NYT: The Kardashian-Jenners’ empire is a trashy & immensely profitable spectacle

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West strike a pose in front of their NYC hotel

To promote the new season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians – which premiered on Sunday – all of the Kardashian-Jenner women chatted with the New York Times for a long-read profile of their business empire. It’s called “Keeping Up with the Kardashian Cash Flow.” It’s not really news for anyone with a passing interest in gossip culture, honestly. We all know that the K-Js are rich as hell and they would do anything for a bump in cash flow and attention. But it’s still a somewhat interesting read because of this symbiotic relationship: “Family turmoil feeds the celebrity news cycle, which drives interest in the TV show, which then helps to publicize an ever-increasing number of sponsorships and branded products.” You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Whether Kylie discounted the Jordyn Woods Lip Kit on purpose: Kylie told me she didn’t know that the Jordy had been discounted and that she called an employee as soon as she heard. She said it had been put on sale a couple weeks earlier as the company switched from white to black packaging. “That is just not my character. I would never do something like that and when I saw it, I was like, thrown back,” Kylie said. “Jordyn knows I didn’t actually put it on sale.”

What the K-Js make from their social media presence: In the first five minutes of Kim introducing her KKW Beauty line in 2017, she sold an estimated $14.4 million worth of product (or about 300,000 items). Last year, Kendall, who has become the world’s highest-paid model, made $26.5 million for just 53 sponsored Instagram posts, according to Captiv8, a marketing firm that connects brands to influencers.

On Kylie’s “self-made billionaire” status: Kylie was 15 when Kris took her to trademark her idea to sell matching lip gloss and liner together. In March, Forbes named Kylie the youngest “self-made billionaire ever,” causing heated debate about the definition of self-made. “I can’t say I’ve done it by myself,” Kylie told me, driving to an airport in Los Angeles. “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.”

Kim on waiting for her fourth baby: In May, they will have a fourth baby, a son via a surrogate — but if you have a pulse and an Instagram account, you already knew that. “I’m frantically trying to get the room ready,” Kim told me. “It’s madness, but the best madness.”

Kris on the criticisms her daughters do sponsorships with shady weight-loss companies: Kris is sanguine about such criticism. “I don’t live in that negative energy space,” she said “Ninety percent of people will be really excited about the family and the journey and who we are.” Khloé, fresh from a workout, said that she’s never had a chef and that she posts all of her personal training sessions on Snapchat, well aware that not everyone can afford such a luxury. “Well, listen, I am showing you what to do, silly person, 15 repetitions, three times, here’s the move …” she explained. Kim defended her family’s product endorsements. Teeth whitening? “I don’t have veneers. People really think that!” Waist trainers? “I got them for my friends after they had babies!” Kendall’s Proactiv deal, widely mocked after Kris teased it on Twitter as a “brave and vulnerable” move? “She never thought she’d ever be able to be a model because of her acne,” Kim said.

Kim turned down a million-dollar offer: Kim also said she turns down more offers than she accepts. When a fast fashion line offered her $1 million for a single Instagram post, Kanye urged her not to do it, saying, “These companies knock off my stuff.” So Kim turned it down. As a thank you, on Mother’s Day, Kanye gave her $1 million himself. “He wrote me a check for that amount and said ‘Thank you so much for always being supportive and not posting,’” she said.

Kanye has a big hand in KUWTK: If Kris is the founder and chief executive of Kardashian Inc., Kanye has become the creative director. He frequently texts with the producers, offering input on the opening images which initially had a 1970s sitcom feel and now feature the women in nude tones and sleek, silvery poses. And he shared his thoughts on the backdrop of the confessionals, which now bathe the women in amber light. “He’s a real creative force, clearly, and had thoughts on marketing, thoughts on presentation of the show, on the opening title sequence,” said Adam Stotsky, the president of E!

[From The New York Times]

The most interesting thing, to me, was the part at the end of the article about how Kanye has so much to say about all of the sisters’ brands and how he’s suggesting changes for KUWTK. It must kill Kris Jenner a little bit to cede even a tiny bit of authority to Kanye, although Kris and Kanye get along so well, so maybe she’s happy to have his input. And she probably loves that Kanye is getting more involved in the show too. As for the rest of it… yeah, we already knew. The Kardashian-Jenners would do anything for money and fame.

Trump Kanye Meeting

Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian dine at Giorgio Baldi with Kylie and Kim

Kylie Jenner, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian leave Giorgio Baldi after dinner

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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21 Responses to “NYT: The Kardashian-Jenners’ empire is a trashy & immensely profitable spectacle”

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  1. KatieBo says:

    I thought it was really interesting that Kylie says “Jordyn knows I didn’t actually put it on sale” They’re clearly still in touch and she cares what Jordyn thinks so there’s a crack in the narrative that everyone is siding with Khloe’s insane reaction to this…

    • Wow says:

      Kylie quit filming for their show because she didn’t want to be a part of it. She also didn’t let them film her pregnancy or capitalize on it. She is also the only one who’s a billionaire.

      They should all be more like kylie and focus on a real business.

