Jenner, who has earned a 10-figure fortune aged 21, gained global recognition in her family’s reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Though Jenner has made her fortune with her best-selling beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, some have questioned whether her money can really be ‘self-made’, since she comes from such a privileged background.
Jenner welcomed her billionaire status with a post on Instagram thanking Forbes for the recognition.
She’s also defended the notion that she’s “self-made”, telling Paper Magazine last month that none of her money is inherited.
In that interview, Jenner said “the self-made thing is true”.
She claims her parents, Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, cut her off at the age of 15 and told her to start making her own fortune.
Jenner, who stars in the reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, continued: “What I’m trying to say is I did have a platform, but none of my money is inherited.”
Forbes has also weighed in on the issue, saying: “To be clear, Forbes defines “self-made” as someone who built a company or established a fortune on her own, rather than inheriting some or all of it.”
The magazine has devised a scale ranking how truly self-made a business person is.
On Forbes’ scale, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who was born poor, scored a 10. Jenner, who has benefitted from being born into a famous, wealthy family, scored seven.
Bybreen Samuels, author of the business book Non-Profit Booster – 10 Steps to Building a Successful Organisation, believes “describing Kylie Jenner as a ‘self-made billionaire’ is a misnomer” because “at no time has she faced true entrepreneurial challenges”.
Samuels adds Jenner’s journey to becoming a billionaire is in stark contrast with that of Sara Blakely, who used all her $5,000 (£3800) savings to launch the slimming knickers Spanx.
Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2012, at the age of 41.
Samuels tells BBC News of Jenner: “She gained leverage by using her family name, fame and wealth. Consequently, she had direct access to the whole range of privileges, connections and resources that flow from these factors.
“Her ascendancy into global wealth and brand recognition was already guaranteed before she even started.”
Predictably, given Jenner’s background, opinions on social media about her ‘self-made’ status are split.
Five facts about Kylie Jenner’s business
1. Jenner started Kylie Cosmetics in 2015.
2. Her empire consists of seven full-time and five part-time employees.
3. Jenner trademarked the phrase “Kylie Lip Kits … for the perfect pout” two years before setting up her company.
4. She founded the brand with $250,000 (£190,200) she made through modelling and TV work.
5. Her mother, Kris, looks after finance and PR in exchange for a 10% management fee.