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As Instagram's user demographics evolve, will Kim continue to reign supreme? Does she even need Playboy at this point?

Kim Kardashian says “bye-bye” to the Met Gala and “hello” to Playboy

Ever wondered what the Met Gala would be like without Kim Kardashian and her glam Kardashian-Jenner squad gracing the red carpet? This very question shook the media world as we approached the gala this year with rumors circulating that Kim and her family weren’t invited. This seemed like a twist out of a reality TV plotline – considering the Kardashian-Jenner clan and the Met Gala go together like peanut butter and jelly!

Does this mean she will return to Playboy? Time to take a real look and see for ourselves.

The Road to Relevance

Remember how Kim first made her grand entry to the Met Gala in 2013? Her much-memed floral dress certainly got people talking! Fast forward to 2023, Kim was back on the Met Gala red carpet debunking those pesky rumors with Kendall and Kylie Jenner by her side. 

This event spurred some to question the relevance of the Kardashians. As Kim landed a role in the upcoming season of American Horror Story, whispers of her fading star power filled the air.

Take a time machine back to the mid-2000s, and you’d find Kim helping Paris Hilton stay in the paparazzi’s sights as her assistant. Paris, then famous for The Simple Life, was Kim’s first brush with reality TV fame. Little did anyone know, this was the beginning of a monumental shift in pop culture. Playboy was no exception as the young starlet kept more than a few pages turning since her last shoot.

Pioneers of Fame

The Kardashians took center stage with Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2007. They successfully navigated the uncharted waters of reality-TV-to-influencer fame, effectively becoming household names. Their rise to fame wasn’t without criticism, with many labeling them as “famous for being famous”. However, they’ve since moved beyond this label, recognized as adept marketers and brand-builders.

Unlike Paris Hilton, whose relevance dwindled as media interest waned, the Kardashians leveraged the dawn of social media to their advantage. With over a billion followers across their Instagram accounts, the Kardashians became synonymous with the rise of Instagram and the influencer culture.

They’ve also demonstrated their media savviness, understanding the need to keep a balanced relationship with traditional media for continued relevance. Playboy notwithstanding, the option to go more sultry was never far away to begin with.

The Kardashian Powerhouse

The Kardashians are no ordinary family. Each member brings something unique to the table. When Kim’s marriage ended, Kourtney stepped up with her relationship with Travis Barker, bringing more media attention. Kendall Jenner added a touch of high fashion, while Kylie positioned herself as a Gen Z icon and businesswoman. Together, they form a united front that amplifies their collective brand’s power.

Recently, Kim’s move to acting and runway modeling raised eyebrows. Was this a defensive move? Or was it an attempt to conquer older markers of fame previously unattainable to a “reality star”? From purchasing cultural artifacts like Princess Diana’s necklace and Michael Jackson’s hat to wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress at the Met Gala, Kim is asserting herself at the center of eras she wasn’t part of. 

Evolving Influence

Critics speculate on Kim’s fading influence, citing trends of people removing fillers and implants initially influenced by the Kardashian aesthetic. However, this could merely be a reflection of Kim’s own changing aesthetic. As Instagram’s user demographics evolve, will Kim continue to reign supreme? Does she even need Playboy at this point?

No matter what any of us think, the overwhelming consensus is that influencer culture is here to stay.


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