      • Char says:

        Kylie didn’t deleted her pics with Jordyn from IG, which in the world of today means a LOT…she’s probably just waiting to welcome her friend back and move on, she certainly don’t need a story for the show or the show.

  2. LORENA says:

    I watched the season premiere and it started with Kanye and Kim doing a confessional which he had never done before. If you have watched previous seasons and compare them to now you can tell Kanye has had input, the opener and the music seem very Kanye

    • Char says:

      Kim was so embarassed, but I get Kanye, The Incredibles was fun.

    • me says:

      Well someone needs to tell Kanye his input really isn’t helping because their ratings are still down compared to years ago. The problem is we already know what goes on with this family via the internet/social media, etc. By the time the show airs we are “over it”. What they need to do is film almost in “real-time” like vloggers do. But that would mean the Kardashian/Jenners would have to show us their “real lives” and not the made-up ones we see. We’d have to see the nannies and chefs, how the women look without 10 pounds of make-up and 2 hours of hair styling. They’d never allow it. Plus we all know the show is scripted and it would be a lot harder to do that too.

  3. Kittycat says:

    The weight loss diet tea ads should be criminal.

    I cant imagine selling a product like that but what do I know.

    • runcmc says:

      I am NOT defending them but uh, these teas are not new. I remember when I was a teenager in the late 90s/early 2000s my friends and I all drank “ballerina tea” which is the same thing as these new weight loss teas. It’s basically a diuretic and does nothing but make you go to the bathroom. Shoot we’re lucky the FDA put a stop on all the weight loss pills of the early 2000s because you KNOW the K’s would be shilling those if they could, and those actually did lead to people dying (not just having the runs).

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        Just wanted to co-sign Runmc’s comment. Taking diuretics and laxatives for weight loss was a thing in the early 2000s when I was a teenager. It’s a terrible idea for sure but I took laxatives in a misguided attempt to lose weight (fortunately I didn’t know for long enough to cause life long damage to my health).

        But yeah, it’s shitty of the Kardashians to promote these teas. The idea predates sponsored posts on Instagram but maybe those posts made more visible? So it feels new to people.

      • Kristic says:

        I did this stuff in the mid-90s and also took something with ephedra which made me feel like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. These weight loss “detox” supplements are so dangerous. I stopped the detox tea after having an incident where I had to poop in a shoebox in my bedroom because I couldn’t get into the bathroom while one of my male roommates was showering. Not only is it unsafe, it’s gross!

  4. Mumbles says:

    What a shame that Kanye has gotten sucked into this mess. Unlike those skanks, he actually has some talent.

    • KatieBo says:

      Oh please. Kanye is a grown-ass man who makes his own decisions and pursued Kim and this entire family. He didn’t get sucked into anything. He loves it.

      • tback says:

        Kanye latches onto anything that will get him some press. See: “Make America Great Again” phase.

  5. Christina says:

    They aren’t my favorite, but they are a big part of American culture, and they benefit themselves instead of men using them for their beauty. Looking a certain way has always been a weird “talent” in a patriarchal society. Sad, but true. They are just open about it. Rich men have paraded women like these as arm candy forever, and the men received the cache of the women’s beauty. Right, wrong, or indifferent, Kris Jenner figured out how to monetize something men have benefited from for years. Being a trophy is a job, a weird shallow job, but it’s work to make some man look good. The K/Js work to make themselves look like trophies, but they don’t have to depend on a lover or wealthy husband’s money. They get paid directly. In Los Ángeles and Hollyweird, that counts as progress. Tacky has always been around. It’s not going anyplace anytime soon. I need to read a book now. I just lost about 10 brain cells typing this.

    • Lynne says:

      kris was eager to sexualize them in exchange for cash. ( why she is called pimp mama K ) Many parents don’t want this for their children regardless how much money it brings in. They are financially comfortable yes, but that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed happiness. .

    • Naddie says:

      You’re not wrong. I feel like it’s somewhat the same when you have a woman as an asshole boss in a field dominated by men : at one moment you gotta recognize the achievement (before killing her lol).

  6. Lynnie says:

    Sounds like all the self-made backlash got back to kylie cuz her answer seems to have changed.

    “I don’t live in that negative energy space,” she said

    Mhmmm, of course not because all they see is green. Honestly that whole section screams cognitive dissonance like that’s not issue people have with you with you shilling and flaunting these sponsors/ad deals smh.

    Kanye is too far gone rip to the old version.

  7. Victoria says:

    Remember when the NYT was a respectable paper?? This made my eyes roll so hard 🙄🙄

  8. maisie says:

    No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. — H.L. Mencken

    • 90sgirl says:

      Many complain , but it’s the American public that watches them, buys their stuff,reads or clicks ever article printed.
      Also some European Countries run their show practically on a loop, three times a day. I traveled last year in Eutope and every Country I visited they were on the television.

      I finally found some old Dallas reruns on tv, in a few of the places I went. Lol. Thank goodness.

  9. Whatnow says:

    Only thing I have to say is if by some miracle their father was still with us would he recognize them if he walked by them on the street ( what with all the plastic surgery and everything)?