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Over the years, Kim Kardashian has moved from the pages of the tabloids to the cover of Forbes. To trace that journey in the public eye in honor of Kardashian’s 40th birthday, which is on Oct. 21, Yahoo Entertainment spoke with Daily Mail TV senior correspondent (and former E! News correspondent) Alicia Quarles, who took us through this one-of-a-kind celebrity’s evolution.
Quarles shares that before Kardashian was a household name, she came onto the scene as Paris Hilton’s best friend and “sidekick.” It wasn’t until her sex tape with Ray J was leaked, in 2007, that she blew up internationally.
This may have been the first major instance in which she proved that she could turn a scandal into success. “Some of her biggest wins have been things that people have put their nose up about,” says Quarles.
Shortly after the sex tape was leaked, the first season of Keeping up with the Kardashians premiered, allowing the whole world to follow along with Kim and her family, and watch her evolve over the years.
Quarles adds, “We saw this evolution of Kim Kardashian from sex tape to businessperson to wife to mother to then saying that she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and go to law school.”
While Kardashian’s social media presence is nearly unmatched, it’s no surprise that she’s taken the selfie game to a whole new level — and practically invented the photo trend back in the day. In 2015, her book Selfish, featuring Kardashian's personal selfies, became a New York Times Bestseller.
In just two years, the entrepreneur managed to come out with four fragrances, but she didn’t stop there. Kardashian’s beauty line, KKW Beauty, is worth over $500 million. She started a trend, Quarles explains, that dictated celebrities don’t have to be penned in by branding fragrances alone. “They can cross over into the beauty game, too, and be taken seriously,” she says.
But in spite of the empire that Kardashian has built for herself, why do many still deem her as someone with no talent? “Before reality TV really hit and before social media, you had to do something,” Quarles shares. “You had to be an actress, you had to be a model, you had to be a singer.” Kardashian, though, represents a “new wave of celeb.” She may be famous for being famous, but there’s no denying that everything she touches turns to gold.
“People kind of laughed her off, but now she laughs all the way to the bank,” says Quarles. “She’s a billionaire.”
Video produced by Jenny Miller
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