Kylie Jenner: the secret of the K factor
At 25, she has built a millionaire empire, is the most followed on Instagram, and has two children - Kylie Jenner reveals where her strength comes from. That extended family so famous...
The American dream no longer has a first name, but a last name: Kardashian. Or rather: Kardashian-Jenner. The world's most famous extended family is a reality that surpasses any fantasy, an all-female clan: mother and matriarch Kris Jenner with daughters Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé (from first husband Robert Kardashian) plus Kendall and Kylie (from second husband Caitlyn Marie Jenner).
Six women, six letter "K's" that have literally knocked out everything we thought we knew about celebrity: first with a reality show (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, 260 episodes for 20 seasons total) and then with a following of zeros that is unmatched in the world (on Instagram alone, the six K's are followed by more than 1.5 billion people, to be precise, as I write this is 1. 559,500,000 in all), the Kardashian-Jenners have not only entertained the world, they have shaped its customs and habits, defining an aesthetic canon, the Kardashian canon precisely, that has been stamped into the dreams and nightmares, for better or worse, of contemporary culture.
In Paris, we meet the youngest of them, the spearhead: Kylie Jenner. Twenty-five years old, two children, according to reports just separated from husband Travis Scott, she heads a beauty product brand with a multimillion-dollar turnover. She is first among all by number of followers on Instagram (380 million) and is the first most followed woman in the world on social after two men (in order Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi).
I can only start here: how does it feel to be followed by 380 million people spying, commenting, criticizing her every move?
"The truth? I grew up in the TV spotlight since I was 9 years old. It has always been natural for me. Notoriety, exposure never got in the way of my personality. Fame came early in my life, in a way I can say it came naturally because I can't establish a real before or after-it has always been that way. And I can't make comparisons with my family either, because my family was not only there, with me: my family is also what keeps me grounded, strongly anchored in the reality of things. Of all things."
Tentative question: how do you survive criticism, hatred, venomous comments?
"Look, you can't even imagine what I've been able to read over the years about myself. But do you know what's new? I don't read the comments anymore. I've become strong and I've realized that I don't have to allow them into my life. Of course, you get reactions and sometimes it is impossible not to get caught up in something that is blatantly false. Even in these cases, my mirror is my family, friends, people who love me: they are the only ones who give me back the true image of me, who really know who I am."
How does it feel to have all this influence on contemporary culture, especially on the idea of beauty and women?
"I try not to think about all this responsibility. Since I was a child, I realized that I exerted a lot of influence: I used to dye my hair a certain way, and then when I met with the public, with my sisters, I would see so many women with hairstyles identical to mine. What I do, then, is simple: I strive to become a positive inspiration, I try to remain authentic, to never betray myself."
Your mother Kris is a key figure in your success story. What is your relationship with her?
"My mother is the strongest woman I know. From an early age she instilled in us the idea that we could do something great. I don't know how she does it, but she always manages to be perfect, perfect in every moment. As long as I was at home with her, she was my mom. When I left home, she became my best friend. And as far as business goes, my mom is my bulldog and my protector-I respect her so much."
What about her father?
"My father has always been there. At school, at all the plays, at sporting events. He was always there. He taught me one of the most important lessons: to learn to respect yourself, not to be afraid of who you are. It is a fundamental lesson."
Five sisters. Which one is her favorite?
"It changes with time. Right now it's Kim."
"Kim has changed so much recently. We are very connected, she is always the first sister I call when I need something. We have gone through a lot of similar experiences lately."
Which sister, on the other hand, is most different from her?
"I grew up in the TV spotlight since I was nine years old. It's always been natural for me. Notoriety, exposure have never hindered my personality."
Tell me one thing you learned from each sister?
"So let's see. Khloé taught me tenderness and the ability to forgive, Kendall the importance of friendship and unconditional love, Kourtney the value of health and the need not to be superficial, Kim the strength, the ability to always tell yourself that you can do it, come what may. Kim is really strong, really resilient."
She is a mother of two. She has made no secret of the difficulties of pregnancy, the more problematic sides of motherhood. What is her advice to those who face episodes of depression after childbirth?
"I have experienced those episodes. Twice. The first one was very difficult, the second one more manageable. I would tell all of them not to think too much and to live all the emotions of that moment to the fullest. Stay inside that moment, even if it is painful. I know, in those moments you think that it will never pass, that your body will never be the same as before, that you will never be the same. That's not true: the hormones, the emotions at that stage are much, much more powerful and bigger than you. My advice is to live through that transition, without fear of the aftermath. The risk, then, is to miss all the most beautiful things of motherhood as well."
What are the things that excited you most about your motherhood?
"Finding myself in the hospital alone with a new and unknown creature in my arms. It's such a unique and special situation and it's all about building with these little diversities that you're learning about. There is another magical moment, though: when you bring your children home. It is perhaps the most beautiful moment."
Let's talk about your career as an entrepreneur in the world of beauty products with the Kylie Cosmetics line. Where did it all start?
"I was 15 years old and obsessed with lipstick. I never went out without it. I went to my mother and said, I'd like to create a beauty product line. She didn't take me seriously right away, however, then she started to believe in it and help me. We made many mistakes, however, mistakes are part of projects, they are necessary steps and maybe it is wrong to call them mistakes. Many of our companies are in Italy-I loved coming to your country, meeting people, studying projects together."
What is the product that came out best for you?
"Oh, difficult. I can tell you that yesterday I was obsessed with lipstick, today with Glow Balm, an illuminant that I always put on my cheekbones."
Who inspires her today?
"My children. And my family."
What are her two children like?
"The youngest is two years old. The oldest five. I am surprised by their personalities: they already know what they want, they are so determined. When I think of them, I get emotional, sorry. They are so tender and at the same time so strong."
How do you raise children?
"I try to offer them different choices. I am interested in the idea of imparting to them an education in control and responsibility in choices related to their lives. I think that is very important."
What makes her happy?
"Creativity. Doing creative work. I have to say that having reached this point, it's no longer the material things that really make me happy. I have experienced them. I know what they are and what they are worth. But happiness comes from family, friends, the connections I can make with people."
Where does the billion-dollar girl, the most followed woman in the world, want to be in ten years?
"Oh my God, ten years. My daughter will be 15, my son 12. And I will be older. I'm expanding my horizons and for sure my plans don't end here, in fact they will go further and soon you will see. Maybe I will want to have more children. I would certainly like to grow as a person and devote myself more to charitable endeavors-it is important to give back some of the good fortune you receive."