The world’s youngest self-made billionaire

She means business: In August last year, Kylie Jenner was worth an estimated $900 million. © Forbes

Is she a role model? Aged 10, Kylie Jenner was a reality TV star, standing in the shadow of her sisters. Aged 21, she is one of the world’s most successful businesswomen with an Instagram empire.

At only 21, she is already richer than the Queen, J.K. Rowling and Beyoncé. Now Forbes has named Kylie Jenner the “world's youngest self-made billionaire”. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t pass that milestone until he was 23.

“I didn’t expect anything. I did not foresee the future,” says Jenner. “But [the recognition] feels really good. That’s a nice pat on the back.”

Last year Forbes declared Jenner was “set to be the youngest-ever self-made billionaire.” Many users on social media disagreed, pointing out that Jenner was born into a very wealthy, famous family.

Jenner was only 10 when Keeping Up With The Kardashians first appeared on E! in 2007. Her father, Caitlyn Jenner, is a former Olympic decathlon champion, while her mother, Kris, is the shrewd mastermind behind the family’s fame, and for whom the term “Momager” was coined.

But the bulk of Jenner’s wealth comes from her make-up company, Kylie Cosmetics. She comes up with new product ideas and markets them to her 128 million Instagram followers.

And Jenner has proved herself a master of using social media to build hype: her initial range of “lip kits” sold out in one minute.

Some observers have accused the family of promoting unrealistic beauty standards for young girls.

Is she a role model?

Like, realising stuff

Absolutely, say some. It would have been easy for Jenner to coast on her family’s wealth and fame, but thanks to her ambition and business instinct, her success has eclipsed the other Kardashian-Jenners. Young women can look up to her as a daring, focused entrepreneur.

No way, argue others. Mark Zuckerberg and other young tech billionaires were part of a revolution that transformed society forever. Jenner takes pictures of herself in different shades of lipstick. Her success is a symbol of society’s shift towards narcissism.

You Decide

  1. Is Kylie Jenner a role model?

Activities

  1. Look at Kylie Jenner’s Instagram. Write three reasons why she is an effective marketer on social media.

Some People Say...

“The more people love you, the more there’s going to be people that hate you.”

Kylie Jenner

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Kylie Cosmetics launched in 2016 and has become a $900 million dollar company in less than four years. Kylie is now worth almost three times as much as Kim Kardashian West, who has an estimated wealth of $350 million.
What do we not know?
Whether Jenner will stay above the billionaire mark. Revenue on her signature lip kits fell by 35% in 2017.

Word Watch

The Queen, J.K. Rowling and Beyoncé.
They are worth around £325 million, $650 million (£490 million) and $350 million (£266 million) respectively.
Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner was known as Bruce Jenner until she came out as transgender in 2015. She starred in her own reality TV series, I Am Cait, from 2015 to 2016.
“Momager”
Kris Jenner manages all of her children. She takes a 10% cut from Kylie Cosmetics for handling the finances and public relations.
Narcissism
Excessive admiration of oneself.