At just 20 years old, Kylie Jenner is already a reality TV star, mother and business owner. It looks like she can soon add ‘billionaire’ to that list too, according to Forbes. As part of their ‘60 Richest Self-Made Women in America’ list, the magazine declared Jenner on track to become the youngest ever ‘self-made’ billionaire. Her company, Kylie Cosmetics, of which she owns 100 per cent, is valued at $900m US dollars, (this side of the border, she’s already a billionaire, the brand being worth $1.2 billion CAD), meaning if growth continues at the same rate, she’ll have beaten even Mark Zuckerberg to the post, who joined the billionaire’s club at the ripe old age of 23.
But there was just one slightly eyebrow raising aspect to the claim – can Jenner, who’s been on reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians since she was 10, really be called ‘self-made’? We’re pretty sure having a wealthy, famous family gives you a certain advantage.
And people have been quick to note their cynicism. Heck, even Dictionary.com tweeted some shade, reminding us all of the exact definition with the following tweet: ‘Self-made means having succeeded in life unaided. Used in a sentence: Forbes says that Kylie Jenner is a self-made woman.’ Ouch, but also, touché, Dictionary.com, because we were all thinkin’ it.
Self-made means having succeeded in life unaided.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) July 11, 2018
Given her family’s pre-existing wealth, connections, gargantuan social media following, and exposure from the hugely popular show, she’s hardly had to tough it out alone. When we think ‘self-made’, we tend to think working and grafting from nothing, with the odds stacked against you. We think Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, yes, even Mark Zuckerberg, who didn’t have any of Kylie’s aids to give them a leg up. Not exactly comparing like-for-like. The Twitterverse had a thing or two to say, of course:
Forbes calling Kylie Jenner a self-made billionaire when she was born into extreme wealth that most people will never even be adjacent to pic.twitter.com/1SF9f8BGRy
— Judy Robbins (@_judyrobbins) July 11, 2018
Kylie Jenner on the cover of Forbes is nonsense not just because she was born rich but because she was literally HANDED her influence. She steals people’s work, style, and culture. A doctor gave her her appearance, and her mother keeps her name in the news. Businesswoman my ASS.
— The Opinion (@SheraeSpeaks_) July 11, 2018
Forbes just called Kylie Jenner self-made. I’m speechless. pic.twitter.com/ixzTR9S0J8
— Ishita Yadav (@IshitaYadav) July 11, 2018
brooo how in the world is Kylie Jenner classified as “self made” ?? Born rich, never had to grind for anything, never struggled with money or rising to the top? I feel like that’s just disrespect to all the fearless women who sacrificed everything to make it on Forbes list smh
— Lucas Bentes (@LBentess) July 11, 2018
Kylie Jenner’s Forbes cover highlights all of the opportunity gaps that exist in the US. That’s not “grit.” It’s not a testament to “hard work.” It’s privilege, generational wealth, generational celebrity and Snapchat. Most 19 year olds only have the Snapchat part.
— Tami Sawyer (@tamisawyer) July 12, 2018
Kylie Jenner is not self-made. She started with fame & fortune. (Not taking away from what she’s done) But she is not self-made, she had a huge advantage in everything she’s accomplished. She started from a place of privilege, wealth, and power that most of us will never know.
— Abby Klaasmeyer (@AKlaasmeyer) July 11, 2018
That’s not to say she isn’t doing something right – just to put into perspective the success of Kylie Cosmetics, the list shows us she’s worth more than sis Kim Kardashian West (who also has a beauty company, KKW Beauty, worth $461m), Beyonce ($441m), and Taylor Swift ($421m).
Having built her business on the fuller lip aesthetic, with the initial launch of lip kits and expanding into other beauty products, Jenner herself recently removed her own fillers, in a much-lauded Insta post earlier this week.
As for Kylie, she proudly shared the cover on her Insta, exclaiming, “I can’t believe I’m posting my very own Forbes cover… I couldn’t have dreamt this up!” Us neither, Kylie, us neither.