On Aug. 9, the Kardashian clan descended upon Los Angeles hot spot Craig’s in all their color-coordinated finery for newly minted billionaire Kylie Jenner’s 21st birthday.
Inside the Barbie-themed bash, sisters Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie and Kendall Jenner, along with queen mother Kris Jenner, posed for a family portrait — smiling coyly and sticking up six middle fingers.
Consider it their version of the royal wave.
Like it or not, the Kardashians have risen from reality-TV stars — famed for sex tapes, plastic surgery and shotgun weddings — to America’s royal family. Critics have discounted the clan as an unfortunate blip on our cultural radar. But the ladies have taken their 15 minutes of fame and created a dynasty that might just be the most powerful in the world.
In May, Kim successfully lobbied President Trump to commute the prison sentence of a 63-year-old grandmother, Alice Marie Johnson, who had served more than 20 years on drug charges. Kylie, meanwhile, single-handedly tanked Snapchat’s stock in February — sending it plummeting $1.3 billion — with a disparaging tweet about the social-media platform’s redesign. That is true power.
And they’re not just making waves in the worlds of social justice and business. The family’s interracial relationships have been shifting societal norms since long before the Windsor family was lavished with praise for Prince Harry’s May marriage to mixed-race Meghan Markle.
To many, the Kardashians are the pinnacle of the American dream. Queen Kim, the first on the scene, rose from the Los Angeles version of nothing (Paris Hilton’s closet organizer) to a multi-millionaire with direct access to the president of the United States.
People want what the Kardashians have — the “Happy Birthday” Rolls-Royces, the diamonds worth robbing, the audacity to get an earlobe reduction so said diamonds sit just right. Unlike in England, where royal watchers squeal when Kate Middleton or Markle wear a high street brand, in the US, the more over-the-top the Kardashians’ purchases, the bigger the response.
But like any good monarchy, the Kardashians realize they need to at least appear accessible. The Windsors have their walk-abouts, where they stroll through quaint village streets and glad-hand their loyal subjects. The Kardashians engage with fans on Instagram — the sisters’ collective following totals nearly 500 million. If a regular person posts a flattering comment under one of the siblings’ photos, there’s always a chance their icon will deem them worthy of a direct response.
Mindful that the plebes can’t afford their lifestyles, the Kardashians hawk their own version of royal memorabilia: $29 Kylie Jenner lip kits and $149 Good American jeans (that’s Khloé’s line).
Want further proof the Kardashians are more powerful than the Windsors? Unlike the real royals, the sisters are unburdened by nearly 10 centuries of tradition and protocol. In June, it was reported that Markle received a slap on the wrist for having told an Irish politician she was “pleased” by that country’s pro-abortion vote — going against the monarchy’s politically neutral stance.