Kylie Jenner has been named the youngest self-made billionaire of all time by Forbes magazine, thanks to the booming cosmetics company she founded three years ago.
Ms Jenner, 21, the half-sister of reality television stars Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, made the annual Forbes list of billionaires after debuting her Kylie Cosmetics online in 2015 with $US29 ($41) lip kits containing matching lipstick and lip liner.
Forbes said she was both the world’s youngest billionaire and also the youngest ever self-made billionaire.
However that description rankled some critics who questioned whether Ms Jenner, whose family has appeared on reality television for years, could truly be described as “self-made”.
On their billionaires list, Forbes distinguishes between those who inherited much of their wealth and those who made their fortunes on their own.
“She’s the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, reaching a ten-figure fortune at a younger age than even Mark Zuckerberg [who was 23 when he hit that mark],” Forbes said.
Last year, Kylie Cosmetics did an estimated $508 million in sales, according to Forbes. Ms Jenner owns 100 per cent of the company.
The company has tiny overhead costs, employing just seven full-time and five part-time employees, and manufacturing and packaging is outsourced to Seed Beauty.
Marketing is carried out through social media, primarily dependent on Ms Jenner’s enormous following.
“It’s the power of social media,” Ms Jenner told Forbes.
“I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
She also makes money from endorsements and appearances on cable TV’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and was ranked at number 2,057 on the Forbes 2019 list.
Kylie Cosmetics last year signed a deal with Ulta Beauty to put her products in all of the retailer’s 1,163 US stores.
Forbes put 2,153 billionaires on its 2019 list, down from 2,208 in 2018, and said their total combined net worth was $12.3 trillion, down from $12.8 trillion in 2018.
The richest person in the world remained Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, whose net worth increased to $185 billion from $158 billion in 2018.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates remained in the number two position with an estimated fortune of $136 billion, up from $127 billion last year.
Mr Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and chief executive, dropped three places to number eight, as his fortune fell by $12.3 billion to $87.9 billion.
Ms Jenner may have used her social media status to drive her company’s advertising, but many on Twitter claimed much of her success was dependent on her family’s celebrity.
Jenner’s status as a billionaire will take some of the sting out of recently losing the title of most popular picture on Instagram to an