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Culture

Oops, Kylie Jenner Lied About Being A Billionaire

By Elizabeth Condra·· 5 min read
kylie-jenner photo cred Toni Anne Barson WireImage
Toni Anne Barson/WireImage

The world was hardly surprised when Kylie Jenner was named the youngest ever “self-made” billionaire in 2019 by financial powerhouse Forbes Magazine.

As the founder of Kylie Cosmetics, a multimillion-dollar business, in addition to media appearances and social media earnings as an influencer, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that the then 21 year old was a billionaire, though there were criticisms over the fact that Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian clan, is hardly “self-made.”

At the time, Forbes revealed that Kylie Cosmetics was a $900 million company. That, plus her revenue garnered as its founder, tipped her over the billion dollar mark. 

But recent reports reveal that Kylie no longer has billionaire status, at least in Forbes’ eyes. The publication now estimates that Jenner’s worth is closer to that original $900 million and not the $1 billion that was originally claimed. While the differentiation between millionaire and billionaire is hardly relevant to most of us, the publication then went on to claim that Jenner and her mother/manager Kris Jenner intentionally lied about her earnings and have been deceiving the media since 2016. 

Forged Tax Returns

The Kardashian’s infamous “momager” Kris Jenner has been involved with Kylie Cosmetics (first known as Kylie Lip Kits) since the beginning, and she makes a 10% “management fee” in exchange for handling the brand’s public relations. But it would seem that Kris covers a lot more bases than what’s in her job description.

Forbes now estimates that Jenner’s worth is closer to that original $900 million and not the originally claimed $1 billion. 

The now-infamous Forbes exposè alleges that Kylie’s company, with her momager at the helm, forged tax returns to give Kylie Cosmetics and its founder a much more financially successful profile than was accurate. 

Coty buys majority in Kylie Cosmetics.

The logic behind this originally was a $600 million deal with Coty Inc., an older but well-established brand that bought a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics in January. At the time, the deal appeared to benefit Coty more than it did Kylie — a struggling cosmetic brand taking on the power and influence of a newer, younger, and fresher company that had seemingly unrestrained growth and appeal. 

But now it looks like the deal was in fact the other way around. Madeline Berg and Chase Peterson-Withorn, the authors responsible for publishing the original Forbes piece, explain: “In the deal’s fine print, a less flattering truth emerged. Filings released by publicly traded Coty over the past six months lay bare one of the family’s best-kept secrets: Kylie’s business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe.” 

It seems ridiculous that a reputable publication like Forbes would publish such a story without confidently having the proof to back it up.

For their part, the Jenners claim these accusations are “absolutely false.” But either way, Kylie got her August 2018 Forbes cover, and for the royal family of reality television, any publicity is good publicity. 

Are We Even Surprised Anymore by What Momager Kris Will Do for Her Family?

Whether tax returns were forged, and whether momager Kris or Kylie (or both of them) is responsible, we might never find out. The acclaim, praise, and criticism alike that Kylie’s label has garnered from the billionaire tag has given more free publicity to her business and herself as a media personality than even the savviest PR manager could wrangle, which is likely what Kris was striving for all along.

Either way, it’s not impossible to believe that a manager who allegedly leaked her own daughter’s sex tape to the public would forge tax returns for another daughter to make her business appear more profitable. 

The praise and criticism alike that Kylie’s label has garnered from the billionaire tag has given free publicity to her business and herself.

It stands to reason though — even without the billionaire label — that Kylie would still have seen success and a profitable business as a member of the family and as an influencer. While Forbes’ allegations are serious and would be damning to anyone else, the Kardashian/Jenners will most likely come out on top, as they’re prone to do. Kylie is still a multimillionaire, whatever doubts the financial world may have, but for her manager, that might not be enough.

Closing Thoughts

There’s been a trend within the Kardashian/Jenner family within recent years that Kylie herself is a prime example of: showing the world she won’t fit into their box. While Kylie is the little sister of Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney, and literally grew up on television in front of America, she’s also a successful business owner and mother to boot. 

Media can be a fickle thing though, and as with any situation, the truth comes out eventually. Even though the Jenners dispute the allegations, it seems ridiculous that a reputable publication like Forbes would publish such a story without confidently having the proof to back it up.

Kylie, for her part, claims not to be bothered and took to Twitter after the piece was released to say so. Whether it bothers momager Kris, and what steps she might take to rectify the situation, is a different issue entirely.

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