I want to go far in my career. I want the best for myself. I want success and I will do anything to get it, apart from getting a working girl permanent, although I would consider adding a shoulder pad or two. That is why I come to you today from a desk and a chair, unlike where I normally address the general public: my boffice (office-bedroom).
This is just one of many valuable nuggets of information I jotted down while attending Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner’s masterclass for MasterClass: Gotta get ready to pivot. If I’m seeking career prosperity, I have to get up, get my affairs in order, and get down to business outside the comfort of my plush Urban Outfitters duvet. After all, by the time the alarm goes off in the morning, Kris has been up for hours trading millions with the bigwigs.
I had no idea what to expect when I fired up my first MasterClass earlier this week. He had heard, of course, that this was the main way to learn from all the greats. A quick look at his talent library in my area of expertise, Arts & Entertainment, would suggest it. Natalie Portman, Shonda Rhimes, Jodie Foster, and Martin Scorsese are just a few of the esteemed instructors. There’s even a three-hour course from Alicia Keys, in case she wants to learn to tune forever!
With a MasterClass from someone as reputable and business-minded as Kris Jenner, I was ready to sit down with a pad and paper for what was sure to be five to seven hours of intense learning. It turns out that Kris has the second shortest course in the Business section. Hers is an hour and forty-six minutes long, just three minutes longer than Howard Shultz’s, who must have had to record her class quickly in order to get back to his busy schedule of busting unions at Starbucks.
However, just over 90 minutes of class was ideal for my afternoon. And frankly, a good business person should be able to communicate the essentials of brand building in that time. While I’d like to put on record that I’m so fervently committed to journalistic standards of practice, I was ready to put up with seven hours of learning for less than 2,000 words in a Google Doc. But I digress!
Kris’ class is divided into 11 separate, easy-to-digest segments. Each one has a specific vignette within the broader scope of their overall MasterClass, which is about building a successful personal brand and translating it into a business. “We’ll talk about creating the right personal brand narrative and targeting the right audience,” he says, in a markedly different tone at the end of his introduction; he is clearly now reading from a cue card. “And how to handle fame while staying grounded, graceful, and true to yourself!”
With that line, I was sure fame was my destiny. But, to my chagrin, there were no paparazzi outside my building this morning when I headed out for an early run at Trader Joe’s. But as Kris would point out to me later, this wasn’t going to happen overnight, although it seemed to be good for her family.
From the first segment, I realized that I was starting at a disadvantage. Kris tells us, his star pupil, that it’s important for your personal brand to be authentic. And to do that, you have to sell yourself as someone who does what you really love. “I was doing what I love to do, which is filming a TV show,” Kris says of her starting point for creating her brand. And that’s all well and good, but some of us are still in the middle of contract negotiations with those pesky, stingy networks! What are we going to do while we wait for the cameras to come up?
Fortunately, for every completely forgotten and unrelated statement, Kris offers some honestly good advice. As I mentioned earlier, his emphasis on having the readiness to pivot, both in life and in business, is a kernel of truth that can be adapted and applied to life in its most difficult moments. Would I have opted for pre-roasted frozen corn when Trader Joe’s didn’t have regular frozen corn this morning if I hadn’t had Kris’ advice in my back pocket? Hard to say. Sometimes a bag of corn is enough to ruin your whole day if you’re not equipped to deal with it.
A good number of Kris’s lessons included accounts of her life story. My eyes sparkled every time she started to tell a story from her past; I already knew a great deal about Kris’ story of burning up millions of brain cells in the 285 episodes of keeping up with the Kardashians and its various spin-offs over the years. However, this inadvertently fulfilled another one of Kris’ instructions, which is to experiment with different paths and find out what you’re really good at. great in distracting myself and laughing to myself, imagining Kommander Kris sitting in her chair in her starched pilgrim collar, addressing the nation as if I were FDR and this was her Fireside Talk.
But when I tuned back in, I got exactly what I came for: Kris’ morning slot. My biggest vice in this world is watching celebrity “What’s in My Bag” or “What I Eat in a Day” videos, so I pulled up a chair, ready to enjoy. “I have coffee. I get on the treadmill. I return emails, texts and I can make some international phone calls,” says Kris. “So I feel like I have a head start on the day.”
