Kim Kardashian West Heralded The Rise Of Influencers
Whether you know her as a reality star, the woman who ‘broke the internet’, or the star of one of the most-watched sex tapes of all time, you’re guaranteed to be familiar with Kim Kardashian West.
From working as an assistant to creating her own empire, Kim has elevated to levels of fame and wealth that no one could have ever predicted, and today, on her 40th birthday, she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
For most people, the first time they ever heard the name Kim Kardashian was in conjunction with American socialite and Queen of the ‘It’ girls, Paris Hilton.
In fact, people on social media repeatedly share memes that remind us that the socialite started out with – relatively – humble beginnings. The first taste of celebrity culture that Kim experienced came when she was appointed as Paris’s personal assistant, and was tasked with duties that included cleaning out her wardrobe and occasionally accompanying her on the red carpet.
While those of us who grew up watching The Simple Life and Keeping Up With The Kardashians are well versed on Kimmy K’s meteoric rise to the top, such posts on social media make it clear that some of her younger fans can’t believe how far she has come in the celebrity world in the past decade and a half.
When Instagram launched towards the end of 2010, we were well in the throes of the KUWTK phenomenon, and it wasn’t long before Kim became the ‘Selfie Queen’.
Brands and advertisers cottoned on to the power of influencing as a marketing tool, and Kim was at the forefront of sponsorship deals from fashion brands to teas that promised to help you achieve a washboard stomach.
For better or for worse, Kim made headlines for her brand deals, which in the past have been criticised by the likes of Jameela Jamil for promoting unhealthy diet products to young, impressionable followers.
Nowadays, the mum-of-four is a lot more selective about the brand deals she makes – and she can afford to be. Kim reportedly receives anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 for a single Instagram post, or into the millions for longer-term deals, Business Insider reports.
Kim recently spoke on the subject while appearing on David Letterman’s Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, following the news that KUWTK would be coming to an end. There, she told Letterman that while she owes the majority of her success to the show, she can now make more money from a single Instagram post than she can from an entire series on the show.
‘We would not be who we are today without Keeping Up With The Kardashians and that’s why we continue to share our lives,’ she admitted. ‘Even if, realistically, we can post something on social media and make more than we do a whole season.’
When talking about Kim’s rise to stardom, it would feel strange not to mention the infamous sex tape that so many people claim is the reason for her fame and success. But, if we’re being honest, it’s an easy – and actually a very lazy – assumption to make, because if that were the case, the celebrity world would be completely saturated with amateur home videos, and I don’t mean the kind that Bella Thorne uploads to her OnlyFans.
Of course, there’s no getting away from the fact that Kim went from essentially being an extra on a reality show, to someone who everyone was talking about following the release of the video. But, there’s not many people who would be able to get 19 reality show seasons and three spin-off series out of it.
Kim now has, however, her own empire. From launching her first perfume in 2009, she now owns KKW Fragrance as well as her own cosmetic line, KKW Beauty, and most recently a luxury shapewear brand called Skims. She’s worth an estimated $900 million, according to calculations by Forbes, and instead of relying on brand deals, to promote, she has become her own brand – something thousands of influencers all over the world are now mimicking.
Quite satisfyingly, Kimmy seems to have come full circle of late, recently announcing the release of new Skims velour tracksuit range with none other than the person who made them a ‘thing’: Paris Hilton. Kim has taken ‘famous for being famous’ and created and empire out of it, paving the way for millions more influencers to do the same.
Happy birthday, Kim.
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