The Kardashian-Jenners are some of the most sought-after influencers for lucrative and high-profile Instagram sponsorships. But for a time, Khloe Kardashian was left out of that pack. In a new essay for Glamour, the 33-year-old reality star opens up about her body insecurities and how she got significantly fewer endorsement deals than her sisters, Kim and Kourtney, because she was “heavier.”
In the essay, which looks back at Khloe’s 10-year journey on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the youngest Kardashian sister admits that she didn’t see the impact of reality TV fame until the “fourth or fifth season.” This is largely because she was often passed over for sponsorships and endorsement deals because she didn’t have the same body as her sisters. “The truth is that I was heavier then too, so not a lot of endorsements were coming my way,” Khloe writes. “Brands would prefer to align themselves with Kim or Kourtney, which I was totally fine with because I was still along for the ride. But it’s also a very sad thing to realize that most brands are interested only in pretty, cute, in-shape girls.”
The experience led Khloe to partner with less glamorous brands, like tampon companies, so that she could fit in. She admitted that the experience eventually drained her self-worth—something she didn’t fully realize until recently, when she became more comfortable in her skin.
“There were things I did back then that made me think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ I once did a deal with a tampon company, and I was like, ‘Why am I so thirsty?’ But I was young, and you feel pressure; you see your sisters getting deals and you’re like, ‘Should I be doing something? Is a pad commercial all I can get? Well, OK then.’ The older you get, and the more comfortable you become in your skin, the more you begin to think about what makes sense for you. ”
However, judging from Khloe’s story, it seems like the unrealistic body standards for women in the world of Instagram sponsorships hasn’t changed. Khloe admits that it wasn’t until she began exercising more and changing her body that endorsement deals started ramping up. “When I started getting in shape and when I first got married, a different amount of attention came my way,” she wrote. “Because I had already seen my sisters go through it, I was able to be pickier about my opportunities.”
Sigh. While it’s not exactly news that major brands don’t always prioritize diverse beauty standards in their ads, we hope that Khloe speaking up about the experience will help raise awareness—for both brands and consumers—that the norms they so often perpetuate can be seriously destructive to women, even one as seemingly confident and empowered as Khloe Kardashian.