When Andy Warhol predicted that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, he got the idea right, but his time frame was way off. For the past decade, we’ve seen a democratization of celebrity; fame has become more attainable, and yet more powerful, than ever. The internet operates under a village mindset, one in which formerly isolated niches can grow into hyper-specialized global phenomena. There are pop culture deities for singing, dancing, and acting, but also for mastication, gory makeup, and even the soothing sounds of Silly Putty. But who are these everyday people-turned-blue-chip-mega-influencers? And how does this happen? We tracked a few of them down to find out.
Kirby Jenner, the long-lost “fraternal twin” of Kendall Jenner, is known for Photoshopping himself into the intimate, well-heeled lives of America’s favorite reality TV family. He never breaks character.
“I wasn’t in the public eye for most of my life, mostly because I just wasn’t interested in being on TV and stuff. When my family did the first season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I was 10 years old and was obsessed with Rollerblading, so I just stuck to that. One year I was actually supposed to be on the show, but I accidentally got stuck in a drainpipe in front of our house for two months. Another season I walked into the kitchen on the first day of filming and some dude handed me a light, because he thought I was part of the crew and the next thing I know I’m in the friggin’ Grip and Electric union—Local 100 or something. It’s dope. I get health insurance now. Anyway, I’m hoping to be on the show more now, since I’m really starting to take my career more seriously. My Instagram account started at a Cinnabon. My friend Karen—super dope at building skate ramps, by the way—was like, ‘Hey, Kirby, what’s your Insta?’ And I was like, ‘What’s Insta?’ Then my twin sister Kendall was like, ‘You need to make a username and password.’ So I made my username ‘kirbyjenner,’ and my password ‘P-A-S-S-W-O-R-D.’ I’ve changed it from ‘P-A-S-S-W-O-R-D’ to [redacted] though because I’ve gotten identity-thefted twice! My fave video is the clip from the show where I’m eating salad and talking to my sisters because that’s honestly just us in our element—chatting and salads. People need to stop worrying about what other people think and just be themselves. It’s like Kendall always says, ‘It’s a hustle, but it’s also a bustle, so we owe it to ourselves to hustle and bustle in our most seamlessly authentic self.’”