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Watch their show if you want, buy their products if you love them, but do not for a second think this is anything more than entertainment.
*Harriet Pudney is a beauty aficionado and former Stuff journalist who lives in Melbourne.
OPINION:In my working life, I’ve spent a lot of time adjacent to influencers and celebrities. Some of them are funny, professional and relaxed, some of them are rude and demanding, most of them are a different height than you were expecting.
All of them, though, have monetised their personal lives, and turned their private moments into a pay cheque.
A few years ago you would have seen a halfway feminist argument that this was empowering: women are judged for our appearances anyway, so why not clip the ticket? And look, people really can do whatever they want. But the older I get, the more I think it is profoundly inadvisable to sell your inner life to advertisers. Once it’s out there, you cannot get it back.
And people will get bored of you. Even the Kardashian-Jenner family, who all but invented this line of work, have found their stars dimming in recent years. After 15 years at the top, these women now find their audience is tired of the glossy, edited version of reality they broadcast.
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The new iteration of their show, The Kardashians (compared to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, obviously) works very hard to both keep us at a distance and invite us in. Travis Scott’s Astroworld catastrophe, where 10 concert goers died, isn’t mentioned, but Khloe Kardashian does speak to camera about her social anxiety on red carpets. The tone is hard to comprehend.
Never more so than when Kylie Jenner says, in the season three trailer, that she’s having regrets about her various cosmetic enhancements.
“All of us just need to have a bigger conversation about the beauty standards that we’re setting,” Jenner says. “I don’t want my daughter to do the things I did…I wish I never touched anything to begin with.”
Jenner started getting lip injections when she was 16, and has always denied anything more invasive. I’m unconvinced, but sure. The fact is Jenner, and her older sisters, have made untold millions of dollars pushing the idea that if you buy their lip kits ($60) and skincare ($151 for a face oil from SKKN) you can look like they do. They don’t even look like they do: their images are carefully selected and then edited to within an inch of their lives.
While celebrities are people too, and Jenner undoubtedly has some feelings about messing with her face so young, you’ll find it hard to convince me that this latest disclosure is anything other than a PR strategy.
The market has changed. People now respond more to authenticity, perceived or otherwise, than they do to gloss. If the Kardashians want to retain their relevance, they’re going to have to at least look like they’re reckoning with the impact they’ve had on the world. Look at the heat they cop every time they post about travelling by private jet. Wealth for wealth’s sake doesn’t have the appeal it used to.
Don’t be fooled. Watch their show if you want, buy their products if you love them, but do not for a second think this is anything more than entertainment.
And speaking of products, cop the Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick, $28, instead of Kylie’s version, and scrub your lips before applying. It’s just about indistinguishable.
As for Kim’s SKKN oil, opt for the Antipodes Divine Face Oil, $42, instead. Made with rosehip and avocado oils, this is a dream as a last step at night, or mixed into your foundation for a dewier, more hydrated look.
It doesn’t come with a full explanation of the feud between Kim and Kourtney, but hey, it doesn’t need to.