Feb 1st, 2019, 02:32 PM

Famous for Being Famous

By Cristina Mendoza
The Kardashian/Jenner women
The Kardashian and Jenner women Image Credit: instagram.com/kimkardashian
A glimpse into why we have kept up with the Kardashians for over a decade.

Million dollar cars, multi-million dollar homes, private jets, huge diamonds and closets full of Birkin bags — a dream to most people but a reality for the Kardashians. For the past 12 years, the family has dominated reality TV and the media as they've become fashion icons and makeup moguls. They’re experts in staying relevant and making their fans want more of them by giving us a look into their most intimate moments and showing off their outrageous fortunes. Why have we, as a society, paid so much attention with admiration and scrutiny, to their glamorously extravagant lifestyles? With falling rates of viewership, it's becoming questionable as to whether or not their reign is sustainable. 

As the queens of social media, the Kardashian sisters seem to always have some sort of presence on every social media app and in tabloid headlines. They’re shameless self-promoters and know how to keep their names in circulation. Whether it’s Kim posting selfies on Snapchat, Kylie announcing her newest lip kit collection, or articles about Kourtney going on vacation with Scott and his new girlfriend, it’s undeniable that the sisters have become omnipresent in our lives. Regardless of what you think of them, they’ve managed to build multi-million dollar businesses based on their brand and usage of the media. 

A 2018 Calvin Klein ad featuring the Kardashian/Jenner women. Image Credit: instagram.com/kimkardashian

Are we material obsessed beings? Not necessarily. Their fortunes are an integral part of their personas and one of the main storylines for their show as they constantly share their newest cars (Kylie recently got a new personalized Rolls Royce) and designer-filled wardrobes. However, they also manage to remind us that at their cores they’re human beings like everyone else. Many of the situations that they’ve shown on their episodes and discussed through social media such as fertility issues, marriage, births, family drama, and personal hardships are things that we “normal” people can relate to and feel empathic towards.

There’s something addictive about getting a look into another person’s drama and escaping your reality through a television episode. Add the glamour factor to that and you have a recipe for success that the Kardashians have perfected. Although their level of celebrity status and wealth is well out of reach for most of their viewers, it’s incredibly entertaining to see how the sisters interact with each other. 

By giving their viewers a look into their lives and having been around for over a decade, the family has managed to create emotional bonds with their fans. Even though most of us have never met them, they have managed to make us feel like we're close friends that truly know everything about them. Their fame is what initially connected them to their fans, but recently, it has begun to alienate them.

"I've always been someone who watches reality TV because of the entertainment aspect to it - there's always drama, chaos, and so much going on and to the viewer that's entertaining." -Leila Ostria

Leila Ostria, a Kardashian fan since the show began, agrees that feeling immersed in the show makes you feel like you know the family but also adds, "I think they've created unrealistic expectations and pressures for a lot of teens and young adults. I remember when it first came out and was a huge hit... that's when social media was not as big as it is now. They've transformed the way we use social media to highlight their 'perfect' looking lives. I feel like people now feel the pressure to also make their lives look perfect on social media."

Their glamorous way of life doesn't seem to be changing any time soon, but it appears as though their fans have started to move on. According to The Daily Mail UK, their last season's finale viewers dropped by 37% from its premiere. After 15 seasons and 12 years in the limelight, they have supersaturated our newsfeeds and the headlines. Ostria reveals, "I've supported them since they started, but now I feel like it's all relatively fake." Yes, they give us intimate access to the majority of events in their lives, but has it gone too far? The show has been heavily criticized in recent seasons for exploiting family dramas to try to re-capture their viewers and keep ratings high. 

An interview with the Kardashian/Jenner women on their fame and success

They’re not talented actors or musicians but they sure know how to entertain their fans. Today the influence the Kardashians have seems unfathomable. There are various theories as to why they even became famous, but the fact of the matter is that they’re some of the most talked about and watched people on the planet. We'll see how much longer they can keep their crowns as the queens of social media.