Artwork by Abbie Ryan
Kylie Jenner just made the cover of a magazine that isn’t People or Starz. The 21-year-old, whose net worth is now $900 million, was pictured on the cover of Forbes Magazine naming her one of the “60 richest, self-made women.”
This probably isn’t the first headline concerning one of the Kardashians that you have read this week. They are everywhere. They dominate almost all entertainment platforms including social media, television, magazines. But most recently, Kylie Jenner appeared on the cover of Forbes Magazine, predicted to become the world’s youngest female billionaire. In just three years, Kylie has built a $900 million dollar fortune from her cosmetic line, which would normally impress me, but would Kylie have made even half of that without her pre-existing fame? Probably not.
Forbes included Kylie in their ranking of the “60 richest, self-made women,” but many question whether or not Kylie can be called “self-made.” Unlike Diane Hendricks, for example, who is ranked first on this list and owns the company ABC supply, worth $4.9 billion, Kylie did not start from humble roots. She did not have to take out loans for office space or for funding her product. She did not have any problem with branding because her brand is her already famous name. At the age of just 18, her role in the most popular reality TV show in America earned her both the fame, fortune and connections that led to her success in the business world.
Clearly, this speaks to the fact that privilege in America can make all the difference in one’s success. “Kylie makes $1 million just for posting one advertisement on Instagram, so, there is a level of unfairness to her success. Obviously, she has nothing to do with her social media following. She was born into the fame she has now. To me, this shows how in America success breeds more success,” said Lindsey Fields (12).
While I do agree that privilege played in major role in not just the success of Kylie, but in the success of her entire family, I do not think her entrepreneurship is a bad thing. The Kardashians became the icons they are today essentially by being socialites. Arguably, they are the most famous people in the world, and I admire Kylie for making something of herself through her reputation in the business world, rather than through her reputation as a media personality.
Still, she could be doing something more impactful with her money like J.K. Rowling, for example. In 2012, Rowling dropped off the Forbes top 100 list by donating $160 million to charity. While Kylie has donated to Smile Train, an organization that raises money for children with cleft-palettes, the amount of money that she donates does not compare to that which she spends on her lavish lifestyle.
Louise Laney (9) said, “I love “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Obviously, the show is intended to be entertaining, so it focuses on the scandals surrounding the family. I think it is good that Kylie was able to make something for herself apart from her family’s reputation because it gives the people who see them as such icons something positive to focus on instead of the usual gossip-ridden talk surrounding the family’s latest drama.”