In July 2018, when Forbes put Kylie Jenner on the cover of its America’s Richest Self-Made Women list, a controversy erupted over the magazine’s description of her as “self-made.”
Some argued that Jenner couldn’t be self-made because she comes from a wealthy, well-known family. Others pointed out that she latched onto the social-media coattails of her half-sister Kim Kardashian West. Forbes responded with an explanation of its methodology.
But the debate flared up again on Tuesday with Forbes officially naming Jenner, at 21, the youngest ever self-made billionaire, beating previous record holder, Mark Zuckerberg, who was given that title when he was 23.
Kylie Jenner was named the youngest ever self-made billionaire by Forbes.
According to Forbes’ estimates, Jenner’s company is worth at least $900 million and she owns 100% of it. She got to the billion mark, just barely, with the inclusion of $100 million in cash she’s made from the company’s profits.
what does it mean to be self-made? In the Kylie Jenner era?
There is a strong American tradition of revering those who’ve become rich through their own hard work versus those who receive an inheritance. Andrew Carnegie is renowned for giving his wealth away, fearful that large inheritances would decrease the drive of his heirs. Empire builders like John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt are idealized for bootstrapping their way up from modest beginnings.
Jenner is not a titan of industry. Forbes reports she has fewer than 15 employees and outsources her manufacturing, packaging, sales and fulfillment.
But a titan of social media? You can bet her more than 128 million followers on Instagram she is.