Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Alex Webb

The Kardashians Herald the Age of Instagram Billionaires

Kim subverted the old compact between advertiser, publisher and paparazzo. But Facebook will want its cut too.

No filter.

No filter.

Photographer: Angela Weiss/AFP

Kim Kardashian West might have made her name on reality television, but she has made her fortune thanks to Instagram. The irony is that, while she drives a vast amount of traffic to the Facebook Inc.-owned social media platform, the photo-sharing app itself doesn’t make much of a cut.

Forbes now reckons she’s a billionaire. Let’s set aside the assertion that it’s “official” for a second — it is, after all, just an estimate and the magazine previously revoked her sister Kylie Jenner’s billionaire status. However you slice it, West is a fabulously wealthy woman. And she’s built that fortune by parlaying her fame into a media brand that helps her sell products, not just through sponsored Insta posts, but also items from KKW Beauty, the makeup label she founded in 2017, and Skims, the shapewear line she launched a year later.