Why Rihanna is America’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire, and Kylie Jenner is Not

Why Rihanna is America’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire, and Kylie Jenner is Not

Rihanna attends Sephora Fenty Beauty by Rihanna launch event on April 5, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Shutterstock)

By The Root

Rihanna was officially named America’s youngest self-made billionaire in June of 2022, being 34 and worth $1.4 billion. This comes a year after the announcement from Forbes that Kylie, who was previously called the youngest self-made billionaire, had her title taken away.

After there was controversy about who was actually self-made, Forbes created a ranking system, ranging from one through 10 points. Being a one on the ranking indicates that person inherited their wealth while a ten means the person did not have any means to have a head start to becoming a billionaire.

Forbes gave Rihanna a grade of ten on the self-made billionaire list. The highest ranking was given to her because she did not come from a privileged background, a true pull-yourself-up-from-the bootstraps girl. The ‘Diamond’s’ singer grew up in Barbados, hailing from a working-class family. Her mother was an accountant and her father, who worked in a warehouse, was physically abusive and an addict.

Forbes gave Kylie a seven on the self-made billionaire list. After much controversy, Forbes provided their reasoning for giving her that score; she did not inherit the money or business. She came from extremely rich family that gave her a leg up.

Fenty Beauty was launched in September of 2017. The makeup brand was wildly successful because of its revolutionary focus on different skin tone shades. The Umbrella singer’s foundation line has 50-skin tone colors. Fenty Beauty started with only primer, foundation and lip gloss and has now expanded to multiple face, lip, and eye products, makeup tools, and perfume. There’s also a Fenty Skin line. According to Forbes, the Fenty Beauty was worth an estimated $2.8 billion in 2021. Rihanna has a 50% stake in Fenty Beauty, the main contributor to her billionaire status.

Kylie, the youngest sibling in the Kardashian-Jenner family, debuted Kylie Cosmetics at the age of 17 in November of 2015. The first venture was the iconic Kylie Lip Kits, which included a lip liner and liquid lipstick combo. She explains in a YouTube video on her channel that she started the lip kits out of the insecurity of her own thin lips.

Kylie was not yet a teenager when her family started filming Keeping Up With the Kardashians, surrounded by her sisters who were praised for the bodies that they did not naturally have. Ironically, she was bullied online for what was natural…her lips. She did admit on Keeping Up that she got lip fillers around the age of 17.

After doing makeup tutorials online and constantly getting asked how she achieved her pouty lip look, she decided to enter the beauty industry.

After a meeting with the ultimate momager, Kris Jenner, Kylie began working on her company, Kylie Lip Kits. She officially launched Kylie Lip Kits in November of 2015. She began by selling only three color options. The site crashed after all of the kits sold out in less than one minute. In 2019, Kylie was considered a billionaire after selling 51% to Coty, a beauty company. The deal was thought to be valued at $600 million and was estimated to bring Kylie Cosmetics to a value of $1.2 billion.

Kris Jenner says she told Kylie that she would have to use her own money to launch the brand which is one of the main contributors to the public taking away her “self-made” status, as she was already a privileged person upon creating her brand. Keeping Up with the Kardashians began when Kylie was only ten. She grew up on television.

Kylie was named a billionaire in 2019 , but in 2020 she was proven not to be one. Reporters at Forbes conducted an investigation into the financials they were receiving over the years and discovered her company was greatly under the billion dollar mark. According to Forbes, The Kardashian-Jenner team told Forbes that Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin were making hundreds of millions of dollars more in revenue since 2016.

“ …the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016—including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers…While we can’t prove that those documents were fake (though it’s likely), it’s clear that Kylie’s camp has been lying,”according to a Forbes report. Kylie was stripped of her billionaire status but she stood at #1 for the highest paid celebrity, according to Forbes in 2020, earning $590 million dollars. Kylie has since worked to rebrand, which includes a relaunch of the brand in 2021 to make her products clean and vegan.

In May of 2018, Savage X Fenty launched a lingerie line that followed the similar goal of Fenty Beauty…inclusivity. The lingerie line has a size range of XS-4X and also launched a menswear line in 2020 with a size range of S-3XL. The new mom has had an impact on the beauty and apparel industries, making sure more people are represented with their products. Rihanna reportedly has about a 30% stake in Savage X Fenty.

Rihanna launched LVMH Fenty in May of 2019. The clothing line was a luxury brand that intended to have several collections throughout the year. The designs were based on some of Rihanna’s most popular looks, as she is deemed one of the most stylish people in the entertainment industry. However, with complications with Covid-19 and the lack of support compared to her other business ventures, the brand was not able to be sustained.

As of May 2022 Rihanna is a new mother to a son with her boyfriend, musician Asap Rocky. Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin, and Savage X Fenty are still very active brands today, with Rihanna announcing in May that Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin being released in Africa. Now, that’s a true billionaire story.

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