How The Kardashians Became Unlikely Wellness Icons

Designed by Abbie Winters.
It’s been 10 years since Keeping Up With The Kardashians first aired on TV. This week, we examine how the world's most famous family has entertained us, angered us, and made an indisputable impact on our culture.
Earlier this year, Khloé Kardashian shared an article on her app about the eight-step vaginal skincare routine she uses to "ensure she's feeling fresh and looking $." It involves a $199 Kegel-tracker, a $20 vulva cream, a $75 vagacial treatment, and sounds exhausting. If you're wondering who takes vaginal health advice from a Kardashian, the answer is me, and likely some of her hundreds of thousands of app subscribers, too.
As humans, we're predisposed to follow celebrity advice, because they provide "shortcuts or signals to point us towards what we should actually do," even if we know they're not experts, explains Steven Hoffman, PhD, who has studied how celebrities impact health decisions. The Kardashians certainly aren't the first celebrities to dole out unqualified health wisdom (Jenny McCarthy? Angelina Jolie? Charlie Sheen?), they're just the loudest, most honest, and possibly most successful ones to do it.
Thanks to their spellbinding show, relentless social media presence, and popular apps, the Kardashians — particularly the three oldest sisters — have overshared to a point where it feels like we know them on an intimate level, according to Christina Beck, PhD, a communication professor at Ohio University and author of Celebrity Health Narratives and the Public Health. So, although we may sense that their advice is misguided or uninformed (for example, suggesting an unnecessary vaginal skincare routine), we trust them because we feel like we know and understand their story, Dr. Beck says. The Kardashians are unlikely role models, and that's why it works: They swear incessantly, talk frankly about their genitals, have tumultuous love lives, and put it all on display for fans.
In order to understand how the Kardashian sisters have transformed from a group of wannabe reality TV stars to health influencers, you have to take a look at each of their trajectories over the past 10 years of Keeping Up With The Kardashians — and we did. Here's how each sister contributed to this phenomenon, and where we go from here.

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