At this point, Kim Kardashian West doesn’t need Keeping Up with the Kardashians for exposure. She’s expanded her portfolio of wealth into the beauty, fashion, and tech industries. If KUWTK was cancelled today, the Kardashian name and brand recognition is solid enough that she, Kourtney, and Khloé would still be able to maintain their status as household names. Kendall Jenner has reached supermodel status, carving out a lane for herself outside of her family’s shadow. And younger sister Kylie, the star of the KUWTK spin-off The Life of Kylie, is second only to Kim in terms of both popularity and earnings, according to Forbes. So why does the youngest sibling of a family empire that has already established itself as a powerhouse feel the need to do her own reality show?
Not only is Kylie not hurting for an influx of new fans and supporters, she appears to be the sibling that has struggled the most with fame. Despite being in the limelight since she was a child, Kylie seems to have been the most resistant to it. It's a peculiarity in her family that has been explored on KUWTK, and she's talked about it in numerous interviews. But when you’re Kris Jenner’s daughter, you make the best of the hand you’re dealt — especially when a life of obscurity simply isn’t an option. The endorsements and partnership deals were on the table for Jenner before she was old enough to vote. But even still, a show seems like an unnecessary step even further into the public eye.
Now that Kylie has found her footing in the cosmetics industry, she is building an empire of her own. What started with quickly sold-out lip kits has morphed into the full Kylie Cosmetics line, and it’s perfectly catered to a new generation of makeup wearers who are already loyal to the Jenner name. Kylie has officially claimed her own plot of proverbial land, and now she has to tend to it and watch it grow. That's where Life of Kylie comes in.
While KUWTK no longer serves as publicity for the Kardashians themselves, it still works as a promotional platform. Brands and companies can't do better than some strategic product placement on a show that reaches millions of viewers. This applies to Kardashian products as well. From a PR perspective, the Kardashians craft their own narratives on their reality series — thus maintaining control over their public image. Following her split from Tyga and the drama with his son's mom, Blac Chyna, and Kylie's own brother, Rob, this is probably a good idea.
Life of Kylie is being promoted as a rare opportunity to get to know the girl behind all of the glitz and glamour. But despite her best intentions, the fact remains that Kylie is no ordinary girl. None of the women I know are inking seven-figure deals on a regular basis and spearheading companies that are positioned to corner entire beauty markets. Kylie Jenner is a businesswoman, and, having watched the two episodes that were provided to the press in advance, I feel pretty confident that Life of Kylie is just that… business.