How Kim Kardashian went from sex tape notoriety and Paris Hilton's BFF to a BILLIONAIRE with a booming business empire

KIM Kardashian is not what you'd call a rags to riches story — but she is certainly a lot richer than she used to be.

The 40-year-old is now officially a billionaire for the first time as her wildly successful businesses have made her one of the richest women in the world.

Kim was included on Forbes' World's Billionaires List for the first time this week, citing her companies KKW Beauty and Skims as the reason her net worth has now tipped $1billion.

Cash from Keeping Up With The Kardashians and product endorsements are also thought to have helped boost her wealth, which was estimated at $780million last October.

By becoming a billionaire, Kim has joined an elite club of only around 2,100 other individuals with the same status on the planet.

That list includes her estranged husband Kanye West, who is estimated to be worth $1.8billion thanks in part to his astonishingly successful Yeezy business.

And it used to include Kim's half-sister Kylie Jenner, who was previously considered the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, but now claims the 23-year-old is "just" worth $700million.

Kim's newfound billionaire status is a stark contrast from the kind of fame she had when she was Kylie's age, working as Paris Hilton's stylist and gaining international notoriety from a leaked sex tape.

Here's how Kim built her billion-dollar fortune which, as she jokingly tweeted the first time she was on the cover of Forbes, is “not bad for a girl with no talent”.

Booming business

Kim may have eclipsed Kylie's financial success, but she seems to have a learned a thing or two from Kylie's business playbook.

Like Kylie Cosmetics, Kim marketed her firms' products directly to customers through her staggeringly popular social media accounts.

KKW Beauty was launched in 2017 and was an immediate success, selling out of its first run of 300,000 contour kits in just two hours.

A year later, it had expanded to other makeup products and was raking in an eye-watering $100million.

And in 2020, Kim sold a 20 per cent stake in the business to cosmetics conglomerate Coty for $200million — valuing the business at $1billion.

Kim's remaining stake in the beauty company is thought to be worth around $500million.

But she makes heaps of cash from Skims, a shapewear clothing brand Kim launched in 2019.

Although the company's revenues haven't been disclosed, Forbes estimates it's worth over $500million — and Kim's controlling stake is conservatively thought to be valued at $250million.

Million-dollar posts

Both of the businesses that've taken Kim to billionaire status have benefited from her army of social media followers.

She has 214million followers on Instagram and 70million on Twitter alone.

For context, if her Twitter and Instagram followers became a country, they'd be the fourth biggest population on Earth.

A following like that isn't just an extremely powerful channel for advertising her own businesses — Kim can also charge a fortune flogging the products of others.

Court filings show Kim can make between $300,000-$500,000 for a single Instagram post, while other estimates put the true figure at $1million per post, TMZ reports.

As outlandish as the million-dollar-a-post estimate may seem, Kim has publicly revealed that Kanye once gave her that much as compensation for turning down an endorsement deal.

"A brand offered me a million dollars to do a post on some of their clothing and they typically — I don't want to say who the brand is — but they typically knock off Yeezy," Kim told the Pretty Big Deal podcast.

"Kanye said, 'No babe. I really don't want you to do that.'"

He gave her a cheque for a million dollars anyway as a thank you for her loyalty.

"He's like the cutest," Kim added.

Can't keep up

As well as conquering social media, Kim makes a fortune from her TV show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Since premiering in 2007, the reality show has led to increasingly lucrative deals for everyone in the cast across its 20 series.

According to TMZ, the family signed a $150million deal for five series in 2017.

It's thought the money is split evenly between the stars of the show — which shakes out at around $930,000 per episode.

"Everybody gets paid pretty much equally," Kris Jenner said on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017, "Because we all film a lot and we all work hard, and we’ve created this show and this brand for the last decade.

"Everybody’s happy."

Hot property

A good chunk of Kim's wealth is tied up in property, which has also made her millions when she's flipped mansions after a few years of living in them.

She has three properties in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles.

One of those is a $60million 15,000-square-foot minimalist mansion in the exclusive Hidden Hills suburb, where she lived with Kanye and their kids.

The other two were houses neighbouring the mansion — bought for a combined $5.7million — simply to expand their compound and gain extra privacy.

It's not clear who will keep the vast house in their divorce.

The couple also own huge ranches in Wyoming and while it was reported that Kanye was going to gift Kim a $14million Miami condo, the deal is believed to have fallen through.

But what is clear is that Kim's properties have boosted her already vast net worth — one Bel-Air mansion bought for $9million sold for a whopping $17.8million in 2017 after having a Kardashian makeover.

Take stock

As well as training to be a lawyer, Kim's also ventured into the world of Wall Street too by playing the stock market.

In December 2017, Kanye gifted her around $100,000 worth of shares in various tech companies.

“Okay, so for one of my Christmas presents from Kanye he gives me this little box with a Disney Mickey toy, Apple headphones, Netflix, Amazon gift cards and Adidas socks," Kim shared on Instagram. "I’m like, ‘That’s so sweet, thanks!’

“But then I open the next box and it is stock to Amazon, where he got the gift card, stock to Netflix, stock to Apple where he got the headphones, Adidas stock and Disney stock.”

She added the caption: "Best husband alert!"

According to one analysis of her portfolio last year, the shares might have profited as much as $670,000 in under two years.

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