Social media has been ablaze ever since Forbes revealed their latest cover featuring 20-year-old, lip kit empire builder, Kylie Jenner.
Now, the Kardashian clan being featured on magazine covers is certainly nothing new, but what sets the Forbes magazine cover apart from the rest is that in its focus on wealthy and successful women in the U.S, they describe Kylie as a “self-made” millionaire on the verge of reaching billionaire status.
Kylie’s makeup line, which according to Buzzfeed was only launched a mere three years ago, has already accrued an amount of $630 million dollars (Just under R85 billion).
And she’s only getting started.
There’s no denying that Kylie knows how to hustle and use the power of her name, her family connections and social media to sell her products. She herself admits that being so big on social media (she has 110 million followers currently) means that it’s easy access to both her fan base and potential customers.
We can definitely acknowledge that she’s got an incredible gift for marketing and has learnt how-to be business savvy. But, while she deserves all the accolades for building and running such a successful makeup empire, what she cannot be called is “self-made.”
Self-made implies building something without any aid and Kylie had more than her fair share of help in order to get where she is today. And folks on Twitter seem to agree:
How does anyone born on third base qualify for being “self made”?— Phil (@Phileeeeeeep) July 11, 2018
Thank you. Kylie's hustle is notable, but to say it's self-made is disingenuous. It ignores obvious wealth of family, its influence and ability to get other rich people and institutions to invest in Kardashian brand.— Still lost in Westworld (@DPMCanty) July 11, 2018
The fact is that The Kardashian/Jenner family has always been wealthy – even way before Kim’s sex tape scandal and even before the reality show that really catapulted them to fame. And, many people often think that the person who really should get the credit for it all is excellent momager, Kris Jenner.
To be fair, Kendall Jenner herself has faced criticism about her success and has defended her modelling gig, stating that being famous hasn't made her job any easier.
No one doubts that Kylie works hard (in fact, I’m loving that she’s a woman who’s going out and doing her thang), nor are we saying that it’s not okay to be successful if you’ve had the advantage, but calling her self-made, isn’t accurate and is unfair.
It’s also disingenuous in the sense that it creates an unrealistic model of what other people should do to reach that level of wealth, and ignores the barriers that often make it hard for people to not only struggle to get to that level, but who also, because of that struggle with even finding a job.
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Of course a lot of us aspire to that level of wealth, but it’s not as easy, glamorous and as effortless to achieve that kind of success as Kylie makes it look.
No doubt people will be casually tossing out the “if you work hard enough you too can be a millionaire” mantra, in response to this, but not every opportunity is an equal opportunity and you can work yourself to the ground and it won’t matter because having access to resources, equipment, education costs money and not everyone has access to that or qualifies for it.
And while Kylie’s story is certainly one that will have many people admire her, we need to remember that self-made success doesn’t look like “already rich but only getting richer.”