Kylie Jenner is a member of the infamous Kardashian-Jenner clan that has been dominating celebrity gossip pages for the last decade. She has been starring in the family’s reality TV show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, since she was just nine years old and, at just twenty-one years old, she has recently been named the world’s youngest ever self-made billionaire.
But can you really be labelled self-made when you come from a family wherein each member is worth tens of millions of dollars? Kylie had previously defended the label, but, recently, she has admitted that, actually, it might not be entirely accurate.
We think that we might be able to argue with her logic, though. Wait until you hear what she said.
The world watched Kylie Jenner grow up on reality TV.
The most-watched episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK) has had up to 4.8 million views and the show often averages over 3 million viewers per season.
The family are known by some as the epitome of being “famous for being famous” and the show follows the girls and their families as they live their lux lives.
It was in this setting that the world has watched Kylie and Kendall Jenner grow up, from pre-teens to social media moguls.
Are you a self-made billionaire if you start with millions?
When Rob Kardashian Sr. passed away in 2003, he was worth $30 million. Caitlyn Jenner is worth $100 million and Kris Jenner is worth $60 million.
Even Rob Kardashian Jr. is worth an estimated $10 million, which is almost solely from the success of the TV show.
Bear this in mind when you hear what Kylie had to say about being “self-made”…
Keeping Up With the Kardashians is so popular because people love to see their lavish lives.
Which means that they make money (from the show) because they have money.
And, really, it’s the same with Kylie. Yes, she’s successful because of her own business ventures, but she was able to create a business because of her background, her following, and her money.
Can you really be a self-made billionaire if you come from such privilege? Kylie has previously answered a firm “yes” to that question, but she seems to have changed her mind…
The Kardashian-Jenners have changed the world of advertising.
Gone are the days of Mad Men, in which suit-wearing men in boardrooms work out how to reach the target audience.
The Kardashians have taken the idea of a “personal brand” to a new level as they use their social media and reality TV show to launch and promote their own business ventures.
Kendall Jenner is the world’s highest-paid model.
In order to become the highest-paid model in the world, Kendall has definitely made the most of her platform on social media. Last year, she made $26.5 million from just fifty-three Instagram posts.
That’s pretty much one sponsored post a week to make more money than most people will make in a lifetime. Would this count as self-made? Would she have been offered her sponsorships if she didn’t have this platform? What does that mean for Kylie’s status?
Kim Kardashian is worth more than Kanye.
Kanye West has sold over one-hundred and thirty-five million records worldwide, he has won twenty-one Grammy awards and has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is a music producer, rapper, and has collaborated with clothing labels. As a result, he is worth $160 million. But Kim is worth more.
She has been involved in a lot of sponsorship deals and collaborations, and she has launched her own cosmetics brand. But is that enough to earn her a net worth of $350 million?
The impact of the show is undeniable.
As the impact of the internet increasingly changes the world, KUWTK has been changing. Kim herself told the New York Times that the purpose of the show was once to watch the girls as they tried to rise to fame. Now, she said, “it’s taken the complete opposite effect.”
No longer a show about the struggle of a family to reach the heady levels of fame, KUWTK has become a showcase of a group of people who get what they want, when they want it.
We watch the girls as they go about their lives with their luxury goods in hand and we want them, too. We’ve seen that they’ve risen to the top and managed to attain a life that once seemed beyond attainment and we want to do the same, and we’ll buy whatever they’re selling if it means being just like them.
Would they be able to sell so much if it wasn’t for their platform?
Should we applaud what they have achieved?
The Kardashians are a group of women who have taken the power away from the huge corporations.
They have formed a new business model that simply doesn’t need a marketing team or physical stores. Instead, they use their social media accounts and their TV show to sell. This saves them huge start-up costs, as well as providing them with a ready-made target-audience.
They’ve caused a huge disruption to standard business protocol.
Situations are manipulated in order to boost sales.
Reality TV is rarely the face of real life. If nothing else, it’s edited in a way that makes everything seem more exciting. Otherwise, why would people bother watching? It’s got to somehow seem different to regular life, whether that’s because it’s more exciting, more glamorous, or because its simply depicting a different reality to our own.
But in the case of reality TV shows like KUWTK, the lines between reality and fiction are blurred. We don’t know what’s fact and what’s fiction these days.
