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Kendall Jenner: Why the internet blew up over her Proactiv partnership


by Hannah Hillyer
08th Jan 2019
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When the Kardashians issue that an ‘announcement’ is imminent the world waits with baited breath, what will it be this time? A big, blow-out wedding, a baby Kardashian on the way or even another sex tape?

So when the news broke that Kendall was partnering with skincare brand Proactiv, aimed at acne sufferers, people were outraged. Given how the announcement was hyped on Twitter, everyone expected something a little more meaningful. However, an advert thinly veiled as a deeply personal issue should  hardly come as a surprise to us at this point. The Kardashians make their money from whatever dramas are happening in their lives, be it Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, Kim’s robbery in Paris or the breakdown of a marriage, it’s all documented and there to be profited from. So an acne breakout seems to be fair game, right?

 

There a number of things that have got under people’s skin about this issue, mostly about the hype created by Kris the ultimate ‘Momager’. Marketed as something meaningful only for it to be an ad is bad enough but when combined with dramatic phrases like ‘be the change’ and ‘authenticity’ we expected something more genuine. Many people thought it would be to do with Kendall’s struggles with anxiety, which is often mentioned on their reality show. Instead it was just click-bait of the highest degree.

Does she really have acne?

My initial reaction was to dismiss that Kendall had acne at all, as her Instagram feed is just endless images of her looking positively radiant. But, as we know all too well, what we see on Instagram is not always the case and as part of the campaign she has released images of her skin when she was struggling with breakouts. Now arguably, none of us exactly flaunt our skin on Instagram when it’s not looking its best, but ‘sharing your story’ about acne seems a little far-fetched especially as being a model, she earns a living from how she looks.

Personally, I have had acne so bad I have cried about going in to work, wanting nothing more than to hide under the covers, but even then I would have said it could have been worse. So this dramatic ‘reveal’ coming from someone who graces Vogue and catwalks regularly didn’t quite sit with me. The use of words like ‘raw’ ‘brave’ and ‘vulnerable’ seem overly-dramatic as almost everyone has had to deal with problem skin at some point in their teenage years.

Not meaning to trivialise or demean her experience as seeing the pictures, yes, she did have acne, but when you come from one of the most rich, famous and successful families in America it is difficult for me to be as emphatic. Surely she had a team of facialists and dermatologists on hand to help? This is where the advertisement becomes an issue, as it’s doubtful she used Proactiv to clear up her skin in the first place.

That’s not to say Proactiv wouldn’t work, I’m sure it does for many people. But marketing a brand as ‘the cure’ for acne prone skin is problematic if done in-authentically, especially as the target market is young women. If you are a teenage having issues with your skin, you are likely to be vulnerable and impressionable, which is why this type of advertising works so well.

Moneymaking

With Kris Jenner behind the wheel there is money to be made from everything. But, at least if this had felt more authentic it would have been forgiven a lot quicker. With the tagline of the video Kris posted stating ‘connect with Kendall’ and her claiming in the video that she is normal ‘just like you’ makes it an even more difficult pill to swallow. Kendall  is exceptionally beautiful, privileged as well as wealthy, not your average teenage girl with a few spots.

 

“I’m so proud of my darling @KendallJenner for being so brave and vulnerable. Seeing you share her most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people and help foster a positive dialogue is a testament to the incredible woman you’ve become.” pic.twitter.com/rJUXdN2Wmq

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