Kris Jenner’s Unpopular Opinion: Kim Kardashian’s Sex Tape Wasn’t a Big ‘Seed’ for Their Success

To say that Kris Jenner is successful is an understatement. Jenner is not merely “successful;” she’s success exemplified.

Nor is Jenner merely a “momager;” she’s the entrepreneur, creator, producer and media mogul behind her entire family’s worldwide fame and billion-dollar fortunes.

She’s essentially the heart and soul of her family’s empire; without Kris Jenner, where would the Kardashian’s be?

In an incredibly entertaining new profile with New York Times magazine (published May 8. 2015), the author Taffy Brodesser-Akner attempts to get an answer on this from the woman in question herself.

In between calls from Coca-Cola and Visa, and all before her sacred Costco run (because despite everything, Jenner loves shopping at Costco like any run-of-the-mill middle-class American), the 59-year-old spills a little bit about her life story.

To sum it up, Kris Jenner went from being a flight attendant wanting to see the world, to marrying an older and wealthy lawyer at age 22, raising six children and building this epically lucrative empire that transcends the world of television, fashion, beauty, celebrity, drama and more.

In between all that, of course, she divorced her first husband Robert Kardashian and married the Olympic hero Bruce Jenner, who two weeks ago bravely came out as a woman.

“At the end of the day, I just want him to be happy,” she said. “He’s going to find his happiness, and he’s going to have his journey.”

Although this NYT magazine interview is all about Kris, whose first project so to speak was Bruce, he is nonetheless a fundamental storyline in Kris’ own profile. Write about any Kardashian, and inevitably all roads lead back to Kris and Bruce; Kris because she created them in the first place, and Bruce because he’s the one with the real story.

“It was a mix of blood, sweat and tears, enthusiasm, determination and just never sleeping and getting the word out there,” Kris explained about taking charge of Bruce’s career as a motivational speaker and exercise enthusiast back in the day.

Then, in 2007, Jenner met with Ryan Seacrest to pitch him a reality TV show. She explained to Brodesser-Akner quite simply, “Like, there’s the little girls, and there’s the older girls, and then there’s my son. Everybody thinks that they could create a bunch of drama in their lives, but it’s something that I felt I didn’t even have to think about. It would be natural.”

That natural reality tv show we know and love today is Keeping Up With the Kardashians, of course.

And then there’s Kim, the first of them all to become a household name thanks to a certain sex-tape with Ray J in 2006. Kris downplays whether or not the sex tape was the impetus for the show’s success, commenting, “That was a smaller seed than people seemed to think.”

However, the author goes on to note what the New York Times’ first review of the show was: “As a parent, Ms. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, was concerned for her daughter, she explains. But as her manager, she thought, well, hot-diggity.”

And so it goes. Now every member of the Kardashian krew has a viable career of their own. “It doesn’t mean that we’re always looking for more or that we’re greedy,” Kris explained. “There’s a lot of people that have great ideas and dreams and whatnot, but unless you’re willing to work really, really hard, and work for what you want, it’s never going to happen. And that’s what’s so great about the girls. It’s all about their work ethic.”

Hence, their maybe $100 million deal (reported by The New York Post, and called “grossly inaccurate” by E!) to extend their flagship tv show deal, and cameras on them 10 to 12 hours daily, if not more.

Brodesser-Akner nicely summarizes exactly what Kris Jenner’s impact on the Kardashians’ was, since it’s no longer quite that accurate to say they’re “famous for being famous,”

[Kris] is an executive producer of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and its summer spinoffs. She also manages the careers of all six of her children, as well as her own. Without Kris, Kim might not have pulled in a reported $28 million in 2014. Kendall wouldn’t necessarily be an in-demand model, walking runways for Chanel and Marc Jacobs and appearing on the covers of Allure and Harper’s Bazaar. There would most likely be no Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, a choose your own adventure (presuming it’s an adventure Kim Kardashian would go on) game app, starring Kim, that brought in many millions last year, or T-Mobile commercial, or book of selfies (“Selfish”), released this month. Kourtney and Khloé and Kim might not have three retail stores, named Dash, in Los Angeles, New York and Miami; a hair-and-makeup line, Kardashian Beauty; a bronzer line, Kardashian Glow; and Kardashian Kids, a children’s clothing line sold at Babies “R” Us and Nordstrom. Kendall and Kylie might not have licensing deals with PacSun, Steve Madden, Topshop and Sugar Factory, where they each have signature lollipops and several contractual agreements to appear at the candy stores. Rob, the lone brother, would probably not have a sock company that features socks that say things like “LOVE HURTS” and “YOLO” or sell adult onesies at places like Macy’s. There would not be seven perfumes in Kim’s name, or Khloé’s perfume with Lamar Odom, Unbreakable, which is still available, though their marriage has ended. There would be no endorsement deals, either: things like OPI nail polish and a “waist trainer” that Khloé and Kim model on their Instagram account. It is entirely possible that without Kris Jenner and all her wisdom over the years, all the attention she has garnered for her family, 16.9 million people would not have tuned in on April 24 to watch her ex-husband Bruce tell Diane Sawyer that he is transgender.

Keep up with all that?

Other fun facts revealed in Kris Jenner’s profile: she has black toilet paper in her bathroom; Kris’s short-lived talk show set was a replica of her foyer; Kris is incredibly organized (“clear plastic bins are my new best friend,” she said) and she loves redecorating and reorganizing; and she thinks “Costco is a passion” with “the most amazing dog beds,” amongst other things.

In the end, Brodesser-Akner wasn’t allowed to accompany Kris to Costco, as was originally planned. The producer told her, “No offense, but we can’t have any association with you there.” Whatever that means.

“About Bruce,” a two-part special which will include interviews with Bruce, Kris and all the Kardashian/Jenner children, is set to air May 17 and May 24 on E!.

Read Kris Jenner’s entire profile here (seriously, read it). Watch her and the family on E! every Sunday at 9/8 c.

[Lead Photo Credit: Graeme Mitchell for The New York Times]