‘It seems like nobody wants to work these days.’
Denying that this family has worked hard would be a misstep. There’s a reason ‘the devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder’ has become a phrase repeated time and time again across the internet.
Those who watched KUWTK from the start witnessed the eldest trio manage several DASH boutiques, endorse random brands for the sake of a paycheque, summon paparazzi to their location to appear relevant, and make appearances at off-brand events to climb amongst the ranks of other celebrities.
For example, in the late 2000’s Kim K became the spokesperson for LA bakery Famous Cupcakes. It’s an endorsement she would later say ‘made no sense’ due to being a self-proclaimed health nut, but one she agreed to for the sake of gaining recognition and income.
The Kardashians also allowed the good, bad, and ugly moments of their lives to be recorded and broadcasted to the international public for over a decade, something most of us would find unbearable for a single episode.
So yes, these women have done jobs they didn’t really want to do and have shown up where to places they didn’t really care to be. And yes, this makes them somewhat like us – after all, haven’t we all had to fight off Sunday Scaries after realising we’ll need to drag ourselves into work on Monday morning?
That clarification made, it’s impossible to ignore that this family has had a major leg up on the rest of the world.
Born in the Hollywood Hills and held in the arms of celebrity aunts and uncles before they could even say ‘Dior’, the Kardashians are the textbook definition of white privilege.
It’s no secret that their father Robert Kardashian left behind $100 million in trust when he passed away and these factors (amongst others) undoubtedly leveraged them to land where they are today – with Kim earning upwards of 1 million USD for a single sponsored Instagram post.
So when Kim K, who earns with a few taps on her iPhone 13 what most won’t make over the course of 20 years, said: ‘I have the best advice for women in business: get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days,’ something inside me snapped.
With no way of knowing if this was a dig at her own Hollywood acquaintances – perhaps she’s watched them flake on brand deals or public appearances, then complain about not being in their seven-figure bag – it’s hard not to feel like this statement was directed at her so-called haters or the general public.
As did Molly-Mae’s proclamation of ‘we all have 24 hours in a day,’ Kim’s statement perpetuates the myth that poor people find themselves in such a position because they are lazy.
Aristocrats, politicians, celebrities, and pain-old rich people love this view, as it justifies hoarding wealth while the working class lives paycheque to paycheque simply because they don’t work as hard.
From this perspective, people aren’t poor because of social or racial inequalities. They’re also not poor due to being born without generational wealth, an inability to access higher education (without delving deeper into debt), having to support other family members financially, or having disabilities which prevent them from working.
Kim wants us to know that if we actually wanted to be as rich as her, we totally, like, could. I’m genuinely crying and shaking at this revelation. She added, ‘With all respect, and with love, I’m not, like, being a bitch.’
Yikes. With respect and love, Kim, I have news for you.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s unfathomable amounts of wealth, there’s likely an army of people tasked with carrying out gruelling, hard labour for a minuscule slice of that wealth, right? Nine times out of ten, the answer is yes.
In 2014, the Kardashians came under fire when their sponsorships and personally owned brands were revealed to be manufactured in Chinese sweatshops where child labour and poor working conditions were a reality. Workers earned as little as $1 an hour, while Kim was then earning $65m a year.
In 2021, Kim’s domestic workers sued her for not paying their wages on time, for refusing to pay overtime, for not allowing mandated breaks, and for providing poor working conditions. Not to mention the numerous reports from unpaid interns who were hired to work for businesses owned by the family.
There’s no question the Kardashians work, but the type of labour they’re carrying out is comparatively glamourous to what blue collar workers in Turkey, China, and the USA are doing in order to generate the products that drive the family’s wealth.
It also goes without saying that these same hardworking employees are unlikely to be arriving to work in Rolls Royces or flying out on vacation in their own private jets.
The statements made in the Variety interview highlight everything that’s wrong with contemporary celebrity culture. Today, anyone with an established audience can use their platform to amass further wealth through new business ventures.
It’s clear that when the ball of wealth and media attention gets rolling, the next step is to hire teams of people to ensure that it keeps moving. A great example of this is the countless singers and actors who have started lucrative makeup brands in recent years, despite the market being completely oversaturated.
But for average people with fantastic and innovative business ideas, just attempting to become an entrepreneur entails massive financial risk.
Entrepreneurship requires taking out business loans (given that they aren’t rejected for this request based on age, race, or gender) and possibly quitting a full-time job to make time to pursue their dream. These, amongst other sacrifices, aren’t realistic for those who rely on steady employment for the income they need to survive.
And for most people around the world, labour isn’t confined to the hours of 9-5. A wide majority of women in Kim’s age bracket engage in additional hours of domestic labour well beyond the standard working day. They’ll have children at home to care for, feed, bathe, and put to bed once getting home, all without the help from nannies and assistants.
To be very clear, there’s nothing wrong with being a famous and successful businesswoman of the Kardashian clan’s calibre.
But perpetuating the myth that – in a market driven by capitalism – everyone starts out with the same level of opportunity and operates within the same playing field after the fact is a gross interpretation of the society we live in.
In response to people who think the Kardashians don’t deserve to be where they are, Kim says, ‘Who gives a fuck? We focus on the positive. We work our asses off. If that’s what you think, then sorry. We just don’t have the energy for that. We don’t have to sing or dance or act; we get to live our lives — and hey, we made it. I don’t know what to tell you.’
Don’t tell us to work harder, Kim. Please just collect your coin and go.