Product sales rocketed after allegations came out about Kylie’s best friend.
Kylie’s best friend, Jordyn Woods, allegedly slept with Kylie’s older sister, Khloe’s, partner, Tristan Thompson. The news was announced just before season 16 of KUWTK was about to start.
The Jordy Lip Kit in Kylie’s cosmetic line was slashed to half price after the scandal, and it sold out almost immediately. Kylie has since said that the price change only happened because the company switched from white to black packaging, but we have to admit, that’s a pretty big coincidence…
Without her high-profile status, would this have happened? Would Kylie have sold so many of her products? We don’t think so…
Kylie Jenner may even have ended Snapchat.
We cannot underestimate the power that Kylie Jenner wields over young people. Last year, she sent out a simple tweet, saying that she doesn’t really open Snapchat any more. That day, Snapchat’s stock sank by around 6%. That one tweet is estimated to have cost Snapchat $1.3 billion of their market value.
Kylie was twenty years old at the time. She wasn’t legally allowed to drink in the States, but she already has more influence than most CEOs can dream of.
Kylie’s greatest achievement is creating a billion dollar company.
There’s no denying it, Kylie Jenner has done an incredible job with Kylie Cosmetics. She has created a company that’s valued at at least $900 million. She’s made around $100 million in profit.
She is also just twenty-one years old. We suddenly feel horribly unsuccessful…
How has she developed such a successful company?
Due to the wonders of outsourcing, alongside social media, which makes a marketing team unnecessary, she only has seven full-time and five part-time employees.
This means that her overheads are way cheaper than most people’s and she’s able to reach a far bigger audience than most marketing teams could ever reach.
Forbes has declared Kylie Jenner “the youngest self-made billionaire ever.”
There have been hints of it for a while, but at the beginning of March, Forbes announced that Kylie Jenner is officially the youngest self-made billionaire ever.
She has recently partnered with a chain of physical stores, Ulta, who will now be selling her products. This means that she is able to reach even more people than before. It’s an incredibly impressive feat for anyone, let alone someone so young.
But is she really “self-made”?
Dictionaries disagree with Forbes, though.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “self-made” as ‘”Made by oneself.”
Merriam-Webster defines the phrase as “Having achieved success or prominence by one’s own efforts.”
While Dictionary.com defines it as “Having succeeded in life unaided.”
They all point to doing it without a leg-up. Surely this should discount Kylie Jenner?
Forbes has its own definition of “self-made,” though, and they stand by it.
Forbes defines “self-made” as “someone who built a company or established a fortune on [thier] own, rather than inheriting some or all of it.”
They go onto clarify that someone like Oprah is more self-made than Kylie, but that Kylie still created her own company, rather than inheriting it.
She also didn’t inherit the money to start the company, although she did benefit from her family’s wealth.
There are more young billionaires than you might like to think.
There are 2,153 billionaires in the world (so if you’re ever wondering why you don’t have enough money, take a look at who you are paying every time you purchase anything). Most of them are old, but young Kylie has some peers.
Kylie Jenner isn’t the only billionaire under the age of forty; in fact, there are seventy-one of them! Forty-one of those are considered by Forbes to be self-made, three-quarters of which made their money in tech.
But there’s no one quite like Kylie Jenner.
Even in this crazy world of billionaires, Kylie Jenner is unique. Of the forty-one self-made billionaires under forty, Kylie is the only female. You go, girl!
She might have had a leg-up, but we should always celebrate a woman breaking through like this. She’s showing young girls that they, too, can achieve in a man’s world.
She has replaced the Collison brothers as the youngest self-made billionaire.
Patrick and John Collison, from County Tipperary in Ireland, are aged thirty and twenty-eight. They co-founded a company called Stripe, which provides safer software and infrastructure for online payments.
They are currently worth $2.1 billion each, but they have a few years on Kylie.
If she’s achieved this at the age of twenty-one, who knows what she might have achieved by the age of thirty?
She is actually the youngest billionaire in the world.
Katharina and Alexandra Andresen are Norwegian heiresses who inherited stakes in their father’s company, Ferd AS. They are twenty-three and tenty-two years old, and they had been the world’s youngest billionaires since 2016.
Do you think there’s a difference between them and Kylie? Kylie thinks there is. Keep reading to find out why.
