COLORADO SPRINGS: Stop the presses! Kanye West, rapper-turned-sneaker-mogul, who’s married to Kim Kardashian, is a billionaire for the first time, according to Forbes Magazine this week. West made political waves by announcing his support for President Donald Trump. Mrs. West, aka Kim Kardashian, of social media fame, has dipped her well-pedicured toe into presidential politics as well. Kardashian successfully petitioning President Trump to free Alice Marie Johnson from prison and shining a light on unfair incarcerations with her Justice Project.
The political expansion of the Kim/Kanye empire has temporarily re-shifted our focus from the tabloid, fashion, social media activities for which they have become well known. They have been for years, after all, America’s guilty pleasure. We have followed these two creative business entrepreneurs throughout their very public lives, close to the Kardashian spotlight and the birth of each of their four children with unique names — sons Saint and Psalm, and daughters Chicago and North West.
Keeping up with the Kardashians
As nearly everyone who’s not been in a cave knows, the oft-maligned Armenian Kardashian clan is an example of pop culture writ large. The girls, particularly Kim, have elevated butt size to Olympian status. And the Kardashian family, led by “Momager,” Kris Kardashian, wife of the late Robert Kardashian (OJ Simpson’s attorney) has used pop culture as their own private piggy bank.
Their reality television series that first aired on October 14, 2007, is now shooting season 19. The show the start of the family’s climb to notoriety. The series focuses mainly on sisters Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe and their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie. It also features their parents Kris and Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner, and brother Rob. The significant others of the Kardashian sisters have also appeared on the show, including Kourtney’s ex-boyfriend Scott Disick.
Kim’s husband Kanye West, Khloe’s ex-husband Lamar Odom and others.
The ultra-wealthy Kardashian Klan
Each sister, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendell, and Kylie, is an entrepreneur. Kylie Jenner is a billionaire in her own right (Kylie Jenner Net Worth and How She Makes Her Money). Baby sister, Kylie, beat her brother in law, Kanye to the financial finish line with“Kylie Cosmetics.” Begun in 2016 she has turned her own brand into gold. In addition, she is the youngest teenager to reach billionaire status.
Kim Kardashian has the best face recognition and a net worth of around $350 million. (Kim Kardashian Net Worth). Her wealth, aside from her husband, Rapper Kanye West, comes from a variety of pursuits – cosmetics, fragrances, shapewear, and mobile apps. Like her siblings and mom, Kris, she also receives a salary from their show Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian are also extremely wealthy, with net worths of around $60 million and $40 million each. Kourtney Kardashian, the eldest sibling in the family, has a net worth of $35 million. Her riches thanks to her show appearances and her lifestyle website.
Model Kendall Jenner’s success as a model for top brands has made her wealthy as well, with a net worth of $30 million.
The Kardashians can come off as selfish twits with too much money and fame.
Yet still, we remain fascinated by them, with all their reality TV fights and comings together, with their elaborate Calabasas homes, and their forays into the worlds of high fashion in New York, Milan and Paris.
Why do we care? Why can’t we look away? The answer might lie in their contemporary evolution from popular family shows that aired in the fifties, such as “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” and “Sanford and Son.” Perhaps the Kardashian family show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” serves as a sort of bridge template between simpler times and the techno age we are now in.
Much like members of those earlier shows, the sisters are feisty, argumentative, loving, and familial. And like the early shows, their shows provide a release from our normal lives, a guilty pleasure. We follow them in their private jet as they travel to New York. Gain entry to annual charity events such as the Met Gala. And vacation on exotic, luxurious islands.
The Kardashians – just like us?
As those early shows offered Americans a sort of mirror into our own families, so too do the trials and daily-ness of the Kardashians’ lives reflect on today’s American culture. There is a core morality many may miss that lies beneath the glitz and glam of the clan. Because the family’s uniquely loving closeness runs counter to America’s current penchant for broken relationships.
They hold tightly to each other, even when misunderstandings and harsh words occur. In this age of the non-apology apology, the nation could stand to learn a thing or two about their ability to own their mistakes. Unlike most of the nation, they do not practice the non-apology apology: “I’m sorry if you were offended.”
Under the expert guidance of their mother Kris, the success of marketing the Kardashian brand has shown no bounds.
Their use of internet marketing, the TV show, and Armenian business savvy have played as big a role in their success, perhaps, as their personalities.
Alicia Nicol in an April 2018 article, “The Kardashians: Queens of Marketing and Social Media,” commented that
“When you think of a group of people who have seemed to master the every aspect of social media, only one clan comes to mind for me . . . The Kardashians.”
“It is evident that this family did not get their initial fame through social media, however it is worth recognizing the fact they have managed to stay relevant through their online presence. Each sister has taken their success and translated it into the means of businesses, lifestyle apps, brand deals and modeling.”
Nicol goes on to list the girls’ impressive numbers of followers.
- Kim, 110 million on Instagram and 59.9 million on Twitter
- Kourtney, 62 million on Instagram and 23.9 million on Twitter
- Khloe, 74.5 million on Instagram and 26.1 on Twitter
- Kendall Jenner, 89.5 on Instagram and 26.7 on twitter’
- Kylie Jenner, 106 million on Instagram and 25.3 million on Twitter
And that’s not all! Nicol continues:
“With a mix of brand deals and sponsored ads, the Kardashians make a ton of money by name dropping products and brands in their Instagram posts. In an article posted by Bazaar Magazine, it is noted that Kim makes about $500,000 per Instagram post, Kourtney and Khloe about $250,000 and the Jenner’s about $400,000 each. Also mentioned in the article, the girls primarily endorse products such as waist trainers and teeth whiteners.”
The Kardashians – keeping it cool, and relevant
So, as you can see, the Kardashians have found a way to stay relevant. Even as their audience has switched away from television and onto the internet. They’ve used multiple techniques to find, and retain success. However, it is their mastering of the concept of business intelligence and online visual marketing. All the sisters are considered online influencers. This brings them more money as they pitch their favorite, or best-paying, bits and bobs.
With their trademark thick black hair, tawny skin, and eyelashes to there, the Kardashians plus Kanye have carved out an empire to be admired. But at the same time, they have shown us family love, community good deeds. Along with a new-age-y morality some refuse to acknowledge.
For those who are Kardashian aficionados, there is an American coziness to them as they allow us into their busy lives.
And Kanye West, in an era of diminishing religiosity, has gone public about his faith in God and Christian beliefs.
Recently, he teamed up with Chick-Fil-A to provide 300,000 meals to vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. The 42- year old rapper and the fast-food franchise have joined forces with the Los Angeles’ Dream Centre, a nonprofit Christian organization. Together they are providing around 11,000 meals a day to those in need in the Los Angeles area.
Now, that’s relevant. May this show-stopping family continue to reward us with their creativity and generous natures. May we continue to learn from them what it means to “be family.” The Kardashian clan is America’s template in these difficult, negative times.
Long may they reign!
Lead Image from Kanye West Instagram