It was announced on Saturday morning that model, reality TV star, and social media breakout Kendall Jenner (note she is using her surname now) is the newest member of the Estée Lauder family. Her visage will appear alongside current models Carolyn Murphy, Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, and Constance Jablonski.
It’s no wonder that the iconic brand choose Jenner. A relative newcomer to the modeling world, she only has one full season under her PacSun belt. But, in this newfangled age of social media, 30 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter speaks volumes. And it doesn’t seem that Estée Lauder is making any bones about why they are keen to work with Jenner either. Jane Hertzmark Hudis, the brand’s Global Brand President, stated in the release that, ”[Kendall] is the ultimate instagirl, and we are excited to leverage her image, voice, energy and extraordinary social media power to introduce Estée Lauder to millions of young women around the world.” (By comparison, Burberry, one of the most successful fashion brands to capitalize on social has over 23.3 million collective followers while Estée Lauder has just over 2 million. Additionally, Kendall has infinitely more followers than Carolyn, Joan, Liu, and Constance combined!)
It’s a pretty genius move that is already paying off. Estée Lauder managed to nab 30k new Instagram followers over the weekend, and that social currency translates to a lot of lipsticks. A heritage brand like this one will suddenly find a KJ-obsessed crowd of millennials rushing to buy the makeup that was typically worn by their mothers. “Social media has created an entirely new cast of influencers, who tend to have very passionate followings within very specific spaces—from cooking to beauty to street style,” says Joe Assad, Chief Operating Officer of NYC-based agency Vowel Digital. “Kendall Jenner falls into a different category because her audience is likely more broad, which certainly appeals in this case a major brand. Knowing you are bringing someone who can work in your advertising creative while also delivering a very sizable audience with her is that sweet spot that so many brands are looking for these days. The strategy has to be tailored for the category and the consumer base but here you can see where all the right boxes were checked.”
It’s the perfect synergy, and Jenner must be being paid handsomely as the Pied Piper of the young and fabulous. One model agent that we spoke to said that while contracts like these typically go for anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 per year, Kendall’s contract could be at least a million per year based on her impressive following. Not bad for a 19-year-old who reportedly is already worth $2.5m through her reality show and ongoing endorsements.
Another agent that we spoke to said that that figure could be exaggerated since Kendall has never asked for special treatment and would rather go through the paces like any young model. She reportedly doesn’t get paid any differently than the other girls to walk in runway shows (those rates are quite meager), attends all the castings, and wants to build her career from the ground up based on reputation alone.
So what does the world think? Reactions have been mixed—especially from Estée’s longstanding customer base—since people love to hate the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
Check out the video above for Kendall’s take on the situation in which even she can’t believe her luck. “I didn’t really expect it to happen this quickly,” she says. “It’s so crazy.”
Of course, she also picks her favorite Estée products. Just in case you’re in the mood to shop.
Where do you stand on this appointment?