The Kardashians are known best for their social media presence and hit reality TV show. Recently Kim Kardashian was under fire for her comments about women in the workforce.
In an interview with her family, Kim was asked if she has advice for working women. "Get your f***ing ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days," she told Variety. The backlash online arrived quickly, and Jessica DeFino was one of the first people to speak out about Kim's comments.
Jessica DeFino Couldn't Even Afford to Pay For Gas When She Worked For the Kardashians
Jessica was an assistant editor for the Kardashian apps, which were being produced by Whalerock Industries. Although the apps are no longer in business, Jessica wrote an essay for Vice explaining what it was really like working for the Kardashian name. Although she was living out Kim's advice of working your ass off, she wasn't reaping the rewards. In fact, she was drowning financially and could barely pay her bills.
"When I read Kardashian’s original quote about women not working hard, I thought of the labor I put into launching the Kardashian Jenner Official Apps—days, nights, holidays, weekends, whenever and wherever I was needed. I wasn’t alone," Jessica wrote. "I spoke to two former employees who worked on the apps and two former employees of KKW Beauty, Kim Kardashian’s cosmetics line, all of whom described an environment of overwork at the expense of their mental and sometimes physical health, as well as their career advancement."
Jessica says she really did try her best and she thought she just had to pay her dues, because this is what you need to do when you work for A-list celebrities. "I wanted to get my fucking ass up, I wanted to be in that room, I wanted to climb the corporate ladder, whatever. I wanted to work. I just couldn’t afford to get there," she said.
There came a point when Jessica couldn't even afford to pay for the gas that would get her from her apartment to the office. She was only making $35,000 a year, which is an incredibly low salary in Los Angeles, especially considering her experience writing and producing "celebrity features" for magazines like Elle and Harper's Bazaar. She resorted to buying groceries at the 99 cent store. She even considered selling her eggs or her plasma.
It wasn't because the apps were unsuccessful. Apparently, 600,000 people subscribed to Kylie Jenner's app in the first two days it was released. It's estimated that the apps generated $32,000,000 from the monthly subscriptions in a single year.
"My frustration was matched only by my determination," Jessica continued. "I threw myself into the work to show my supervisors that I deserved more—a raise, a title change, anything. I suppose you could say my effort was recognized: I was soon voted Employee of the Week. I still have my colleagues’ nominations, scribbled anonymously on scraps of notebook paper."
But all she got in return was a free sample of Crème de la Mer. She shared accounts of other women who also worked there, shedding light on the "exploitative" nature of the office environment.
The Kardashian reps have never responded when asked for their comments on the matter.