Can you keep up? It’s hard to believe the Kardashian family hasn’t always been famous! Don’t believe us? Try going on social media without seeing Kim Kardashian’s ongoing SKIMS content on Instagram or a funny Khloé Kardashian remark on Twitter. Still, even now that they’ve been around for seemingly as long as we can remember, there are still plenty of people asking why are the Kardashians even famous — and how did they get to be so popular?
While it may be hard to believe, the family has only really been around for more or less a decade. Keeping Up With the Kardashians premiered in 2006 after Kris Jenner saw an opportunity for a reality show. Kim — a.k.a. OG BFF to Paris Hilton — was receiving attention from her sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray J.
“I started to look at our careers like pieces on a chessboard. Every day, I woke up and walked into my office and asked myself, ‘What move do you need to make today?’” Kris revealed in her 2011 memoir. “It was very calculated. My business decisions and strategies were very intentional, definite and planned to the nth degree.”
Former American Idol judge and KUWTK executive producer Ryan Seacrest was interested in learning more about the family. Before the series was picked up by E!, Ryan remembered filming a barbecue in their home. “They were all together — as crazy and as fun as loving as they are — and they were throwing each other in the pool,” he explained. “I came back and saw the tape. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to show this to E!’ … We had no idea it would become the monster pop culture business that it is.”
Kylie Jenner explained to Teen Vogue in 2016 how being a teenager in the spotlight was difficult. “It’s probably the hardest thing,” she revealed. “You don’t know who you are. I didn’t know who I was a year ago, and I still don’t know exactly who I am now. You’re trying to grow up and make mistakes and everybody’s watching. It’s become a job more than who I am. I don’t even want to be that person anymore.”
Nearly 16 years after they landed on our television screens, the Kardashian-Jenner family has become a massive empire collectively and individually. After saying goodbye to KUWTK, the clan debuted their new Hulu series, The Kardashians, in 2022, which will continue for a second season.
Keep reading to see how the family rose to fame!