Kit Keenan Shares The Real Reason She’s Not Following Mom Cynthia Rowley Into Fashion

Influencer Kit Keenan and designer mom Cynthia Rowley celebrated Mother's Day by giving E! News a peek inside their lives and their thoughts on fashion, food and that nepo baby debate.

By Sarah Grossbart May 14, 2023 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Cynthia Rowley & Kit Keenan Talk Work, Fashion & Nepo Babies

Kit Keenan has entered the nepo baby chat. 

While the influencer has yet to follow mom Cynthia Rowley's well-heeled footsteps into the world of fashion, she's not denying that curiosity about the designer's eponymous brand has placed her a cut above her counterparts. 

"I have friends whose moms aren't fashion designers who do exactly what I do, but I think growing up in the way that I have has allowed me to thrive on social media," the Bachelor alum exclusively told E! News in a joint interview with her well-known mama. "I think people were interested in the fact that my mom is a fashion designer, that I grew up in New York City."

With Cynthia having launched her first capsule collection of sporty-meets-pretty wares in 1988, 11 years before her daughter's birth, Kit has come to embrace that nepo baby label and wear it like the birthday crown she once donned for an entire year because, jokes Mom, "you were like, 'People are so nice when they think it's your birthday.'"

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Acknowledged Kit, "Even if it's not directly that I'm a fashion designer or that I work at my mom's company, I'm still a nepo baby because I don't know if I would be where I am as an influencer without her." 

Her mother, of course, has no doubts. 

"I think you would," Cynthia, 64, interjected. "That's brave of you to say, though." 

Because even though the the School of the Art Institute of Chicago grad was careful not to push Kit, 23, or her younger sister, 18-year-old high schooler Gigi Powers, into her field of choice, she always knew her girls were going to be successful at something. 


"I think you've always been very self-possessed, self-motivated and you always followed your own path," she told Kit. "You've maneuvered this creative world in your own way."

For the past few years that's meant branding herself as Gen Z's answer to Martha Stewart, leaning hard into the food and beverage space, entertaining her nearly 400,000 Instagram followers with content of her girl-about-town lifestyle and sometimes combining the two, teaming with Mom to release a line of fashion-forward aprons and oven mitts

And Cynthia couldn't be more thrilled that her eldest has found her perfect recipe. 

She's spent her life impressing upon her daughters the importance of "being able to be who you are, no matter what the environment is," she said. "They need to express themselves." 

Sitting down with E!, the mother-daughter duo did just that, crafting their thoughts on everything from the importance of following your passion to why everyone's not, uh, cut out for a career in fashion. 

E! News: Growing up, did you realize how interesting your mom's career was?
Kit Keenan: I've always thought my mom's job is really cool because she's so passionate about her work. And, also, with fashion, there are times in the year that your mom is the center of attention and all of their work becomes this amazing show that people watch and there's celebrities and cool people there. It's a very cool experience as a child to see your parent's work be so appreciated.

MacKenzie Williams

E!: Cynthia, what was it like getting to share your passion with your daughters?
Cynthia Rowley: I do it all for the girls. They really are the center of my world. I do love my job. But in the end, doing something that you worked really, really hard at, it doesn't matter what other people say. If my girls are proud of me, and vice versa, that's all that matters.
KK: I do think watching your parents be really passionate about something in life, whether it's work or an outside of work hobby is so important. I know now as an adult that I need to find something in life that makes me as excited as fashion makes my mom.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

E!: Did you ever think that could be fashion? 
KK: I never felt like it was my calling in the way that my mom describes it. She started making clothes when she was 7 years old and was obsessed. I appreciate fashion so much and I love styling myself and I love watching what my mom creates. But at the same time, I didn't feel like this is my entire reason or my purpose is to create clothes.

E!: Cynthia, did you have any reservations about your girls going into fashion knowing how hard it can be?
CR: I really was so naïve when I started doing this and I think that's why I maybe survived was, like hustle and heart but also complete naivety. And now that I know what I know, I can't not share that with my daughters. It is a hard business. So am I going to say like, "Oh, no, it's all glamour and supermodels"? No. It's hard. And there's, like, a droplet of glamour each day.


E!: Cynthia, were you ever tempted to push them toward the family business? 
CR: I think it seems almost narcissistic to be like, "You guys are going to take over what I built." It's like no, you're going to build your own amazing world. I'm really lucky. But it's not something that I would want them to just step right into. It's really about encouraging them to be their best selves, no matter what it is.

I really was so naïve when I started doing this. And now that I know what I know, I can't not share that with my daughters. It is a hard business. So am I going to say like, "Oh, no, it's all glamour and supermodels"? No. It's hard. And there's, like, a droplet of glamour each day.
KK: Because of that mentality that she's never going to pressure us to work in fashion because she owns a fashion company, my sister and I have always had the privilege of being able to explore other interests. I have friends whose parents are doctors or lawyers and their entire life they've been told, this is what you're going to do. I feel lucky that my mom is like, "I love my work. But I want you guys to have the opportunity to figure out what you want to do on your own."

I feel like I'm so young and I've had such amazing opportunities working in social media that this is right now what my world looks like. But I appreciate fashion so much. I love seeing what my mom creates. I don't know if later in life I might pivot and work in fashion. It's just not my goal right now.


E!: For now, your vibe, as you put it on Instagram, is very young Martha Stewart stuck in Blair Waldorf's plot line. What inspired your love of cooking?
KK: At night our bonding time was always cooking together. And I think that instilled in me that food and cooking is a way to bring people together and have mother-daughter bonding time. So I've always felt like the kitchen was the heart of our home.
CR: I think it's a great way to encourage creativity, to just whip something up in the kitchen. Besides the bonding. The bonding is fun.
KK: The physical act of making clothing is quite similar to cooking. Because it's a creative process. You're working with your hands. Sometimes it's about throwing things together and seeing if they turn out to be beautiful and delicious. And for me, what my mom has always described as her passion for clothes has always been my draw towards cooking. In a way, it's my meditation.

E!: Besides cooking, what else do you enjoy doing together?
CR: We're very sporty. We all surf. We're out in the water as much as possible. We like long walks.
KK: We do a lot of hot girl walks and workouts. My mom is in the best shape ever and loves her classes. We do SLT every weekend. 
CR: It's really hard. But it's fun to all go together. 
KK: I love our little Pilates days. 


E!: Kit, you've said that living at home makes dating interesting. Do you worry about your mom intimidating potential suitors?
KK: My mom is super successful, an amazing businesswoman and an icon, but whenever I've introduced her to somebody I'm dating, I don't think they're intimidated. Sometimes it's annoying, because she's so open to people. And she's like, "Anyone who makes you happy, I want them around." Sometimes looking back on people, I'm like, "How did you not tell me he had a million red flags?" And she's like, "Well, you were happy at the time. It seemed fun." Like, no. 

E!: Cynthia, what's the number one lesson you hope to pass on to your girls?
CR: It's really hard, because I would say I want them to be so independent, but then I don't want them to forget to spend time with me. And I want them to travel the world and have an expansive view of life, but be careful.

All of the things that I think I want for them are things that would make it harder for me to spend time with them. But, that's life and life's short. For a lot of reasons, I feel like every day is so precious. And I would impart that mentality on them to wake up every day grateful and just charge at life and be appreciative and feel lucky.