There are two types of people in this world, those who love the Kardashians, and those who loathe them. Whatever category you fall into, you definitely can’t ignore them. But how did a family from Beverly Hills turn into a multi-million pound brand influencing just about everything in modern society? We interviewed celebrity culture expert Tim Evans to find out.
Words: Shannon Cowley, Subeditor: Eireann Beardon
You can say a million times over that the Kardashian-Jenner clan are talentless celebrities famous only for being famous, but let’s face it, you’re wrong.
The family are now worth an estimated £150 million between them, they are in the eleventh season of their reality show, and all five sisters have released apps. Before the first season of their E! show in 2007, Kim was just the daughter of OJ Simpson’s lawyer, and occasionally best friends with Paris Hilton. One sex tape, three marriages, two divorces, countless semi-nude photoshoots, and two babies later, Kim has used her passion for fame to create an entire brand for herself and all her family members. And with 114.92 million twitter followers between them, the Kardashians are arguably the most influential people of today.
Exactly how did the Kardashians turn into the biggest brand in the competitive market? VOL Celeb spoke to celebrity culture lecturer, Tim Evans, about the theory behind their unbelievable revenue and success.
“When you look at the origins, Kim originally was a wardrobe organiser, and that’s where she started. Her dad was sort of famous because he was OJ Simpson’s lawyer. Clearly they have a very strong relationship with the media, for example I think they’re shareholders in E! Online.” said Tim Evans, a lecturer at The University of Westminster.
“So I think they’ve got a real, maybe its not talent, maybe its a skill. They are very smart people in the way they manipulate a portfolio of products, services, and indeed a product portfolio for themselves.”
If you’re a keen Keeping up with the Kardashians viewer you will have seen Kourtney giving birth, Kim getting married, Khloe getting arrested, Scott Disick going off the rails, Rob crying over weight gain, Kris crying over everything, and you’ll even know the details of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition.
Fans are allowed complete access to their lives, and you don’t even need to tune into their show to keep updated on the gossip. Regular Instagram and Twitter posts along with an endless stream of paparazzi photos on the Mail Online, we are never far away from Kardashian-related news.
“In terms of the media coverage and the fact that their lives are totally open, it’s like you want celebrities to be on a pedestal but not too much, because you want to pull them down. People like to see women with cellulite because it shows them ‘you’re like us’ it shows those vulnerabilities.
“How different is a soap opera to the Kardashians? Because its [Keeping up with the Kardashians] almost a scripted reality. You could argue that we’ve always had a fascination with families, and with communities; we like watching the strife and the joys of being a member of a family.” said Tim.
2015 has seen Kendall walk countless fashion shows, Khloe release a book, Kylie launch a lip kit, and all the sisters now have chart topping lifestyle apps. The family are never far away from an endorsement deal and their brand success doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
“They have become the most successful [celebrities]. They have almost defined the rules of the game, and because they have defined the rules of the game its much easier for them to stay ahead because they are making the rules up as they go along. They are always the benchmark in terms of the entertainment product. And it’s coincided with a period in media where it’s just become so much easier and cheaper to create content.
“They are an interesting phenomenon. I think that actually they are incredibly influential. That influence upon celebrity in our lives has always been there, but it’s more pervasive now because there is more media. So I think there’s a closeness, a false closeness that technology helps to deliver.”
Everyone has an opinion of this blended family, we asked people about the Kardashian clan and their influence on modern society:
We applaud you Kardashian-Jenners, congratulations on changing the face of reality TV stardom.