Kim Kardashian West The Brand Is Also Human
She’s famous for being famous, and she knows it
Over the last decade, social media and reality television have merged to create a brand, a family, and, most of all, a woman so iconic and renowned that it’s impossible to meet anyone who doesn’t know who she is.
Though she’d been born into a family of distinction—her surname, after all, had been a household name since the late 90s—Kim Kardashian West first became known to the general public as Paris Hilton’s friend and stylist. Today, she stands as one of the most powerful women walking the Earth, with a net worth of $370 million as of June 2019, and a bevy of businesses behind her: a mobile game, clothing brands, skincare, cosmetics, and fragrances. The reality show that had made her into a star, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, is on its seventeenth season and it has no signs of slowing down. Fortunately for Kim’s fans, it seems that neither has she.
Kim has often been criticized for being famous simply because she’s famous, and that her time in the spotlight would last no longer than fifteen minutes. Almost twelve years later, it’s clear that it’s not the case: She has built an empire by not only embodying a brand, but becoming that brand through and through. It’s a strategy that has been tried and tested by celebrities throughout time—all the biggest stars in Hollywood are their own personal brands. But Kim Kardashian is a behemoth of hers, and she’s got the numbers to back it up: a quick Google search will yield 278 million results. On Twitter, she’s got 62 million followers—one of which is Hillary Clinton—and on Instagram, 149 million users follow her on the social media platform that she had, in her own way, shaped and formed. The businesswoman and socialite had once reportedly made $500,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post promoting a morning sickness pill.
She transacts with paparazzi: a quick photograph in exchange for privacy when she needs it. She attracts readers to various publications, especially those that write about her extensively. The moment she announces a new business endeavor, she’s got millions of fans lining up and selling out the product the minute it drops. When she landed the cover of Vogue in 2014, Anna Wintour had been heavily criticized—here was an outsider, a "cheap" reality TV star, a woman who would never be part of the fashion industry elite, and she was on the cover of Vogue of all places. People were not having it.
After the 2013 Met Gala—Kim’s first—she had revealed that she’d gone home and cried because she’d been so insecure and unwelcome. But a few years later, Kim’s influence had been undeniable, and she’d landed the covers of more issues of Vogue—by 2019, she had been on eight. “Kim Kardashian West is used to being underestimated,” the magazine had written.
Thankfully for Kim, she knows not to underestimate herself, even as the entire world does. In April, she revealed that she wanted to become a lawyer. That summer, she began a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco, in the hopes of being able to take the bar in 2022. “I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society,” she said in the April 2019 issue of Vogue. “I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.”
Of course, this was met with heavy backlash, but Kim—or her publicists—knew exactly what to say: “I’ve seen some comments from people who are saying it’s my privilege or my money that got me here, but that’s not the case,” she said on an Instagram post. “One person actually said I should ‘stay in my lane.’ I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals. You can create your own lanes, just as I am. The state bar doesn’t care who you are.”
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Last year I registered with the California State Bar to study law. For the next 4 years, a minimum of 18 hours a week is required, I will take written and multiple choice tests monthly. As my first year is almost coming to an end I am preparing for the baby bar, a mini version of the bar, which is required when studying law this way. I’ve seen some comments from people who are saying it’s my privilege or my money that got me here, but that’s not the case. One person actually said I should “stay in my lane.” I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals. You can create your own lanes, just as I am. The state bar doesn’t care who you are. This option is available to anyone who’s state allows it. It’s true I did not finish college. You need 60 college credits (I had 75) to take part in “reading the law”, which is an in office law school being apprenticed by lawyers. For anyone assuming this is the easy way out, it’s not. My weekends are spent away from my kids while I read and study. I work all day, put my kids to bed and spend my nights studying. There are times I feel overwhelmed and when I feel like I can’t do it but I get the pep talks I need from the people around me supporting me. I changed my number last year and disconnected from everyone because I have made this strict commitment to follow a dream of mine - It’s never too late to follow your dreams. I want to thank Van Jones for believing in me and introducing me to Jessica Jackson. Jessica along with Erin Haney have taken on the role of my mentors and I am forever grateful to them both putting in so much time with me, believing in me and supporting me through this journey. This week I have a big torts essay due on negligence. Wish me luck ✨⚖️
A hundred million people, however, do. And they’re all watching and following her.
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