Ever since the birth of her second child in February, it has been widely theorized that billionaire Kylie Jenner is trying to rebrand herself as a relatable mom who is just like every other 25-year-old on social media.
The shift in how she presented herself online was reminiscent of her “King Kylie” era — a period between 2014 and 2017 when the star was genuinely considered to be one of our most relatable celebrities.
Before she was the savvy business mogul that we know today, the youngest of the KarJenner sisters utilized her public profile with an online alias that saw her doing normal teenage things like pranking her family and experimenting with her hair and makeup.
Despite her ever-increasing fame and fortune, Kylie managed to expertly maintain an air of normalcy around her social media posts, but as she became more successful and moved higher up Forbes’s rich list, her King Kylie persona began to fade away.
By the time her daughter Stormi was born in 2018, Kylie had largely retreated from the public eye by stepping back from her social media accounts and drastically reducing her appearances in her family’s reality show.
The new focus appeared to be on Kylie as an entrepreneur, as her various brands went from strength to strength.
But when her son, whose name she has not yet revealed, was born earlier this year, fans started to see glimmers of the old Kylie as she returned to social media and began to showcase a more open and authentic personality.
In TikTok videos that have been posted in recent months, Kylie has shown off her cooking skills, poked fun at her sister Kendall Jenner, and regularly showcases her endearing mother–daughter dynamic with Stormi.
She has even shifted to a less contrived approach when it comes to plugging her products, swapping glossy photo shoots and aesthetically pleasing Instagram photos for candid videos.
And this was clearly demonstrated when she promoted her new range of lip glosses on TikTok over the weekend. In the short clip, Kylie filmed the product in her hand as she walked over to her car.
Once inside the car, Kylie screeched as she dropped her phone and giggled, “Ahhh, oh shit!” before continuing with the video.
Getting everything in place while she fixed her hair, Kylie casually told viewers, “OK, this is better,” as she launched into her sell for the four new gloss shades that she was advertising.
But her followers weren’t buying it. Kylie’s decision to include the moment that she dropped her phone in the TikTok’s final edit raised eyebrows, as did her choice to speak about the products while sitting in her car.
People in the comments were quick to point out that this is a normal trope on TikTok from everyday content creators as they often film their videos during their breaks from work, which means their car affords them otherwise-impossible privacy to shoot.
In other cases, creators will have only just bought the product that they are reviewing from the store, so film the video before driving home.
As a result, Kylie was called out for being inauthentic and trying to copy other, nonbillionaire TikTok users in a bid to seem more relatable.
“Girl did you just walk out the mansion to go in your car as if you went to the store and couldn’t wait to try it,” one person commented. Another joked: “How to be relatable: step one: get in to the car, step two: drop phone. THAT'S IT 😀”
And TikTok user @PlasticChandler broke down the discourse when he stitched Kylie’s video to add his own thoughts to the conversation.
Caveating that he has “no grounds to actually speak on this” because he isn’t a publicity expert, Chandler explained: “I think it’s very interesting when you watch this video, it’s very curated to the style of an influencer and not Kylie Jenner.”
“Like, this is something Emma Chamberlain would post,” he went on. “And I just think it’s interesting because, it’s like, you’re a billionaire, girl — why are you reviewing lip kits in your car when you live in a multimillion-dollar home?”
“You didn’t just go to the store and pick that up, you didn’t get home from somewhere and get it from your mailbox. That was very deliberate of going to your car to film that, and the phone drop was kind of cringey,” Chandler added.
The TikTok creator then explained that celebrities have started to copy regular people who are popular on the app so that they can learn how to come across as more relatable.
“These people have never lived a normal life, ever,” Chandler said. “And that’s no hate to them, it’s not their thing. But they have to find these people that have gotten popularity from being somewhat normal and then they take that personality and their traits and what they do so that they can make videos like that and seem normal enough so they can relate to us.”
“Because they are billionaires,” he concluded. “This is not something Kylie Jenner does on the normal. I promise she doesn’t just sit in her car.”
Chandler’s video quickly gained traction, with most viewers agreeing with his stance in the comments. One person quoted another user as they wrote: “Someone said ‘Kylie we sit in our cars because we’re on our lunch breaks.’”
“The thought of her getting in her car solely to film that tiktok and then getting out immediately afterwards is so funny,” another wrote. Someone else said: “Even their ‘authenticity’ is v much curated.”
But when the video came onto Kylie’s radar, she decided to clap back as she insisted that her post wasn’t “that deep.”
“it’s really not that deep or calculated,” she commented on Chandler’s TikTok. “this video took me 5 mins to make. and yes i still drive and do normal things 🤣.”
Chandler initially expressed his shock at Kylie’s response as he shared a comedic video of him going about his working day with the knowledge that she’d commented, but he later resorted to muting her name after he was targeted by her fans.
At the same time, he clarified that he is a genuine fan of Kylie’s and had been an avid viewer of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but was simply commenting on the marketing tactics that he perceived to be at play.
Meanwhile, this is far from the first time that Kylie has been accused of carefully curating her relatability, with a previous TikTok that documented her trip to Target being branded “damage control” when she posted it after she was exposed for taking super-short flights on her private jet.
It was also pointed out that the store appeared to be empty during her shopping trip with her daughter and nieces, which suggested that she went after hours rather than when regular customers would have been around.
She and her mom, Kris Jenner, also prompted backlash during this year’s premiere season of The Kardashians when an entire storyline revolved around their excitement to go to a supermarket.
Kylie and Kris went on to compare pumping gas and getting a car wash to “Disneyland,” with disgruntled viewers claiming that the scenes were proof of how “out of touch” they are with the real world.