Backlash Over Kylie Jenner ‘Self-made Billionaire’ Story Is Not justified, Says Entrepreneur and Online Business Strategist Fabienne Raphael

Fabienne Raphael, an entrepreneur and strategist for people who want to transition from corporate to entrepreneurship, analyzes the social media reactions to Forbes calling Jenner a “self-made” entrepreneur.
Backlash Over Kylie Jenner ‘Self-made Billionaire’ Story Is Not justified, Says Entrepreneur and Online Business Strategist Fabienne Raphael

Forbes will soon release its “America Women’s Billionaire” featuring Kylie Jenner on the cover. “At 21, she’s set to be the youngest-ever self-made billionaire,” the cover reads. “Welcome to the era of extreme fame leverage.” Forbes estimated that Jenner’s fame helped her build a $900 million fortune in only a few years.

The comments on social media immediately took exception to Jenner being called “self-made” since she is a member of the wealthy and famous family. “Her story is not inspiring or motivating for anyone,” one person tweeted. “Kylie Jenner is not “self-made” at all. This is the problem with talking about successful people in America. We act like they did it by themselves when that’s never the case. And, with people like the Kardashians/Jenners, they were always rich,” says another tweet.

A spokeswoman for Forbes told CNN the publication “fully acknowledges that within the term ‘self-made’ there are many who are more self-made than others.”

In fact, for this year’s edition, the staff gave each member of The Forbes 400 (the wealthiest people in he U.S.) a score on a scale from 1 to 10 (where a 1 indicates the fortune was completely inherited, while a 10 is for a Horatio Alger-esque journey). Special attention was paid to their parents and their socio-economic status. The Forbes evaluation criteria was published here.

Fabienne Raphael, online business consultant for people who want to transition from corporate to entrepreneurship, feels no one can claim that their success is the result of their only hard work, without anyone else’s help, resources, guidance, money, strategy or influence.

Raphael said, “The people who criticize Forbes for calling Kylie Jenner a self-made entrepreneur will argue that she had leveraged her celebrity status and the money of her family. However, the lasting issue is that just because someone is born rich and builds a business doesn’t mean that they will necessarily succeed and become billionaires. “

According to Raphael, the issue is with the perception of the word “self-made”.

“To my eyes, no one really is a “self-made” successful business owner. So Kylie Jenner and all the other entrepreneurs, me included, have that in common. Grit. Passion. Ambition. But are we self-made? No. I don’t think so. None of us really is.”

Fabienne Raphael is an online business consultant, speaker and podcaster. She helps experts transition from an unfulfilled corporate career to a thriving online business.
She has been featured in Forbes, Inc. and Huffington Post and have appeared on over 25 podcasts, such as CopyChief Radio and Entrepreneur on Fire.

Visit her website at

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About the Author: Bob Cooper

Bob Cooper is Canadian Business Tribune''s senior editor. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in London Ontario and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s,, Vice and He also has served as a journalist and consultant on documentaries for CBC and Global News . In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media. He was also a finalist for UCLA's Gerald R. Loeb Award and Syracuse University's Mirror Award. Before becoming a journalist in 2006, Sirota worked in Washington for, among others, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Minority Staff and the Center for American Progress.

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