While reality TV has faced significant criticism since its rise in popularity, there seems to be more demand for the television genre than ever before. The truth is, the way content is distributed and consumed has evolved, all thanks to the uptake of social media. The biggest beneficiary to social media hype has been reality TV. While we may only be in season 12 of the ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ since the show made its debut about a decade ago, the family is “in season” 365 days a year on social media. The reality TV phenomenon is inarguable, and now even the likes of Forbes are recognizing the genre with its own ranking, further showcasing the influence of reality TV. For the first time ever, Forbes released its ‘Highest-paid Reality Stars’ list, which highlighted how valuable the Kardashian/Jenner Empire is. I also loved the fact that this list illustrated the influence female stars have in the world of reality TV.
In a not-so-surprising move, reality TV’s first family dominated the list, occupying the first six spots, accounting for a startling $122.5 million in combined earnings. Of course, my absolute favourite, Kim Kardashian West cemented her position as the Queen of reality TV, raking in $51 million in earnings between June 2015 and June 2016, making her the top-earning reality star. Queen!
According to Forbes, about 40% of Kim’s earnings come from her high flying mobile game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. “If you work hard, you can break barriers,” the mobile mogul told Forbes. Kim is the epitome of digital entrepreneurship, making more money from her mobile businesses, including Instagram endorsements, KKW subscription app, Kimoji as well as her phone accessories with LuMee.
King Kylie ranked second, earning $18 million at age 19, all thanks to E!’s KUWTK, product collaborations with the likes of Pacsun, Topshop, Puma and Sinful Colors and a cut of profits from her Kylie Cosmetics. It’s incomprehensible how much Kylie Cosmetics generates in revenue, considering the company was started just this year. Forbes estimates that Kylie’s $29 lip kits are already generating nine-figure revenue. I believe Kylie has cracked the wealth code with her cosmetics business. She is constantly evolving her product offering and is already gearing for her first store opening. At the rate she is going, she might even dethrone Kim by the next ranking.
Kendall came in third with $17 million in reported earnings. No stranger to Forbes’ lists, Kenny is already a member of the brand’s ‘highest-paid models’ list, earning her the third spot alongside besties Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid. Kendall is part of the new generation models who have leveraged their huge social media presence to generate dollars. Her reported deals with Estée Lauder and Calvin Klein as well as her Kendall + Kylie game contributed to the increase in her earnings this year.
KhloMoney ranks fourth, banking $15 million in 2016. Forbes reports that Khloe’s earnings are on the rise thanks to her new venture, Good American jeans, a new book, and lots of social media endorsements. Khloe is also counting down to the launch of her new E! make-over show, Revenge Body, which launches early January 2017.
Kourtney and Momager Kris round out the rest of the list, earning $11.5 million and $10 million respectively. The only person not named Kardashian or Jenner on the list? Bethenny Frankel. The star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City is the only “Housewife” to make the cut, thanks to payouts from her Skinnygirl alcohol brand, which she sold to Beam in 2011 for an estimated $100 million. As part of the acquisition, Frankel told Forbes she would be getting on going payments based on the Skinnygirl beverages performance. Who knew Bethany was such a business savvy woman?!
In totally unrelated news, it’s time for the Kardashians to get their stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. They have completely transformed the world of entertainment, and are inspiring a fresh breed of celebrity, while making millions. The beauty of social media is that it has turned normal folks into reality-content producers and is creating mini-Kardashians and emerging millionaires in everyone. I’m here for it.