All the Moments that Made Us Say "Kris Jenner Works Harder," Ranked by Conniving-ness
In 2015, I spent $1.99 on Kimoji, Kim Kardashian's emoji keyboard which touted a selection of stickers from the vast Kardashian oeuvre - Kim's infamous crying face, Kim with an appropriated hairstyle, Kourtney in mirrored sunglasses, lips on the verge of insulting her younger sister. But mostly, there were parts of Kim's body and other sexually suggestive symbols: A peach doused in cream, a ripe banana. For a time, it was the no.1 paid app in the App Store.
Mining the Kardashians' personal lives for comedic material was (is) a favorite pastime of mine, and where I saw a cheap yet hilarious opportunity to send my friends unsolicited Kimojis of Kim's ass, Kris Jenner saw dollar signs. Guess which one of us is rich and which one of us is blocked from at least one group chat.
The adage "The Devil works hard but, Kris Jenner works harder" was, even in 2015, a fairly common refrain - the image often associated with the meme, Kris in sunglasses, was even its own Kimoji. And my decision to hand my hard-earned money over to the family despite having only an ironic interest in their lives is a prime example of Kris's superior intellect, her business acumen at work. Another manager may shy away from the haters, but Kris shamelessly embraced them. I can't even be mad that I contributed my $2 to the KarJenner fortune. Kris had me in her clutches and I loved every minute of it.
Kristen Mary Jenner (née Houghton, previously Kardashian) has been hustling on this Earth for 65 years, climbing up the California coast from suburban San Diego to the hills of Calabasas, where she plays puppet master to all of her children's careers. And don't be fooled by family vacations to remote islands. For Kris Jenner, the work never stops.
Case in point: Following the June 10 series finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which wrapped after 20 seasons and 14 years on air, Khloé Kardashian went public with her breakup from Tristan Thompson, father to 3-year-old True. As news of the split traveled around Twitter, we were once again muttering "Kris Jenner works harder," positing that the couple had timed the news so that it dropped after the tell-all reunion, which aired in two parts on June 17 and 20. That way, Khloé could avoid questions about the breakup and not distract from the other news bites to come out of the interview with Andy Cohen. (There were quite a few.)
At this point, whether or not Kris is as scheming as she seems is irrelevant. She is as much a part of the appeal of the family as her children and their billions and billions of dollars in combined net worth. As we bid farewell to the show I loved to binge watch while staying home sick from school, I've compiled a list of the moments that most embody Kris's cunning, ranked from least to most conniving. Bible.
12. The Photo Khloé Wanted to Disappear
After a behind-the-scenes photo of Khloé Kardashian was leaked online, her team led a wild goose chase across the web to have every copy washed from the internet. The attempt appeared futile - until users sharing the image began receiving warnings from Twitter and threats of suspended accounts. Many were quick to point out that the platform seemed to take longer to address death threats than it had one bikini photo - and that kind of swift, decisive action must trace back to Kris, right?
11. Rob's Sock Collection
Rob launched his sock collection, Arthur George, in 2012. Despite his reclusive nature, Rob's business is thriving, a testament to Kris's commitment to making sure that each of her children has at least one viable business going at one time. Don't worry, the "DILF" socks are still in stock.
10. Kourtney and Addison Rae's Friendship
All of Kris's children are now over the age of 21, meaning there's a vast market they're not reaching as authentically as they once were: Teens. So how does a family stay relevant in the 20-and-under market? Whip up a strange friendship between your eldest daughter (42) and Addison Rae (20), Queen of Tweens on TikTok, perhaps. Regardless of whether an actual connection exists between the two, and whether it was Kris's doing or simply fate, all parties benefit. Addison's career is legitimized by association with the Kardashian empire, and Kourtney gains more clout with Gen Z. At the very least, they can bond over people being confused as to why they're famous.
9. Kravis and Their Ungodly Amount of PDA
While it does appear that Kourtney and Travis Barker have a genuine connection, Kourtney's star has certainly risen in the wake of her relationship with the former Blink-182 drummer and a fellow Calabasas resident. The pairing was unconventional enough to raise eyebrows and headlines - and I wouldn't be surprise if Kris took notice and began to encourage the public (er, Instagram) ass grabs. More eyes on the relationship means more potential customers for Kravis's inevitable Poosh collaboration!
