Coming out as a woman at the age of 65, Caitlyn Jenner has been called a trailblazer for transgender rights and visibility. However, the Kardashian connection persists, and her public transformation has plenty in common with a Kardashian-style publicity stunt.
Without taking anything away from the bravery that Caitlyn Jenner has displayed by coming out as transgender, there’s no denying that her public persona is still very much a true Kardashian. Just like her ex-wife and her daughters, Caitlyn is a self-branding expert, and revealing herself to the world might have as much to do with her need for attention as it does with her hopes of making a difference for other transgender people.
1. The Reality Show
Caitlyn couldn’t resist the opportunity to transition in front of the cameras, since that’s where her family has lived for most of the past decade. E! has turned the Kardashian into stars, so Caitlyn used that notoriety to become the center of attention once again.
The 65-year old’s biggest claim to fame used to be her Olympic gold medal, won for the decathlon in Montreal in 1976, but soon she might gain even more attention thanks to the eight-part docu-series entitled “I Am Cait”. After a tasteful interview with Diane Sawyer, going back to reality TV is definitely one of the reasons Caitlyn Jenner is a true Kardashian. She’s also an executive producer, so she stands to make plenty of money off the project, something she admitted herself, while also explaining that: “I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people.”
2. The Publicity Stunt
Just like her family, Jenner seems to be very aware of how to create buzz. After the ABC interview, in which she still identified as male and used the name Bruce, Caitlyn decided to make the big reveal in print, on the cover of Vanity Fair, the same magazine that Ellen Degeneres used to come out as gay in 1997.
3. The Look
One of the reasons Caitlyn Jenner is a true Kardashian is the fact that she left nothing to chance when introducing her new self. After multiple cosmetic surgeries, a lot of makeup and plenty of retouching, she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair looking better than most 65 year old women. Her white strapless leotard showed off her toned body, and the compliments and comparisons with Jessica Lange came pouring in. Bruce was a sex symbol, and Caitlyn seems to be on her way to becoming one as well.
See also: Famous Transgender People
4. The Name
Even though Caitlyn didn’t spell her new name with a K, she chose a name that will keep her connected to her famous and influential daughters.
5. The Social Media Success
A strong social media presence was always part of the lucrative Kardashian business model. In just 4 hours after she joined Twitter, Jenner had broken the record for reaching 1 million followers in the shortest time, and that’s one of the reasons Caitlyn Jenner is a true Kardashian. After 2 weeks she currently has 2.55 million followers, but the number is likely to increase after “I Am Cait” starts airing in late July.
6. The Upstaging
Kim Kardashian West was on the cover of Glamour magazine the same day as Caitlyn’s Vanity Cover premiere. In a rare situation for Kim, she was completely upstaged by a family member, something she used to do to her older sisters all the time.
7. The Branding
One of the most interesting reasons Caitlyn Jenner is a true Kardashian is the fact that her choice of name is perfect from a branding perspective. There are no A-lister Caitlyns, so the sky is the limit for endorsement deals. Expect a “Caitlyn” fashion line or fragrance deal by the end of the year.
8. The Backlash
The Kardashians have faced plenty of criticism over the years, and many have called them “attention whores”. Even without that label, Caitlyn’s transition featured multiple plastic surgeries and a glamorous magazine cover. Some trans activists have criticized her for promoting an “unattainable stereotype” for most transgender people.
9. The Media Strategy
Everyone can pull off a single moment in the spotlight, but one of the reasons Caitlyn Jenner is a true Kardashian is the fact that everything was planned perfectly, first the tasteful interviews, then the reality show.