The Definitive Power Ranking of the Kardashians and Jenners (More or Less)
By James Patrick Herman
Seven years into its run, everyone knows that E!’s signature show should have long ago been renamed Keeping Up With Kim…and the Other Ones. But there are still three other Kardashians--and a total of eight Jenners--making cameo appearances and the occasional headline.
That’s why we’ve launched a new, hopefully annual list guaranteed to settle all your family holiday squabbles. Here is the first-ever Definitive Power Ranking of Kardashians and Jenners.*
It doesn’t matter if Kourtney and Khloe take the Hamptons, Miami and South Korea, for that matter--ratings-wise, they’ll never come close to touching their sister’s sizzle. And yet, in the world outside of reality TV, Kim’s appeal is evidently still underestimated and--according to Forbes, at least --drastically undervalued.
For instance, last year she earned a reported $28 million, which landed her at a respectable No. 80 on the magazine’s annual Celebrity 100 list. But since when did the words "Kim Kardashian" and "respectable" ever appear in the same sentence? (Even Anna Wintour admitted that putting Kim and husband Kanye West on Vogue’s cover was a strategically mainstream idea: "I think if we just remain deeply tasteful and just put deeply tasteful people on the cover, it would be a rather boring magazine," the editor said of her decision.) As Forbes snootily pointed out: Kim is "the only star to make our 2014 list with reality television as her main claim to fame." As if that’s a bad thing!
That claim is bigger than ever these days. Her NSFW Paper cover attempted to #BreakTheInternet (somewhat successfully). We expect the Queen of Social Media to come closer to the top next year--and to end up in the proximity of established female entertainment titans like Oprah and Ellen. After all, Kim stands to earn as much as $85 million this year from her explosively popular video game app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
Granted, Kim has suffered some staggering losses this year as well--including 1.3 million of her formerly 23 million followers that disappeared in the wake of the Great Instagram Purge of 2014, during which the popular photo-sharing app suddenly deleted faux followers disguised as spam accounts.
Despite that sizable blow to her virtual ego, Kim still easily tops our tally.
2. Kendall Jenner
With nearly 50 million followers between her Instagram and Twitter accounts, none of Kim’s siblings can reach anywhere near that No. 1 spot. Kendall Jenner--the elder daughter of Kris and her second husband, Olympic icon Bruce Jenner--has approximately half as many followers (25.3 million to be exact) between her Instagram and Twitter accounts. But unlike half-sisters Kourtney (25.7 million) and Khloe (26.7 million), Kendall has youth on her side--and therefore tremendous future earning potential.
Kendall also has the unqualified blessing of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who instead of considering Kendall’s relative "tasteful" merits (as she did with Kim) praised Estée Lauder’s "fantastic" decision to make Kendall their new face. Wintour even celebrated the 19-year-old aspiring model with a 10-page spread in the January issue of her fashion bible--right on the heels of a 13-page feature the previous month.
3. Kourtney Kardashian
As Forbes noted, somewhat harshly: "Both Kourtney and Khloe command significantly less money for public appearances, and--despite their fair share of tabloid covers--can’t compete with Kim’s prowess dominating both traditional and social media." But at least Kourtney, who recently gave birth to her third child with boyfriend Scott Disick, keeps reproducing. Talk about future earning potential!
4. Khloe Kardashian
Meanwhile, Khloe is technically still stuck in a relationship with former NBA player and allegedly cheating husband, Lamar Odom. Although she filed divorce papers in December 2013, she was reportedly spotted signing autographs as "Khloe Kardashian-Odom" at a recent Los Angeles Clippers game. Get a Klue, Khloe!
5. Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner, the youngest daughter of Bruce and Kris, comes in at No. 5 mostly due to her not insignificant social media presence: 22.6 million fans of her Instagram and Twitter accounts, thank you very much. According to numerous sources, her estimated net worth tops $2 million--not bad for a 17 year old.
As a model, she’s come a long way since her debut as the face of a clothing line for Sears--a store that is not located on her home turf of Rodeo Drive. Since then, she has appeared in Teen Vogue and People (the magazine’s 2010 "Most Beautiful" issue, in fact) and in 2011, on the runway of New York Fashion Week. Which perhaps explains why none other than Business Week heralded her as the "most influential" family member.
One thing is for certain: Kylie is one to watch. As in: Watch your back, Kim.
6. Kris Jenner
Family matriarch/"momager" Kris comes in sixth--because she controls the purse strings and money is, after all, power. In this case, we’re talking about approximately $30 million. Granted, her attempt at a "solo career"--a short-lived eponymous talk show that got the axe after only six weeks--flopped, but she remains executive producer of Keeping Up With the Kardashians not to mention the Svengali behind her children’s careers.
She’s also doing her best to reinvent herself and earn credibility as a New York Times bestselling author: In 2011, she accomplished that feat by releasing her memoir, Kris Jenner…and All Things Kardashian. Her latest tome is a cookbook titled In the Kitchen With Kris--ironic considering how little time she spends in that room of her house on the show--and contains 70 recipes that are allegedly family favorites. It also has crafty entertaining tips such as: "Call the caterer ASAP!" Okay, so we made that one up.
Kris’ now-ex-husband, Bruce, lands at No. 7 mainly because of his tabloid ubiquity and infamy. Reports vary wildly between rumors that the former Olympian is transitioning his gender ("I don’t know what he’s going through right now," Kris told ET) to speculation that he is dating Kris’s friend and former assistant Rhonda Kamihara. At any rate, Bruce is now officially single and ready to mingle: The divorce was finalized in mid-December, and because there was no pre-nup, Kris will have to pay Bruce a $2.5 million equalization settlement.
Troubled Rob Kardashian, an aspiring sock mogul who struggles with both weight and substance abuse issues and currently crashes with Khloe, has lately favored isolation. But if a Kardashian falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
*Not ranked despite being genetically predisposed to media overexposure: Brody’s brothers Burt and Brandon Jenner as well as their sister Casey.