8. All 13 Spin-off Series, and Too Many Brands to Count
More than anything, managing six children and launching umpteen businesses (from Kim's first perfume venture, Glam, to Kylie and Kendall's novel, Rebels: The City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia) sounds exhausting as hell. Credit is due to Kris's under eye concealer because the woman never looks as tired as she must be. I've aged simply thinking about the piles and piles of paperwork she's likely filed for Kimsaprincess Inc. alone. Though her true ingenuity lies not in her ability to create businesses out of thin air, but to distract from her children's business failures by way of strategic leaks to the press. A new relationship, a pregnancy, or a pivot to law school all keeps the sisters at the center of the tabloid PR machine. There's a reason we don't talk about the long gone Kimoji keyboard, the family's short-lived individual apps, Life of Kylie, or the Kardashian collection at Sears, but we still talk about the sisters. Kris Jenner works harder ...
7. Caitlyn Jenner's Excommunication
Following her divorce from Caitlyn Jenner in 2015, Kris slowly began to distance herself from her ex-husband. The friction between her daughters and Caitlyn became a major plot line of the series before she began to fade away from the show (and E!, after the cancellation of I Am Cait after two seasons) altogether. These days, as Caitlyn preps for a controversial run for governor of California, Kris's name is but a footnote in the conservative's past rather than a headline. That's a feat that must've taken work, as they were married for 24 years and share two biological children and six step-children between them.
6. The Kimye Divorce News Rollout
Months before the couple announced their divorce, stories about a separation were leaked to the press on a regular, rolling basis. If you're a natural skeptic, as I am, you may believe that this strategy was the invention of Kim's legal team and perhaps one Kris Jenner. What may seem like real-time reporting could be a plot to save Kim's assets from the class action lawsuits against Kanye - because if they aren't together, she doesn't have to pay out for his Sunday Service fiasco. Kim's fortune is protected from legal action against Kanye if she can prove that they weren't together when the lawsuit was settled, and it's hard to argue with dozens of respected publications' time-stamped news articles on the subject. The breakup also coincided with criticism of the family's partying ways during COVID, pivoting the narrative from "Kim is so inconsiderate" to "aw, poor Kim."
5. The First Tristan Thompson Cheating Scandal, Leaked a Week Before Khloé Gave Birth
Even before videos of Tristan Thompson getting frisky with women who were decidedly not Khloé, his then-very pregnant girlfriend, were leaked to TMZ, it was rumored that Kris wasn't a fan of the playboy NBA star, and wanted a way to cut him out of the picture - or at the very least, drum up interest in the future of his and Khloé's relationship. If the parodies are any indication, people definitely thought that Kris was in on the drama.
4. Kim's Career
Sometimes I'll forget that Kimberly's first big moment in the spotlight wasn't her stint as Paris Hilton's assistant, but when her sex tape was released in 2007. "As a mother, I wanted to kill her," Kris said during a confessional in an early season of KUWTK. "But as her manager …" These days, Kim is often described as an entrepreneur and aspiring lawyer who capitalized on what would have otherwise been 15 minutes of fame to build a sex-positive empire of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Now she has a relationship with the White House! The trajectory is unparalleled, and both Kim and Kris have never been shy about Kris's involvement in managing her every move.
3. Kylie Jenner's Secret Pregnancy
As an entertainment journalist, the most pressing question of the year 2017 was, is Kylie Jenner pregnant? Sources said 'yes, definitely,' and sources said 'no, absolutely not,' sowing confusion and intense frustration. One thing everyone could agree on? Kris was probably refusing to confirm or deny the rumors because she was saving the reveal for just ahead of the latest season of KUWTK.
2. The Jordyn Woods/Tristan Thompson Cheating Scandal, and the Kylie Jenner Fallout
Like Kylie's pregnancy, the handling of the Jordyn Woods/Tristan Thompson "cheating" scandal was suspiciously timed to the newest season of KUWTK. Not to mention, this story reached all arms of the KarJenner universe. Khloé's boyfriend flirting with Kylie's best friend? Salacious! This all came at a time, too, when the show's ratings were waning, down from their peak in the 20teens. Kris left the scene of the crime spotless, so we can't exactly pin the drama on her scheming ways. But luckily, Benito Skinner can!
1. The Entire Concept of a Reality Show That Exploits Her Children's Drama
100/10, we're talking evil genius levels of scheming. In Kris we trust.