The Business Of Being Kardashian


“Sometimes just raw energy and intelligence wins out.” This man, an entertainment executive, is talking about Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. But he is also specifically talking about the Kardashians.

A comprehensive piece in The Hollywood Reporter presents Kris Jenner as a marketing and branding genius — the family made $65 million last year, allegedly more than Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Cruise combined. Even a dedicated Kardashian follower could be awed by these numbers. The finale of season four was the most watched in E! history, with almost five million people watching. What brought them in?

Shamelessness is part of it. There is no such thing as overexposure or something resembling brand control in this universe, with the exception of sex toys.

And yet ex, but not too much of it, is another part. Kris said “Hell to the no!” to a sex toy company that wanted to sign Khloe and her husband. Given that Kim first became famous for a sex tape, this is a curious distinction to make. But witness Kris discussing her daughter’s involvement in Khardashian Khaos, a “celebrity destination” store at the Mirage resort in Las Vegas. “We’ll take Kim in a bikini and put her on a beach towel. So you would be laying on a Kardashian at the pool.”

Sex, but not too much of it.

Also, selling everything, from $25,000 per tweet to celebrity weekly coverage to every vacation (including, presumably, the Munich one shown above.) According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Certain paparazzi agencies have agreements with the family to stage photos, sell them and split the profits. Kourtney and boyfriend Disick can – and recently did – turn an afternoon laying poolside in Cancun into a $7,500 payday.”

And as no-holds-barred as the family can be, traditional femininity is still a big part of this. Says an associate, “I lovingly refer to her as the Velvet Hammer. A lot of time women in this business are unfairly categorized as bitchy. Kris was a smart woman and recognized that, so she would go on a charm offensive and make you love her.”

Here’s Kris on the show — though she could be talking about her entire life: “Who knew it would be this profitable? I should have had more kids.”

Maybe the family’s next endorsement will be for babymaking. As long as it’s got just the right dose of actual sex.

How The Kardashians Made $65 Million Last Year [The Hollywood Reporter]

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