How ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ Changed Everything

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The reality show shaped not only TV but celebrity, beauty and entrepreneurship.The Kardashian-Jenners in 2011. From left: Khloe, kylie, Kris, Kourtney, Kim and Kendall.Credit…Matt Sayles/Associated PressPublished Sept. 9, 2020Updated Sept. 10, 2020, 4:43 a.m. ETThis week, the Kardashian-Jenner family announced that after 20 seasons, their namesake reality TV show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” would come to an end in 2021.When the program first aired in 2007, the leading family was known for its late patriarch, an attorney who represented O.J. Simpson; the Olympian who married in; and a daughter whose personal life was exposed in a pornographic video leak. But within years of the premiere, the women of the family and their matriarch “momager” became, in their own right, some of the most famous and influential people in the world.For the show’s loyal fans, its final season means the end of an era of entertainment and access to the stars’ personal lives, which the show has documented in sometimes unsparing detail. Even for non-watchers, the show’s impact may be felt; after all, the influence of “K.U.W.T.K.” on celebrity, beauty, entrepreneurship and status can be seen on magazine covers and social media, in shopping malls and e-commerce, and on people’s faces.Here are a few of the ways the show changed not only TV, but culture at large:It Made Celebrities of a Regular-Rich FamilyIn its early seasons, the self-aware tackiness of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” was evinced in the opening credits. The family, dressed in sequins and satin, stands against a cityscape backdrop. A goofy whistling tune plays as they pose for the camera and jockey for attention. These people, with their generously sized home and seemingly relaxed work schedules, are clearly well-off. But they’re also striving.Fast forward seven years, and Kim is on the cover of Vogue with her husband, Kanye West. A few more years, and kylie, the youngest, is named a billionaire (a designation since amended, but still, she’s loaded). All of them are owners of multi-million-dollar homes, followed by multiple millions of people on social media, and vastly rich in entrepreneurial ventures.It’s easy to say it could have happened to any family; even now, the idea that the Kardashians are “famous for doing nothing” remains persistent. But it wasn’t any family. And the numbers keep getting bigger. BONNIE WERTHEIMImageKylie Cosmetics on display at Ulta Beauty.Credit…David Dee Delgado/Getty ImagesIt Built a Multi-Brand EmpireFirst there was the store (R.I.P. Dash). Then the beauty collections (kylie Cosmetics taught the world about “lip kits”); a hit video game (Kim Kardashian: Hollywood); the clothing lines (Skims; Good American; Kendall + kylie, for the younger fans; and the Kardashian Kollection, for the thriftier ones, sold at Sears); the sci-fi books (thank Kendall and kylie for those); a prepaid credit card; and countless brand collaborations.It’s not unusual for celebrities and influencers to create products that bear their names. What makes the Kardashians different is their promotion of said bra
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