Kylie Jenner’s wealth was not self-made; it was ready-made. Last week, Forbes lauded Kylie Jenner for being on the verge of becoming the youngest self-made billionaire. With a net-worth of about 900 million dollars, she is just shy of being a billionaire. After the article was released, a campaign was started to get Kylie to billion-dollar net worth. But much of Puerto Rico is still without power, Flint Michigan still has poison for water, teachers still have to buy their own classroom supplies on meager salaries, and the homeless population continues to grow. If people are looking for something to throw their money at, I can compile an endless list of worthy causes that don’t involve making the rich richer.
Let’s be clear; Kylie Jenner was born into extreme wealth and never knew a life close to poverty. She had access to millions of dollars, property, and assets before she was 18 years old. She is not business savvy and should not be applauded for her business acumen. The Kardashian-Jenner family makes money by merely stamping their names on products and showing up to events and for their reality tv show; Kylie’s “success” is derived from the same.
To call Kylie self-made is an insult to individuals who started businesses in garages or the trunks of their cars, sunk their life savings into their first businesses, or who quit their job to open a store of their own. They risked it all on their dreams and worked to see them through to fruition without the head start of being born into a prominent family. They should be applauded and celebrated.
Calling Kylie Jenner a self-made millionaire is like buying a cake from a bakery and passing off as the cake you made from scratch. Having young people look up to her as if she is the blueprint for success is harmful at best. We need to highlight more stories about people who built wealth from nothing but their blood sweat and tears. Let’s highlight how those people encountered failure and disappointment and succeeded after facing every obstacle imaginable. Our young people need to have the playbook for how to succeed when the odds are stacked against them. In the meantime, we need to continue to fight to make sure we end income inequality, make education more affordable and accessible, and make sure we all have equal access to capital to start up businesses. Doing so will produce more millionaires and billionaires who are genuinely self-made.