Kendall Jenner’s ‘raw,’ personal story is a paid sponsorship
On Saturday, Kris Jenner teased a forthcoming announcement from her “brave and vulnerable” daughter Kendall, who – the Kardashian matriarch said – would be sharing her “most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people.”
Fans and Kardashian detractors alike were left speculating about the news, which Kris said would be announced Sunday night. In a video paired with Kris’ social media posts, Kendall talked about how her platform had grown since she was 14 – the year she was signed to Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. “I can speak to so many people and just be like ‘I can help you, and it’s OK,’” Kendall said. “And I experience it. I’m very normal, and I understand you. Like, I can connect with you.”
One prevailing theory was that Kendall, whose sexuality has been the subject of long-standing rumors, would come out as gay. (She has addressed the rumors before: “I’m not gay. I have literally nothing to hide,” she told Vogue last year. “I would never hide something like that.”)
Others wondered whether the 23-year-old model, who opened up about her struggle with anxiety in an episode of her family’s E! reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” would address her mental health. Kris’ hashtags, which included #bethechange, #shareyourstory, #changetheconversation and #mydaughterinspires me, hinted at something inspiring: “Be prepared to be moved,” she wrote.
So it came as a shock to many when Kendall surfaced during E!’s red carpet coverage of the “Golden Globes” Sunday night – in a commercial for Proactiv, the acne treatment brand that has had a long line of celebrity endorsers, including Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry and Alicia Keys. In the ad, Kendall recalls getting criticism (and support) after she was pictured with visible acne on the Golden Globes red carpet last year.
“For me, I can honestly say that the magic was Proactiv,” Kendall says. “It’s a huge deal that I’m partnering with Proactiv, and I’m hoping that I can help people and show people that this is the way that I got clear and that, hopefully, this is the way that you can get clear.”
That was the big announcement? Yes, Kendall confirmed minutes later, posting a heart emoji as she shared Proactiv’s tweet welcoming her “to the family.”
People were … disappointed. “How brave of Kendall to be paid millions to promote a skin care brand,” one Twitter user wrote. “was this the announcement bc if so i want my money back,” riffed another.
Others referenced another sponsorship gone wrong for Kendall: Pepsi, which infamously pulled a 2017 ad featuring the model after an onslaught of criticism about the commercial, which made vague references to Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements and seemed to reduce serious issues to a universal need for the carbonated soft drink.
So far, neither Kris nor Kendall have addressed the latest controversy.
Though, to be fair, there’s nothing more Kardashian than a paid sponsorship. And technically, the answer was lurking in Kris Jenner’s tweets all along – another hashtag she included was #finallyasolution, which now reads like a veiled reference to the Proactiv Solution 3-Step System.