When Kim Kardashian’s Forbes cover was released, she expected some criticism. “#NotBadForAGirlWithNoTalent” she Tweeted after posting a photo of the July 26 issue. The media mogul has been called “talentless” and “undeserving” of her fame, but Kardashian is laughing off these insults—all the way to the bank.
The Forbes cover calls Kardashian a “Mobile Mogul” and estimates she has earned $45 million from her app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood since its launch. The publication also recently named her the 42nd highest paid celeb of last year.
“I became really intrigued with the tech world. I started spending a lot of time in San Francisco,” Kardashian told Forbes. “I realized this is really going to be the next cycle of my career and this is what I want to focus on.”
The app was not a quick project for the reality star: Forbes said it took over a year for Kardashian to finalize the game’s storylines and clothing options. She claims control over “every single outfit, to the eyeliner, to the hairstyles, to the color tones.” She went to extremes to make the app similar to her life: “I would give [Glu] bikinis and be like, ‘Hurry up and mock up this bikini, because I’m going to wear it, and then you can have it live in the game!’ ”
And after its major success, Kardashian remains invested in the platform: “She responds to my texts faster than my own employees,” Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi told Forbes.
Now, with the launch of the ever-popular ‘Kimojis’ and her own $2.99 subscription lifestyle app, Kardashian has secured her place in the tech world. And she doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon: “When people looked at me in a way like, ‘Why is she stepping into the tech world? That’s not her territory! Stick to reality TV!’ I was like, ‘No,’ ” Kardashian told Forbes. “This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas. I don’t see myself stopping.”
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, whose ‘Heads Up!’ app has made $25.9 million since 2013 (still notably just a fraction of Kardashian’s sales), have had success, but it’s far more common to flop in the app world, no matter how famous you are. Forbes points out that fellow celebrity entrepreneurs Katy Perry and Britney Spears both developed unsuccessful apps. But Glu Mobil (who builds Kardashian’s app) continues to tap into more famous people (most recently, Gordon Ramsay) to find a Kardashian-level hit.