Celebrity

Kylie Jenner's Forbes cover has been shaded in an epic way, but is the criticism fair?

Kylie Jenner has been proclaimed the youngest “self-made” almost-billionaire but people are taking issue with the "self-made" part.

By Kate Wagner

Kylie Jenner is only 20-years-old and she's amassed an impressive net worth of $900 million. With only (lol) $100 million to go, she's set to become the youngest "self-made" billionaire ever.

The thing is, calling her self-made ignores a pretty incredible head start she was afforded by her family.

Not to say she isn't successful — or worthy of that success — but people are taking issue with the "self-made" label. Even Dictionary.com got in on the act... handily giving us a definition of "self-made":

Sick burn, huh?

But they're not the only ones:

Kylie used press about her lips to her advantage, and used "some $250,000 of her earnings from modelling gigs to pay an outside company to produce the first 15,000 lip kits".

Forbes also writes how she cultivated the lips kits' success: "Basically, all Jenner does to make all that money is leverage her social media following. Almost hourly, she takes to Instagram and Snapchat, pouting for selfies with captions about which Kylie Cosmetics shades she's wearing, takes videos of forthcoming products and announces new launches."

Now, this isn't a new concept — for as long as there's been consumerism, there have been celebrity endorsements — all Kylie's doing is monetising her celebrity to the extreme.

Kylie's been in the public eye since she was 10-years-old, thanks to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and it's undoubtedly her famous family — the Kardashian brand — that helped her accrue 110m followers on Instagram.

The person she's threatening to knock off the throne is Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't become a billionaire until the embarrassingly old age of 23. With a psychiatrist mum and dentist dad, raised in the wealthy area of Westchester County, people have certainly had worse starts that the Facebook CEO, but he's in a completely different league to the youngest Jenner.

Kylie also has momager extraordinaire Kris — the real self-made woman in this situation —guiding and funding her ventures at every step.

It might just be semantics, but dubbing Kylie as "self-made" does seem to ignore the extreme wealth and influence exerted by her family. Her success is commendable but it comes by virtue of privilege.

Forbes insisting she's self-made, that she did it on her own, perpetuates the myth that poor people can simply stop being poor, that they are the sole master of their circumstance.

It's like those articles written by bitter baby boomers about how we need to stop complaining about the housing market because, look, these young kids own four houses! All they had was a loan from their parents to buy their first home, but now look — a real estate portfolio!

It's misleading and it's frustrating.

She's certainly set to become the youngest billionaire — a bloody impressive feat — but calling her "self-made" is downright problematic.