Immediately, I realized that I had to change my entire sleep schedule. I am now setting up my coffee maker. I call random numbers every morning just to feel important. I’m dialing the Marshall’s/TJ Maxx/Bed, Bath & Beyond combo in Chelsea to find out what time they open, only to hear another hustler on the other end of the line.
Kris then gave me a more satisfying affirmation than I have ever received from any therapist. “I get anywhere about half an hour early. Just so I can sit down, ground myself… go over any notes. Everything I do makes me flow into the next hour of the day.”
As a chronically early and overly anxious homosexual, it was as if Kris took my hand in hers, looked me in the eyes and he said his famous line: “You’re doing amazing, honey.” (Also a title from one of his lessons, by the way.) The next time I’m sitting at an airport gate long before my flight appears on the screen by the plane’s bridge gate, I’ll remember this. I’ll tell my boyfriend, who’s been judging me for making us show up at 5am even before he opened the Hudson News, that’s how Kris Jenner does it. And you don’t want to be successful?
“At least we know that Kris’ advice has resulted in 15 years of staying power. And in years of industry? That is a lifetime.”
Now, I’ll be honest with you. Much of Kris’s class is his talking and saying the word “brand” over and over again. Her lessons echoed the classes she had taken as an undergraduate in an Advertising program, long before I became the beautiful, young, witty writer with the dazzling complexion that I am today.
But in that sense, she it is a brand expert. Go to any other social media influencer with 500,000 followers, and they’ll spit out the exact same platitudes! And with a lot less style, too. At least we know that Kris’ advice has resulted in 15 years of staying power. And in years of industry? That is a lifetime.
Each of Kris’s class lessons comes with a detailed assignment at the end. I don’t really like doing homework for adults, so I was already skeptical. It turns out that they are actually more suggestions than tasks. The first was to make a vision board that reflected my personality. Kris is a very visual learner, unable to successfully make online vision boards despite many attempts, a revelation I fear could send Pinterest’s stock plummeting.
I decided to skip this task (and the others too), because if you count Housewives Saved Twitter Memes, Bella Hadid Videos saying meaningless wisdomand screenshots of half-naked famous men, I have multiple vision boards within the 33,428 photos saved to my camera roll.
Also, Kris Jenner’s class in MasterClass is more compelling when viewed as a character study. Reading between the lines is an essential part of this experience. And the ironic but brilliant part of all this is that you can see her implementing her own brand moment by moment.
For example, when discussing the importance of brand logos, Kris says, “I remember when Kim was choosing the brand logo for SKIMS and how much effort, time and energy she put into it. Because he had something in his head that he wanted it to be, and he didn’t stop until he got there.” Here, Kris is completely missing the fact that Kim had to rename the entire brand after the product was already had occurred. It was previously called “Kimono” until a legitimate outcry of cultural appropriation inspired a name change. But Kris, always the brilliant businesswoman and brand manager, shrugs off that flop. Because the Kardashian brand doesn’t it is a failure.
I dare not say much more than what I have already revealed, I do not want to leak the whole class. That would be useless and also perhaps illegal. I say “maybe” because I’m not sure, but I’d like to avoid getting attached to the legal ramifications of any entity that might pay Kris Jenner and Anna Wintour’s viatical fee.
Though Kris Jenner’s MasterClass might not be packed with the most exclusive tips, it’s a streamlined starter pack for anyone looking to get a head start on personal branding. It’s indisputable at this point that Kris Jenner is a master of marketing, and this class is perfect for anyone looking to avoid an expensive education for just a few thousand followers.
Still, it’s Kris’s nonsensical quips that I’ll really take with me at the end of the day, particularly one that I can’t understand, although I do understand it to the letter: “Behave as if you could.” You can’t afford the loaf of bread, when you actually own the bakery.” After dishing out this wisdom, Kris simply says, “You’re welcome.” She’s Jean Valjean, and East It is his master class.