The youngest self-made billionaire of all time was the model of modesty when news of her achievement broke yesterday.
Move over Mark Zuckerberg, Kylie Jenner , 21, has pinched your place in the annals of entrepreneurship.
But the reality TV star turned make-up magnate made it all sound sooooo easy …
“I popped up at a few stores, I did my usual social media – I did what I usually do, and it just worked,” she sighed.
“But it’s a nice pat on the back.”
Kylie’s fans, including the 128.5 million Instagram followers and 26.7 million on Twitter , were far more effusive.
“What a role model! Now the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan will be keeping up with little sister Kylie.”
But not everyone was hailing the billion-dollar baby as a business icon.
Kylie found fame on the back – and backside – of her elder sister, Kim, in the hit reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which began in 2007 when Kylie just nine years old.
Then she built her $900million – £683million – cosmetics business through narcissistic and over-sexualised social media posts featuring a perfect pout secretly created by lip-fillers.
A pout many impressionable youngsters tried to recreate by sucking on shot glasses, ending up bruised and hurt by the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.
So is it any wonder many parents fear Kylie’s record-breaking wealth will reinforce the message being sold to youngsters alongside those £22 lip kits – that success is measured in physical attractiveness and social media fame.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, 53, was one of the first to express concern. “Self-made billionaire?” he scoffed.
“If Kim Kardashian hadn’t made a sex tape – which got leaked – and then built a whole billion-dollar family franchise out of it, none of them would ever have been heard of.
“We don’t want young girls thinking the way to get on is to be a Kardashian, because that’s madness.
“Especially with International Women’s Day coming up, is this what we’re celebrating?”
The Loose Women panellist Janet Street-Porter, 72, also piled in calling Kylie “a shocking role model to young girls” and asking: “What has she brought to the modern world and what will she be remembered by?
“A lot of lipstick and big lips, and a lot of containers which may or may not be biodegradable. What is the impact on the environment?
“Anyone who, at 17, puts lip fillers in, then sells lip products put on artificially filled lips… it’s not a value based on something I’m comfortable with.”
But fellow panellist Coleen Nolan, 53, disagreed: “She’s worked having a famous family to her favour – that’s a good business brand.
“Some people would take the money and sit on a yacht all day, but she has turned it into her own business.” Many female celebrities are increasingly concerned at the influence of the image-obsessed Kardashian-Jenners.
Actress and comedian Amy Schumer, 37, said recently: “We have to be role models for these little girls, because who do they have? All they have literally is the Kardashians. Is that a great message for little girls? A whole family of women who take the faces they were born with as, like, a light suggestion.”
And Kylie’s role model status is even more concerning considering the contradictions between some of her interviews and social media posts.
Fame helped to build the brand, says Jessica Boulton
Let’s face it: No one can claim Kylie Jenner did not have a huge advantage.
Would she have become the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire if she had been born plain-old Kylie Jones, from Nowhere, Indiana?
Of course not. Being a Kardashian is second only to being a Kennedy, but if that was all there was to it, why haven’t her siblings beaten her to the honour?
Kylie’s net worth is three times Kim Kardashian’s and 30 times Kourtney’s and Kendall’s. It’s a feat all the more impressive given that, five years ago, Kendall was tipped as the future kingpin of the clan.
Yes, the Kardashian empire was built on a ill-fitting glove and a sex tape, thanks to OJ defence lawyer Robert and Kylie’s half-sister, Kim.
But instead of cashing in on that notorious kudos, Kylie used her platform to build a business, spotting and harnessing the power of social media to help her do so.
Isn’t that exactly what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, formerly the youngest billionaire, did? No one mocked him. They made a film about him.
Her Instagram is flooded with hyper-sexualised photos in underwear or swimming costumes. Yet Kylie, mum to Stormi, her year-old daughter by long-term partner, rapper Travis Scott, 26, says she hates flaunting her body.
She doesn’t really like wearing make-up either, but does it because fans like to see her that way.
The plump lips which appeared when she was 17 were “an optical illusion caused by over lining” – until she admitted having work done.
“I might’ve tiptoed around the truth, but I didn’t lie,” she said.
But the image that Kylie sells on social media, to help sell her cosmetics, IS a fake.
“People think they have a perfect idea of who you are from a four- second video, stories and magazine covers,” she said.
“In reality, that’s not the case. Nobody knows who I am except family and close friends.”
Oh no, hang on. In another interview, Kylie gushed: “There’s a reason why I have so many followers and people pay so much attention to me. So I just try not to change and stay authentic.”
But, like it or not, millions of youngsters have made Kylie Jenner their role model. And she wants her legacy to be “that I’ve helped people and that it wasn’t just about me. That I was an inspiration for young girls”.
Websites and blogs list endless reasons why Kylie is an icon.
She launched anti-bullying campaign #IAMMORETHAN on Instagram.
She supports LGBTQ and transgender rights and loves her dad Caitlyn (formerly Bruce).
She once volunteered at a homeless shelter with her boyfriend on Thanksgiving morning, and has auctioned her couture clothes on eBay to raise money for a children’s hospital.
She even launched a range of charity nail varnish, with the names Kompassionate, Kourageous and Konfident. So, not a role model for literacy then.
Kim dwarfed by her life sister, writes Halina Watts
She was once arguably the most famous family member but Kim Kardashian isn’t worth as much as her little sister now at £266million
Rolling Stones star Mick Jagger comes up short too with £266million.
She might be a national treasure but Helen Mirren’s personal treasure is only £38million Barely a day goes by without one of Simon Cowell’s TV productions gracing our screens, but he can’t touch Kylie’s worth as he’s on just £418million.
He’s arguably one of the biggest success stories from one of the X Factor’s biggest success stories, One Direction, but Harry Styles is nowhere near getting Kylie’s crown with just £50million. He’s a worldwide superstar but Elton John is worth around £379million.
One commentator declared last year: “Kylie understands what the millennial and Gen Y wants and she gives it to them, gift wrapped with her signature melting lip logo.
“She doesn’t play on your insecurities – she doesn’t tell you to embrace your flaws, but instead, she shows you what you can have if you just give her products a try.”
But another commentator, somewhat surprisingly, compared Kylie to another 21-year-old record breaker, the peace activist Malala Yousafzai, who is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner.
“Someone’s role model may be Malala Yousafzai, mine is Kylie Jenner,” she wrote.
“She has a great personality, she wants to live her life – just like Malala wants! And Kylie does have talent, it’s just not everyone’s definition of talent.
“Reality check: not everyone can sing and dance.”
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