It's official; Kim Kardashian West can join the likes of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Snapchat's Evan Spiegel atop the Mount Olympus of tech entrepreneurs. While she might have taken a slightly different route, this month's Forbes cover story cements Kim's reputation as reigning queen of "the new mobile moguls."
The magazine reports that Kim has made $45 million from the mobile game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which she launched two years ago. Since then, she's introduced her own range of emojis, or "Kimojis," for purchase -- as well as related merchandise.
As Kim herself explains in the article, broadening her horizons and exploring the tech world felt like a natural next step: "I realised this is really going to be the next cycle of my career and this is what I want to focus on." Consumers are spending less time on broadcast television and more online; it makes sense that Kim would follow suit.
The Forbes cover tells us that "anyone with a following can cash in" and become a mobile mogul, just like Kim. But is this really the case? Sure, other personalities have used their popularity as a springboard; PewDiePie, Zoella and even Chewbacca Mom come to mind. But Forbes' assertion that all it takes to replicate Kim's success is followers seems to imply that audiences will lap up whatever is fed to them, and we now know that not to be true.
What sets Kim apart from other influencers?
We keep hearing about how much consumers crave authenticity -- and Kim is nothing if not entirely herself, whether it be turning her personal life into a reality show or posting naked photos on Instagram. She upended the traditional Hollywood "fallen woman" narrative by embracing the controversy surrounding her sex tape, taking full ownership of the scandal and refusing to be shamed or exploited, and in the process won herself new female fans who saw her actions as empowering.
Kim's lasting appeal also might have something to do with her hyper-awareness of celebrity culture, and of her own place within it. This is the woman whose backside "broke the internet" -- and naturally, said buttocks are now available as a Kimoji. Here is someone who understands social media better than most marketers (just look at how she leveraged Twitter and Snapchat to take down Taylor Swift), not to mention the Internet's ever-changing appetite for memes. It is this knowledge of her medium and her audience that will ensure she remains a lasting, relevant point of reference.
She's divisive as hell, with people quick to demean her or defend her depending on their own perspective; either way, they're talking about her. If fame is a game, nobody knows the rules better than Kim. As she herself puts it: "Not bad for a girl with no talent."
A version of this article originally appeared at Ogilvydo.