Making up for losing the title of most popular picture on Instagram to an egg in January, Kylie Jenner has been named the youngest self-made billionaire of all time by Forbes magazine.
It’s good news for those who hope we can build a world that has something better to do than look at over-produced photos of 21-year-old Jenner and her family, the Kardashians.
Now, hopefully, Kylie buys a private island and moves the entire ghastly clan offshore.
She certainly has the cash to do it. Last year, her company, Kylie Cosmetics, reaped an estimated $508 million in sales, according to Forbes.
Jenner owns the entire shebang, which has tiny overheads and employs just 12 staff.
Forbes described Jenner as the world’s youngest billionaire and also the youngest ever self-made billionaire. But some critics questioned if someone who used fame from her family’s reality TV show to springboard to success can truly be described as “self-made”.
Haven't we gone over this?
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) March 5, 2019
The debate didn’t trouble Jenner who, for those who may be unfamiliar with her groundbreaking work, began her empire in 2015 with a lipstick kit. Its 15,000-strong first run sold out in seconds.
“Like, I just remember me and all my glam people, my friends, we were like, screaming,” Jenner said in a video in June for Vogue.
“I was like, ‘This is like gonna be something, like, I can actually do, yeah’.”
So, while it’s probably super handy for anyone to know how to apply bronzer, it’s bemusing Jenner has taken down Mark Zuckerberg – who was 23 when he hit the billion-dollar mark – for the impressive title.
She came up with pretty boxes and social media shout-outs for make-up. He created Facebook, one of the most influential phenomena of the internet era.
While she outsources the hard work – packaging and production – there’s no doubt Jenner’s work ethic is impressive. She’s forever tirelessly Instagramming shots of her new setting powders (often while on tropical ‘vacays’) and of herself pouting on hands and knees.
She’s also raising daughter Stormi with rapper Travis Scott. When Stormi turned one in February, one video of the birthday party featured Jenner cooing over the tiny girl, mute in a sequinned dress: “Stormi, your first Chanel!”
That footage represented everything wrong about the Kardashian and Jenner clans. Way too much money. Not nearly enough class.
I’ve never understood the whole Kardashian thing, but millions and millions of people do, off the back of the reality TV show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, that created the whole monster.
On camera, the Kardashians and Jenners seem more animé than human, like polished cartoon figures brought to life with fillers and filters.
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I love having a @versace sister twinning moment! Kourtney and I always seem to do this ! This was a few weeks back at Amfar honoring @mertalas & @macpiggott The 1st pic is @splashnews The second pic is 📷 Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock
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I get the argument that the mostly female family is self-made, guided to stardom by ‘momager’ extraordinaire Kris Jenner.
I get that they’re good at selling themselves, which makes them cunning and intuitive at business at a time when people value fame for fame’s sake over real achievements.
I get that they’re close and stick up for each other, despite hectic schedules or, more cynically, because family is the backbone of the brand.
What I don’t get is that in a world where women are making incredible medical discoveries, running countries, raising children on a single mother’s pension, finding food for their families in war zones, these glossy airheads are whom we admire.
Every humourless, but accidentally hilarious, post of the robotic Kar-Jenners scores more than 2.5 million likes in hours. An Instagram post of Kylie in a red dress on February 10, apropos of nothing, drew nearly nine million.
Their manufactured looks and try-hard outfits and vacant stares are emulated by scores of under-25-year-olds at suburban food courts. There are never fun photos of Kim chasing the kids, cooking dinner, being normal. Every shot is super produced.
Their vacuous conversations and romantic travails with cheating men and dodgy best friends are recounted daily on media sites. Their bejewelled children are used shamelessly to promote the Kardashian product, themselves.
Which is where the island plan comes into play.
Imagine if the Kardashians vanished from social media and girls grew up thinking it was more empowering (sorry, ‘hotter’) to study and be funny and strong and kind than to post photos of themselves in underwear.
Fans, don’t even try to pretend that’s a ‘celebration of womanhood’. It’s ridiculous posturing. Oh, you guys, I just happened to be in front of a mirror and thought I might show you my teeny, tiny waist and fake bum.
So congrats, Kylie. Now, like, call your real estate agent.