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The surprising revelations found in ‘Life of Kylie’ |


The surprising revelations found in ‘Life of Kylie’

EXISTENTIAL BLABBER - Kara Ortiga - The Philippine Star
The surprising revelations found in âLife of Kylieâ

Kylie Jenner’s reality show Life of Kylie airs every week on E!

It’s easy to brush off the new Kardashian spin-off Life of Kylie as trash content at worst, a guilty pleasure at best. But the show’s revelations about today’s youth are actually surprising, oddly moving, and a little bit worrisome.

Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian empire and famed CEO of her own makeup line, asserts through the show (which the girls often use as a PR platform) that she is just like any average girl. Of course her incredible online following of 97 million followers and her whopping multimillion-dollar business would say otherwise. Still, she tries: “I laugh. In their face. Nobody has a perfect life,” she says of the public perception. “The only different thing about me is probably just that I have nice things. But what you realize when you get there — when I know I could buy any car, any house — is that that happiness lasts two seconds. That’s not real happiness or where I find happiness.”

This ambivalence towards fame was actually revealed in one episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Kylie has a conversation with her older half-sister Kim, opening up about feeling like maybe she was not made to be famous, not like Gigi or Kendall or Bella, she says, name-checking the other Hollywood It Girls. Kim responds with something that amounts to her version of sympathy — “Aww, that makes me so sad to hear, because I know I was made for this” — to which Kylie just silently surrenders.

After a decade of us following mostly the older Kardashians around, having the spotlight suddenly redirected to someone like Kylie actually gives us a glimpse of how much things have changed. For example, Kim Kardashian’s claim to fame was her sex scandal/tape with ex-boyfriend Ray-J, while Kylie’s claim to fame was living in the shadow of that scandal.

Then there’s the shifting, complicated, convoluted world of teenage girls. The amount of anxiety that girls have to go through day-to-day can be excruciating: dealing with things like body images and family pressures and societal expectations are hard to juggle as is (believe me, I went to an all-girl’s school). But throw in the numbers game and the competition gets tougher. Now girls are mean to each other, and they know how to keep score. Girls live in a world where popularity, beauty, and confidence can be measured and equated to clicks, likes and shares, and that’s a tough race to be in.

Kylie struggles with this — her having grown up in front of a camera all her life — and also deals with the usual toils of celebrities who hope to cling onto some kind of normalcy when they’re not on camera (hello, John Lloyd Cruz). “There’s an image that I feel constantly pressured to keep up with. In order to stay relevant for the public, I have to be on Instagram and I have to be on Snapchat, just keeping people entertained.”

“Feeling the need to post all the time… I feel like I have to keep up this idea of who I am. I think I lost a lot of parts of myself.”

There are more than a handful of powerful lines that slip through Kylie’s surgically constructed lips in the show that will resonate strongly with a lot of teenagers growing up in this world of social media. Examples:

• “It’s just a lot to handle. Sometimes, I’m like: ‘This is it. I’m insane.’ I feel like this fame thing is going to come to an end sooner than we think.”

• “I’m getting the bug again, where I just want to run away. I just don’t know who I’m doing it for. The new goal in my life is to just live.”

In episode one, Kylie spontaneously suggests to the show’s producer that she would love to see a therapist. We, of course, get access to these therapy sessions, (which sort of defeats its purpose) but the basic key message of which is that the girl just ain’t happy. And we should ruminate over this consequence: how many other girls probably feel the same way?

Of course the show is self-absorbed and shallow, sure. But it is at least entertaining, in some parts insightful, and also incredibly relevant…

Here is Kylie, who is pegged by many young women as someone who has made it. Yet she can’t reiterate any more about how she just wants to be a normal 19-year-old, to feel what it’s like to step out of a car and have people not recognize you. The irony here being that most 19-year-olds, it seems, just want to be Kylie, clinging on to anything that will lead them to their 15 minutes of fame.

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