMi G.
Makeup: YasminIstanbouli using Fenty Beauty & Armani Beauty at the Wall Group
Nails: Rhayne Lodevico
Set Design: Jesse Hoffman
Set Design Assistant: Haley Castro
Production Manager: Gustavo Hernandez
Production Assistant: Danika Morrison
Shot at Dust Studios LA