Influencer culture is dead, and Kylie Jenner killed it.
As the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan continues to experience the fallout from her “Forbes billionaire” snafu, Instagram influencers all over the world are struggling to stay both relevant and paid.
And while Jenner wasn’t the only one to “kill” influencer culture, she certainly delivered its death blow.
Kylie Jenner Isn’t The Only Influencer To Fall From Grace
To be clear, the death of influencer culture isn’t just because of Kylie Jenner. In recent months, influencers as a collective have shown that their marketing skills are non-existent, and their market viability is temporary, at best.
The first sign that “influencer culture” was about to have an ignoble fall from grace was during the start of the worldwide pandemic.
Arielle Charnas — she of the “Something Navy” Instagram blog — had earned her stripes by appealing to affluent white women in the fields of “wellness” and “parenting.”
She attracted the sort of white women who follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop blog to the letter and spend untold amounts of money on overpriced rocks dubbed “yoni eggs.”
Clearly, Charnas and Kylie Jenner don’t have the same audience.
But on March 18, when Charnas announced that she’d tested positive, her subsequent behavior got her dubbed as a “covidiot.”
Charnas first revealed that she’d been tested by a private doctor at a time when tests were virtually impossible to come by.
She then announced that she packed up her New York City apartment and moved out to a Hamptons estate, defying Governor Andrew Cuomo’s orders to shelter-in-place. And while she was out and about in the Hamptons, neither she nor her husband nor her children practiced social distancing.
Charnas was just one of many “Instagram influencers” that contributed to its downfall before Kylie Jenner delivered its death blow. The aforementioned Gwyneth Paltrow, Caroline Calloway, and Naomi Davis all did their part, as well.
And of course, let’s not forget Myka Stauffer, who still hasn’t disclosed her “rehomed” son Huxley’s location, and is the subject of an open and active investigation into his whereabouts.
The mass corporate exodus from the Stauffer “brand” is the least this family deserves, especially if investigators’ worst fears about Huxley’s fate are confirmed.
“Cooking The Books” Killed Her Brands — And Many Others
By all accounts, Kylie Jenner is the most popular Instagram celebrity in the world. With a staggering 179 million followers, Jenner has more fans than all of her sisters combined.
And it’s these staggering numbers that have led to Jenner charging upwards of seven figures for so-called “sponsored posts.”
Jenner’s Instagram influence was largely responsible for her Coty deal that has now been deemed a total bust for the brand.
Forbes alleges that she falsified her tax returns to make it seem like she was worth far more than she claimed to be — a claim Jenner denies. In so doing, she pumped up both her personal and professional valuation and ultimately fraudulently claimed that she was “a self-made billionaire.”
Coty’s stock, for its part, may finally be on the road to recovery after falling as low as $3.02 in the wake of the controversy. But on a larger scale, the Kylie Jenner scandal delivered the final death blow to influencer culture.
Wannabe celebrity behavior aside, the basis of influencer culture is simple: followers equal sales. And if Kylie Jenner — the literal most popular celebrity on Instagram — proves this theory false, there’s no hope for anyone else.