This week, a broken, fractured America came together, united under a perennial truth: Kris Jenner, we really don’t need to hear from you right now.
Actually, according to Kris Jenner, we absolutely do. As WWD first reported, the notorious puppet-master of the Kardashian universe has filed trademarks for “Kris Jenner Skin” and “Kris Jenner Beauty,” according to documents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The so-called momager of her five daughters has yet to comment on any potential brand. A representative for her company, Jenner Communications, Inc, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. However, she did tell WWD in October that she “always dreamed of having [her] own brand.”
Jenner, of course, is no newbie to the beauty world. She’s the chief executive officer of her daughter Kylie’s brand, which she helped co-found in 2015. Both Kim and Kylie have tapped Jenner for various makeup collaborations. She was the face of Kylie’s Cosmetics’ “Momager” collection in 2018 and launched a mother’s day perfume with Kim in 2020.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the reality show that made the family famous, ends this year after 14 seasons. During this time, the Kardashian-Jenner clan completely bent beauty standards to suit their own, manufactured self-image. Their makeup lines supposedly exist to enable fans to look more like them, though their eternally youthful, pouty faces are the result of more than just daily moisturizing.
Jenner isn’t exactly a celebrity skincare gaslighter; she has owned up to certain cosmetic procedures. She documented her own facelift in a 2011 episode of Kardashians. (“I don’t want to die!” she cooed through tears in a medical waiting room.) In 2019, Jenner gave her friends and family Botox gift cards for the holidays for an attempt at festive sponcon. (“It’s easy to #GiftLikeaBoss, just ask Kris!”)
That said, Jenner’s personal care routine does not sound like one that would inspire a whole line of products. She once told People, “A massage, a great facial, a manicure, and a little Botox and I’m good to go,” Jenner said, sounding breezily rich. “I’m pretty traditional. As long as I’m clean and scrubbed up, I’m a happy camper.”
So why should we buy anything from her? Jenner is no expert; she has just as much experience selling elixirs and toners as she would releasing a line of home goods or $70 candles. Ultimately, she is a prodigious marketer, and this is yet another extension of her so-called brand.
Except Jenner’s brand has always been her children. She’s been their primary image-maker, moving behind-the-scenes to manage them, infamously skimming 10 percent off every paycheck.
If she has any likability, it’s because she’s so shameless. As the journalist J’na Jefferson tweeted in 2017, when Kylie Jenner announced her pregnancy just in time to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, “the Devil works but Kris Jenner works harder.”
Rachel Weingarten, a freelance writer and beauty brand consultant, told The Daily Beast that “it’s not a stupid move” for Kris Jenner to start a makeup line.
“I don’t think people love her, so I don’t see that people are going to buy it based on her name alone,” Weingarten said. “But she’s a brilliant marketer. She’s speaking to women her age who have been taking care of everyone not just during the pandemic, but for the last two decades.”
And those are the type of people who are spending money right now. “Gen Z is in captivity,” Weingarten said. “They’re not buying the way we thought they would [pre-pandemic]. We’re coming out of this awful year, and I think that Kris is really hoping to connect with people.”
Weingarten wouldn’t fault Jenner for selling a product she doesn’t use. “Kris is not the only one,” she said. “But the Kardashian-Jenner name, they all lack authenticity. You’ve got to suspend some disbelief if you’re trusting them and trusting that their products are the be-all and end-all.”
Kris Jenner Beauty would join a slew of celebrity makeup lines—Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories, and J.Lo’s eponymous range of skincare products. Halsey has her own brand in the works. It’s a saturated market. Do we have enough room to care about one more?
“A lot of celebrities did last year so poorly,” Weingarten added. “They did that whole ‘stars, they’re just like us’ thing, where they showed us, ‘Here I am waxing my upper lip in my bathroom with 24-karat gold faucets.’ They were condescending in that way, showing us their kids on a pony with the hashtag social distancing. It didn’t work. That’s where some of us get really sick of celebrity lines.”
All Jenner did was take out some trademarks. As WWD reported, celebrities often do that as a precaution, so others cannot make money off of their names. We still don’t know if her line is coming—maybe even Jenner doesn’t know yet. (Although the final season of the TV show would be an ideal time to announce a new venture!) But the trademarks have become news now, and Jenner seems too shrewd of a businesswoman to be naive to the fact. Maybe, at the end of the week, all of this was just an exercise in her own PR prowess.
As Weingarten put it, “If this doesn’t work, I guess we’ll see a Kris Jenner Prosecco soon.”