Kylie Jenner might be the youngest, but she is by no means the richest billionaire.
Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook when he was just twenty years old. It was his creation that opened the world up to social media and pretty much made the world what it is today.
Three years later, at the age of twenty-three, Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest ever billionaire. He is now worth $62.3 billion.
It’s easy to forget that he is still young as he really has achieved so much. Zuckerberg’s only thirty-four years old.
Is it right to compare Kylie’s achievements to that of Mark Zuckerberg?
What’s the difference between Kylie Jenner and Mark Zuckerberg?
Kylie Jenner achieved her first billion dollars when she was two years younger than Zuckerberg. She used her social media influence, which she gained from starring on a TV show from the age of nine. Zuckerberg used the word of mouth from his Ivy League college friends.
They might both have been in positions of privilege, but they are not in the same league. Zuckerberg achieved his success because he created something incredibly unique that the world was ready for. Kylie Jenner achieved her success because she already had a huge fan base, not because her product is unique. It has its own unique aspects, sure, but it is still a cosmetics company.
But that doesn’t mean that her feat isn’t insanely impressive.
Kylie might not have created a unique product, but she has developed and utilized a new way of selling her product. One of the main reasons that it’s been so successful is that it has such minimal overhead costs.
Kylie uses her social media for business purposes while making it all seem personal. It’s that that has made her different from her peers and it’s helped her to lead the way in terms of social media influencers.
In an interview in March, Kylie defended her title of being “self-made.”
When speaking with Interview, Kylie said: “There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth.”
She also said, “I did not get money from my parents past the age of fifteen. I used 100% of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that.”
Is that enough for Kylie to be counted as self-made?
Although Kylie acknowledged in the same interview that she had “a huge platform and lots of fans,” she initially maintained that she was self-made because she didn’t directly inherit money.
None of the other Kardashians are billionaires.
Okay, so they are all millionaires, but it’s true that none of the other Kardashian sisters have made anywhere near as much money as Kylie. The others are all launching their own brands now, including cosmetic lines such as Kim’s KKW Beauty, but they’re not billionaires just yet!
Kylie is the sixth most followed person on Instagram, with one-hundred and thirty million followers! That’s three million behind her older sister, Kim, the lady who initially brought fame to the family.
Kylie even has more followers than her sister, Kendall, who is the world’s highest-paid model. So she must be doing something right.
Let’s talk about Kylie’s pregnancy.
In 2017, rumors spread that Kylie might be pregnant. It was the talk of the town for months. Was she the surrogate for Kim? Was she pregnant with Travis Scott’s baby? If she was expecting, why was she hiding it from us?
When Kylie gave birth in February 2018, we were shook to the core. She claimed that she didn’t share her pregnancy on social media because it would have been a stressful experience and she wanted it to be a happy, natural one instead.
The picture that she used to reveal that she had given birth quickly became the most liked picture on Instagram (before it was dethroned by an egg…). So whether hiding the pregnancy was a clever publicity, money-making stunt or not, it was a good move!
Now Kylie has admitted that maybe she isn’t self-made after all.
When speaking to the New York Times, Kylie said, “I can’t say I’ve done it by myself…If they’re just talking finances, technically, yes, I don’t have any inherited money. But I have had a lot of help and a huge platform.”
So it seems like Kylie recognizes that it hasn’t been a solo effort to get to where she is today. In fact, she wouldn’t have got there without her platform.
But is that fair?
All the Kardashian sisters had a similar opportunity. They have all spent the last seventeen years starring on their own reality TV show, and they all have incredibly active social media accounts. But it is only Kylie who has created a billion dollar company.
Isn’t that the perfect example that she has made it on her own?
The question is: Would Kylie have become a billionaire if her family wasn’t rich and famous?
Everyone is a product of their environment, but Kylie’s meant that she had millions of people watching her every move before she even had a product to sell. Her stock sold out immediately when it went online, and that was because she was already famous.
Kylie told Forbes: “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
That isn’t what most self-made people have. That is having a leg up. And it’s not just fame-based. She also came from a wealthy background that was able to help her in building, promoting, and scaling her company.
But there are no other women in the world who have achieved what she has, and no one ever has done it at such a young age. So maybe we should recognize her achievements, while acknowledging that she had help that others don’t receive, without trying to tear her down. It is by supporting each other that we will all achieve more.
What do you think?