The Kardashians are a fascinating study in pop culture. Everyone knows that they’re essentially famous for nothing, for starring in a reality television show and embarking on various ventures to do with their personal brands. So, if they may not have the skills of true artisans, why on earth are we so interested in their every move? There’s one reason, and her name is Kris Jenner.
A “momager” (a term that the savvy Jenner has trademarked) is definitely nothing new; countless individuals in the entertainment industry who start out fairly young opt to go with someone they trust, a parent, to manage their budding career. However, let’s just look at the facts – every single one of her children is constantly in the tabloids, and has a bank account constantly receiving funds from various ventures. Sure, they may never win a Nobel or Pulitzer prize, but they bring home the bacon and have audiences around the world tuning in to whatever venture they’re up to next. And all of that is due to Kris’ on point branding and management.
So, what has she done to ensure her daughters’ success? Well, the better question might be what hasn’t she done? Here are just 11 things that Kris Jenner has done to make sure her girls maintain their fame and fortune.
11 Her Talk Show
Kris is a the name of the talk show hosted by Kris Jenner which sadly didn't last too long. Some say she used this show as a platform to profit off of her family's fame. She waited for the end of her talk show's premiere to show a picture of her very famous granddaughter North West, whom up until then was very carefully hidden from the paparazzi. Viewers did tune in hoping to catch a glimpse of the young star and many speculate that viewers tuned in hoping for North West to make an actual appearance on the show.
10 Kim’s Home Movie
Ah, the one that started it all. For most celebrities, a sex tape is an embarrassing career killer, something that could jeopardize how seriously one is taken in the industry. However, for the Kardashians, it was basically the seed upon which their empire was built. Before the Kardashians became a household name, Kim was a fairly low profile socialite making the rounds in Los Angeles with heiress Paris Hilton. When a sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray J emerged, everyone suddenly wanted to know who Kim was, and Kris was at the center of the storm controlling information that was released. While Kris has never really spoken publicly about it, many have speculated that she pushed Kim to sell the tape. As a mom, she may not have approved of her daughter’s recording, but as a momager, she saw potential to get some attention. Nowadays, barely anyone remembers the tape – they’re too busy watching Kim’s other successful pursuits.
9 Snagging a Reality Television Series (and another, and another...)
There are a few competition reality television series, like The Amazing Race, Survivor, and The Bachelor, that have been around for seemingly forever. However, shows focused on individuals or families tend to either go off the air within a season or two, or frequently get a cast switch up. That is, except for Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The show started when Kris walked into Ryan Seacrest’s office and suggested a show centered on her family would be a good idea – and, after filming a Kardashian family barbecue, the production team at E! agreed. While the Kardashians have achieved success in several ventures, they likely wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today without the show. It became a launching ground for all five sisters, and it’s all thanks to Kris.
8 Kendall Jenner’s Love magazine shoot
When Kendall began venturing out into the serious modeling world, she got a lot of flack – many felt she didn’t really deserve to be there, and they figured she couldn’t be as high fashion as other models. At that point, she had snagged a lot of coverage in teen-oriented magazines, but the haute couture world didn’t really think she had the right image. So, what’s a girl to do when she needs to be considered more edgy and up for any type of photoshoot? Pose in a risqué photoshoot, obviously. Jenner posed provocatively in lingerie, and considering that she’s now going to be walking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway, perhaps it was a pretty smart career move after all.
7 Kylie’s Physical Transformation
The public is absolutely obsessed with Kylie Jenner’s look, from her color-changing hair to her plumped lips. Given that she doesn’t really have the same type of budding modelling career that sis Kendall does, it’s astounding how much attention Kylie has gotten simply for having a bit of a different look. And sure, everything that Kylie has done to her appearance may have been dreamt up by Kylie, but let’s be serious – the teenager had to have someone to sign all those consent forms, and that someone was Kris Jenner. The public saw Kylie transform from a regular young preteen to a headline-grabbing, stunning teenager, and her fans show no signs of losing interest. She may have still had followers if she maintained a plain look, but probably not the same amount as her pouty lips and green tresses have gained her.
