Forbes officially named Kylie Jenner the youngest-ever self-made billionaire in March
Kylie Jenner has responded again to criticism that she is a “self-made” billionaire.
Earlier this month, Forbes officially named the Kylie Cosmetics mogul the youngest self-made billionaire ever — which left many wondering if the “self-made” label could apply to someone from a family like the Kardashians.
In a New York Times article published on Saturday, Jenner, 21, admitted that she “can’t say” she became a billionaire all on her own.
“I can’t say I’ve done it by myself,” Jenner told the newspaper. “If they’re just talking finances, technically, yes, I don’t have any inherited money. But I have had a lot of help and a huge platform.”
Jenner, who got her start as a preteen starring on her family’s hit reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians, was named the world’s youngest billionaire by Forbes in the magazine’s annual Billionaires 2019 ranking.
“I didn’t expect anything. I did not foresee the future,” Jenner told the outlet. “But [the recognition] feels really good. That’s a nice pat on the back.”
Driven by Kylie Cosmetics’ expansion into Ulta in 2018, the company’s revenue climbed 9 percent last year to an estimated $360 million, with the overall valuation of the brand estimated at $900 million, which Forbes called a “conservative” report. Jenner owns 100 percent of Kylie Cosmetics, which first launched in 2015 with three Lip Kits.
But Jenner’s billion-dollar empire also stems from her other earnings like an array of product endorsements (including sponsored posts for Fit Tea Wraps, waist trainer company Waist Gang Society and more), her KUWTK paycheck, the Kendall + Kylie clothing line and her Adidas partnership.
Overall, the businesswoman credits her booming success to the internet (she has over 130 million Instagram followers alone). “It’s the power of social media,” Jenner told Forbes. “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
“There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth,” she told the outlet. “That is the category that I fall under.”
Jenner did acknowledge that her family’s fame gave her a platform, but she said she’s been financially independent for the last six years.
“I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans,” told the magazine. “I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100 percent of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that.”
“I had such a huge platform, I had so many followers already and I had so many people watching me,” Kylie said, adding that “the self-made thing is true.”
“My parents told me I needed to make my own money, it’s time to learn how to save and spend your own money, stuff like that,” she told PAPER. “What I’m trying to say is I did have a platform, but none of my money is inherited.”
As seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians, she still lived with mom Kris until she turned 18, buying a $2.7 million Calabasas mansion in 2015. At the time, Kylie told InStyle U.K. that Kris had stopped funding her lifestyle three years earlier, though a source told PEOPLE, “getting cut off is more of a technicality.”
“She had a refrigerator full of food and all the luxuries that come with [living with] Mom but unless it was a gift, if she wanted a new Chanel bag, Kylie was the one paying for it,” the source said.
However, Kylie doesn’t feel like anything has changed since becoming a billionaire.
“I don’t define myself by how much I have,” she told PAPER. “I honestly don’t wake up even thinking about it.”