Well-endowed socialite Kim Kardashian has managed to transform her family's celebrity into a very lucrative business. Although she's a common sight on various media channels, interest in Kardashian continues to grow. In fact, her own personal website received more than 40 million unique visitors per month at the time of publication. Clearly, Kardashian has some admirable entrepreneurial skills. Along with her sisters, Khloé and Kourtney, and her mom, Kris Jenner, she's been successful at creating a multi-faceted Kardashian brand. According to The Huffington Post, the family earned $65 million in 2010.
Early Family Life
Kim Kardashian wasn't always a media darling. She was born on October 21, 1980. Her sister, Kourtney was just a 1-year-old at the time. Sister Khloé was born in 1984 and Brother Robert, Jr., came along in 1987. Her father, Robert Kardashian, attained notoriety in 1994 as O.J. Simpson's defense attorney following the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. Kim Kardashian's parents divorced in 1990, and her father died of cancer in 2003. Her mother eventually married athlete Bruce Jenner. Jenner had four children as well, and the marriage created a blended family which Kim Kardashian refers to as "a modern-day 'Brady Bunch.'"
Kim Kardashian began her career as a fashion stylist catering to the wealthy and famous. She soon developed a reputation for her edgy sense of style and became a personal shopper for many of the stars. In 2006, she shifted her focus to brick-and-mortar business Dash, an upscale designer clothing store that she opened with her two sisters. She counted singer Brandy and Lindsey Lohan among her customers. Soon she began dating Brandy's brother, Ray J.
Although she was well-known in Hollywood circles, Kim Kardashian found herself on the front page of national tabloids after a sex tape surfaced involving her and boyfriend Ray J. Although she initially denied reports of the tape, it soon surfaced all over the Internet. Kim Kardashian sought to stop the tape from being sold and distributed, but she ran into several roadblocks. Eventually, she reached a deal with Vivid Entertainment in 2007 that allowed them to distribute the tape. Ray J. has since sought credit for "creating Kim Kardashian" and turning her into a household name.
Soon after the sex tape put the Kardashian name into the news once again, E! offered the entire family the opportunity to star in their own reality series. Called "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," the series was an instant success for the network. Lisa Berger, executive vice president of original programming and series development for E!, said that "the buzz surrounding the series was huge." Much of the first season focused on Kim Kardashian making a decision on whether or not to pose for Playboy. She appeared in the magazine at the end of 2007. Kim Kardashian's fame continues to rise. She's been on "Dancing with the Stars," and she continues to work on her highly rated realty show. She's licensed her name to clothing lines, watches, perfume and swimsuits. Kim Kardashian has also wrapped up lucrative endorsement deals for skincare products, diet products and candles. She's making the most of her marketable persona.
- TMZ: Kim Kardashian
- HipHopWired; Ray J Says He "Created Kim Kardashian;" Jason Weintraub; February 2011
- People: Kim Kardashian Biography
- kimkardashian.celebuzz: Bio
- Huffington Post; The Kardashians' $65 Million 2010 Income: How'd They Do It?; February 2011
- Buddy TV; E! Renews 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians'; Lisa Claustro; November 2007
- Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images