In an age of digital marketing and the emerging influencer economy controlling our every move, Kim Kardashian is a reminder that she’s the “OG” influencer in the way she has leveraged her social media branding over the last decade to become one of the world’s most impactful figures, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs.

Once most notably known for her hit reality-TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim Kardashian has since expanded her empire, using her large platform of over 350 million followers to advocate for causes that matter to her, like criminal justice reform. In 2018, she successfully lobbied for the release of an incarcerated woman, Alice Marie Johnson.

“Once I saw that I was able to make a difference, I couldn’t stop there and I realized there were so many other people to help,” Kardashian told CNN anchor Poppy Harlow at the TIME 100 Summit on Tuesday. “[With] Alice I felt like it was a fairly easy experience for me when I know it shouldn’t be to help get someone out. It takes 10 to 20 years to do what I did in six months.”

Kim Kardashian speaks onstage at the 2023 TIME100 Summit at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2023 in New York City. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)
Kim Kardashian speaks onstage at the 2023 TIME100 Summit at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2023 in New York City.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME

Kardashian has also harnessed social media to give her followers insight into her multifaceted life, from raising four children to running multiple successful businesses including SKIMS shapewear, SKKN skincare line, and SKKY Partners, a private equity firm. SKIMS, which has become a 3-billion-dollar valued business in less than four years, was named one of TIME’s Most Influential Companies of 2022 and will be represented by Kardashian on the cover of the upcoming TIME100 Most Influential Companies issue in June. Kardashian was also named one of TIME’s Most Influential People in 2015.

Balancing it all comes from a work ethic she attributes to her late father Robert Kardashian, who died in 2003. Kardashian also notes she has learned plenty from her mother and ‘momager’ Kris Jenner, more than she typically gives her credit for. “I’m sorry mom,” she joked. “You kind of give the dead parent a lot of credit.”

Reflecting on the success of SKIMS, Kardashian recalled having to cut and dye her own shapewear in the sink with coffee and tea bags before her product, which offers a range of skin tones, was available.

“It was filling the gap of something that didn’t exist in the marketplace,” she says. “I was looking for a solution to the fact that I loved shaped wear. There wasn’t a color tone that fit my skin tone, let alone with most of my friends.”

The 42-year-old went on to share her aspirations of securing a law degree in order to open her own firm to help with her prison reform effort. It may even potentially be her retirement plan. “I always joke with my mom and with my manager, I say ‘Kim K is retiring and I’m just going to be an attorney so you can go help my siblings,’” she teased. “I’d be just as happy doing that, cameras [or] no cameras.”

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