At the beginning of the year, Kylie Jenner dubbed 2016 "the year of just realizing stuff," and oh boy, was it ever. It's been a long, sometimes difficult 365 days for so many people, and although some of us may not choose to use the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star's exact words, her prediction that this year would be eye opening does hold true. And right now, the "stuff" I'm realizing is that there's no doubt about Kylie Jenner being the celeb who won 2016. This year was the year she finally became a celebrity and a businesswoman in her own right, separate from her sisters and the reputation that precedes her family. Kendall's sister, the youngest Kardashian, went from Kylie Jenner to Kylie Jenner, and her transformation has been incredible to witness.
When talking about Jenner's success, there's only one place to start: Kylie Cosmetics. Earlier this year — and after a lot of talk about Jenner's own lips — at the end of 2015, Jenner launched her Kylie Lip Kit line with just a few shades available. They immediately exploded, and as the line continued to grow into 2016, their popularity only got bigger. In February, a restock including new Valentine's Day colors sold out in 10 minutes, which is ironic considering the fact that Jenner told People she started her own cosmetics company because her favorite products were constantly hard to find.
Since then, her beauty brand has only gotten bigger. It's not just the lip kits, it's now Kyshadow, lip glosses, and even a $290 giant holiday box filled with most of the products she's released so far. Oh, and then there's the Kylie Shop, which launched Dec. 10 and is now almost completely sold out, and her massively popular L.A. pop up shop that drew insane crowds earlier this month.
So far, her business ventures haven't just earned her more fans, they've earned her a lot of money. According to Forbes, Jenner earned $18 million in 2016, making her the second highest earning reality star of the year, only behind older sister Kim Kardashian. By now, it seems obvious that Jenner is building an empire, and let's not forget that she's only 19. Feel lazy yet? I do!
It's not just the business world Jenner has conquered; it's the social media world, too. As of publication, Jenner has more than 81 million Instagram followers, and as Social Blade reports, that makes her the eighth most followed celebrity on the platform — which also means she has more followers than anyone else in her family, except for (once again) Kardashian, whose following of over 89 million is difficult for anyone to beat. Add in the literally millions of people who hang on Jenner's every word on Snapchat and Twitter, too, and it's easy to see how she's become so influential this year. She's reaching so many people and keeping them interested, and it's easy to see that this has truly been her year.
In case you're still not convinced Jenner owned 2016, there's even more evidence. If you won't believe me, believe TIME, who named her on their 30 Most Influential Teens list for the third year in a row. And earlier this month, The Daily Beast called her "the savviest Kardashian," a title that's hard to argue with. How else could she have amassed so many followers? How else would she have sold so many Kylie Lip Kits?
The best part of this whole thing? Jenner's success isn't just good for her; it's good for her younger fans who look up to her, too. And so far, Jenner says that's something she's very aware of. (She told Complex in an interview this year, "Sometimes I’ll be typing out a cuss word and I’ll be like, ‘I can’t say that! There are probably kids watching.’”) She has grown up to be a successful woman who is very open about her life and her feelings, especially when it comes to the difficulties of living in a family with a level of fame that hers has. It doesn't seem like it's always easy for her, but we haven't seen her back down from a challenge yet. Who wouldn't admire a quality in someone like that?
There are a lot of people out there who may try to argue that any member of the Kardashian family isn't a good role model, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Jenner's success is a symbol of the power she already wields — a power that holds the possibility to change a world that so desperately needs positive change. Maybe, under her influence, Jenner's followers will be inspired to do the same. She's obviously had a lot of help from her family and has privileges that a lot of us don't have, but she's the perfect example of a determined 19-year-old who set a goal and smashed it. That's an amazing thing for younger girls to look up to and emulate.
After the 2016 Jenner has had, I'm excited to see where 2017 takes her. Hopefully, it involves even more lip colors and plenty of KUWTK. She has an awesome future ahead, and this is only the beginning.