My best friend looks a lot like Kendall Jenner. When we go out together, she gets stopped a lot. Some people ask for pictures, until my friend embarrassingly reveals that she's just a look alike. It's weird and awkward for all parties. The worst incident was when we stopped to get snacks at a 7/11. She was checking out and the cashier yelled, "Kendall Jenner! Oh my gosh, Kendall Jenner is in my store." Everyone turned to look at my friend, who then had to explain that she wasn't. People came over to her to stare at her, which was also odd.
I think it's pretty crazy that people flip out at the prospect of potentially seeing a celebrity in person. I wrote about this in my last post, but they're just people! Our culture is so pressed on star culture. It's no wonder that studios and networks capitalize on celebrities and celebritization when there is this much hype surrounding them -- it leads to more box office revenue and ratings.
But reality television is a whole other realm. I personally never got into Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but I've seen a few episodes. It's interesting and somewhat entertaining. What's more impressive, however, is the way the Kardashian-Jenners have marketed themselves into a social media empire. All of the sisters boast millions of follows on Instagram. Rob, Kris, Caitlyn and the girls constantly line the front covers of magazines and the front pages of websites. They ARE the talk of the town, and they're not even at the heart of the entertainment industry (movies).
The Kardashians are good examples of self made and self promoted celebrities. While many A-list actors are aloof and like to pretend they aren't famous, the Kardashians promote themselves (some may say "exploit") in order to gain followers and fans. It's really smart. And companies know they're influential -- Kim's iPhone video game was one of the most downloaded apps when it dropped. Kylie and Kendall did lines for both Pac Sun clothing and OPI Nail Polish. The Kardashian sisters have their own store. Our synergistic celebrity culture is becoming more and more business oriented as companies look to celebrities to endorse and promote their products.
As celebrities promote more products, a layer of authenticity is lost. If a celebrity posts a picture with a specific brand we don't know if they were paid to promote it, or if they like the product and posted a picture with it in the own free will. But it's pretty amazing to think that some have built empires (such as the Kardashian-Jenners) based on self promotion and marketing through social media and reality television. If you didn't think entertainment was all about money, think again.