6 All. That. Merch.
Kris Jenner is the first one to admit that not every collaboration or endorsement works, but she’s scored some mega hits through sheer determination and effort. From nail polish to shoes, clothing to diet pills to lollipops to app games, Kris has put the Kardashian name on virtually every type of consumer good that you could imagine. When you’re painting your nails at home with that new shade, she wants you to see the Kardashian tie-in. Some of her merchandising deals have likely netted the girls huge chunks of cash, and let’s be serious – none of them would have hustled and gone out to score those deals for themselves. That, again, was thanks to Kris.
5 Kim’s Playboy spread
When you’re trying to put a sex tape behind you, you want to keep a squeaky clean image, right? Well, not according to Kris Jenner. She transformed the public attention from Kim’s sex tape into a reality show, and later in the year, urged her daughter to pose nude for Playboy. Most mothers would try to do anything to talk their daughters out of posing for a nude pictorial, but Kris saw the way it would continue to keep Kim in the public eye, and encouraged her to go through with it. Kris is basically the queen of taking someone’s fifteen minutes of fame and transforming it into 15 years in the limelight. Seriously – she needs to write a book for all the momagers and managers out there.
4 Turned man trouble into headline news
All the Kardashian sisters have had their fair share of relationship dramas, but Kris always managed to spin it. While everyone is obsessed with celeb couple Kimye lately, back when Kim was with basketball player Kris Humphries, Jenner snagged a wedding special for the short lived marriage. When Khloe began dating basketball player Lamar Odom? Kris got them their own spin off reality show that, while short lived, helped Khloe assert her own personality and not get lost in Kim’s shadow. When Kylie began getting public heat for dating Tyga, a rapper older than her, Kris publicly approved of the headline-creating relationship. Hell, when Kourtney and Scott finally called in quits, Kris made it known that she hoped they would make it work – not for Kourtney’s happiness, but for the ratings that type of drama would yield. Kris sees a relationship and tries to see how it’ll raise her daughters’ profiles.
3 Kocktails with Khloe
Thanks to her marriage to rapper Kanye West, and her countless deals, Kim Kardashian is basically guaranteed to remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future. So, what’s a momager to do? Focus her attention on her other daughters to make sure that every single one is crazy successful and famous, not just the one. Every since splitting from Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian has taken a bit of a step away from the limelight (as much as a Kardashian can, anyway), but she’ll be returning to screens again in a different capacity – as host of her own talk show, Kocktails with Khloe. It’s the perfect format for the Kardashian sister who is best known for her snarky one-liners and over the top personality.
2 Keeping Dash Relevant
Back in 2006, the three older Kardashian sisters (Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe) opened a clothing boutique, Dash. Fashion is a difficult industry to succeed in, particularly as a small boutique, and though the boutique benefited from appearing several times on the Kardashians’ various reality shows, they’re still going strong over ten years later. Is it the quality clothing? Well, maybe – but it’s also some phenomenal branding by Kris. First of all, the girls opened a pop-up store in Southhampton in 2014, naturally featured in Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons. Then, in 2015, came the show Dash Dolls. Forget clothing – it’s all about the branding.
1 The Last Playboy Spread
Playboy made some headlines earlier in October when the publication revealed that they would no longer be featuring nude pictorials in their pages, since the internet had rendered nude pictorials passe. So, naturally, the iconic magazine began seeking potential women to pose on the final nude cover. To snag something like that would guarantee you a huge role in pop culture history – whether you’re a fan of Hef or not, there’s no doubting that Playboy has been a huge cultural influence over the past several decades. Jenner has made it known that a Kardashian-Jenner super cover, featuring all the now of-age sisters, would be a great way to go out with a band. Hey, if anyone could do it, Kris Jenner could.