Q&A: Kylie Jenner Opens Up About Her Online Haters and Those Hard-to-Get Lip Kits

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Kylie Jenner’s got a hit reality show, endorsement deals, and the attention of millions of fans on Instagram, Snapchat and more. Brands like Levi’s are lining up to catch some of her magic. She’s an entrepreneur whose lip kits sell out in a flash, and a clothing designer to boot. She’s also doing good for society, with an anti-bullying campaign. The millennial generation’s hottest social star spoke with us about her passion for brands, expanding her business, and what she won’t share on Instagram.

Adweek: How do you decide which brands to work with?
Kylie Jenner: I have to be passionate about the brand and just love it. It has to be a perfect fit. I don’t work with anything that doesn’t work with my brand.

Why do you think the response to your lip kits has been so huge?
I feel like people trust my makeup decisions. Before I had a cosmetics line, I couldn’t even buy the products that I loved because I would go into stores and they’d be, like, “Everything’s sold out. Everyone wants to buy the color lipstick you’re using.” It got frustrating. So I kind of just wanted to take matters into my own hands and create my own line and show people what I actually use and what I actually love.

Have you been thinking about doing official ads for the brand?
It’s so successful right now that I don’t really want to do advertising. But I want to do some cool stuff. Commercials would be amazing. Just something fun once we can get in the rhythm of mass amounts of stuff.

Do you think that at some point you’ll start selling it in stores?
I’ve been thinking about it. Definitely not in the next year. But if I were to sell in stores, I don’t know that I would go to a big retailer. I would probably just do everything on my own. But that is still in discussion.

It seems like part of the reason the lip kits have been so popular is because they’re so hard to get. Do you want to keep the brand small enough that it stays in such demand?
What’s interesting is that it’s not small at all. We only keep making more and more every single week and it sells out faster and faster. Literally, I pray that it lasts more than 15 minutes every single time. I want people who just feel like buying a kit to be able to go online and buy it. I want that so bad. But right now, it doesn’t seem possible.

You said in an interview last year that you’re “flashier” on social media than in real life. Is that something that still holds true for you?
Yeah, of course. I think that’s true for a lot of people, actually. You can’t really tell who a person is from, like, an eight-second Snapchat video or an Instagram. I only post on Instagram or Snapchat what I want people to see, you know? But there’s a whole other side to me that people don’t know.

How is the real Kylie different from your social media image?
I feel like people want to see me have a cool hair color and dress a certain way and have pretty makeup and heels. If they were to see me in public, they would expect me to look like that. It’s also fun for me, dressing up. That’s always been me, since day one, but it’s also exhausting for everyday life.

Tell me about your #IAmMoreThan anti-online bullying campaign, where you share inspirational stories from your fans.
Just being a young socialite on the internet, it comes with a lot of bullying and a lot of different opinions that have affected me throughout the years. So I just kind of turned to real people with real issues—way bigger issues than me—who are so positive. It just inspires me and I wanted to share it with my fans.

How do you personally deal with all the negativity online?
Honestly, I feel like at this point I’ve gotten so numb to it. I still do my thing and people still love me and my lip kits are still selling out and 10,000 people still come to my appearances, so I don’t think it’s about the negative comments, it’s about turning it around and being able to come out on top. I feel like the more people who love you, there’s going to be more people who hate you. It doesn’t really affect me.

Are there things in your life that you won’t share on social media?
There’s a really big part of my life that I don’t share online, and I feel like people think that just because I have a reality TV show and I’m on Snapchat for probably 10 minutes altogether throughout the day, that they know my life. But I feel like everybody—every celebrity, at least—keeps a big part of their life super private. Like, I don’t show a lot of my relationships or my ups and downs. I’d never have a fight with someone [on Instagram].

What’s next for your personal brand?
I feel like I’m juggling a lot right now, but my main focus is my cosmetics line. There’s so much I want to do that I can’t really think about anything else. I want to take my time and work on each individual product until it’s perfect. I don’t want to rush into anything.

Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? Will you be focusing on your businesses or do you want to be an entertainer, too?
I think definitely just business and being behind the scenes. Hopefully, I have a family and I’m just running my business and my cosmetics line.

This story first appeared in the April 11 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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