Just as last week’s cheating scandal begins to fade from our collective memory, another KarJenner bombshell hits: Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the clan, has become the youngest billionaire in the world.
Forbes magazine declared as much in its annual billionaire’s list, published Tuesday. Having accumulated an estimated $1 billion by age 21, her entry states, Jenner, is “the youngest self-made billionaire, reaching a 10-figure fortune at a younger age than even Mark Zuckerberg (who was 23 when he hit that mark).”
The Kylie Cosmetics founder ranks No. 2,057 on a list of 2,153. Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates still hold the top two spots.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Jenner’s feat, but social media users zeroed in on the term “self-made” — and not for the first time. A similar reaction ensued when Forbes selected Jenner to be the cover star for its 2018 list of the country’s richest “self-made” women.
For what it’s worth, Forbes noted that it uses “self-made” to describe anyone who didn’t inherit their business or fortune. “But the term is very broad,” the magazine acknowledged, “and does not adequately reflect how far some people have come and, relatively speaking, how much easier others have had it.”
Jenner falls into the latter category. She was born in 1997 to Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Jenner, the ex-wife of lawyer Robert Kardashian, known most for defending his friend O.J. Simpson during a sensational murder trial.
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Kylie grew up with an older sister, Kendall, and several half-siblings: Burt, Brandon, Brody and Casey Jenner from Caitlyn; Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob Kardashian from Kris. The Kardashians were thrust into the spotlight after Robert died in 2003, and they eventually landed the E! reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in 2007. The show premiered eight months after an old sex tape of Kim’s leaked to the public.
Kendall and Kylie appeared in the E! series as tweens, but their screen time grew as they did. As leading members of the Instagram generation, the teenagers leveraged their fame and, as a pair, launched clothing and accessory lines with PacSun and Steve Madden.
In late 2015, the youngest Jenner set out on her own and launched the Kylie Lip Kit, a lipstick and lip liner kit that became the foundation of Kylie Cosmetics.
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“It’s the power of social media,” Jenner told Forbes, which notes that she boasts more than 175 million followers across Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
The company was renamed Kylie Cosmetics the next February when Jenner stocked the site with 500,000 more lip kits in multiple shades, and it has since expanded to all sorts of makeup products. (The lip kits still go for $29.) Forbes reports that Kylie Cosmetics made a whopping $307 million in its first year but that sales grew only slightly until this past November when Jenner partnered with the beauty store Ulta to sell her products at brick-and-mortar retailers.
Thanks to Ulta, Kylie Cosmetics made roughly $360 million last year. (She also attracted quite a bit more attention than usual thanks to a secret pregnancy and high-profile romance with rapper Travis Scott.) Forbes says Jenner’s company is worth at least $900 million, and, when you add in the money Jenner already had and subtract her mother’s 10 percent management fee, that puts her at $1 billion. Must be nice!