It’s hard to remember a time when Kardashian wasn’t a household name, but its been a long eight years since the first season of their show Keeping up With the Kardashians originally aired, and we’re still intent on keeping up. In fact, 2015 has been the biggest year for the Kardashians yet – and they’re showing no sign of slowing down. Here’s what’s been going down with the famed fam this year:
1. Kim Kardashian gets Selfish
Kim Kardashian’s giant tome of selfies was published earlier this year, documenting her rise from a lowly stylist obsessed with taking photos of herself, to the head of a multimillion dollar empire obsessed with taking photos of herself. Whether you think a book of selfies is a harbinger of death to art and culture, or a brilliant statement about how we present ourselves in the age of social media, the book definitely kept the conversation about the Kardashian clan going.
2. Kylie Jenner, 2015’s Teenage Rebel
Oh, Kylie. Once the sweet, quiet baby of the family, Kylie has shot up before our eyes into a teenager with dyed hair, fake lips, and a 25-year-old rapper boyfriend – standard growing pains, right? Once a cute afterthought to the Kardashian empire, 17-year-old Kylie Jenner has been all over the tabloids lately, whether it be about her maybe-happening-definitely-illegal relationship with Tyga, or with the least surprising confession ever that those pillowy lips that blossomed out of nowhere last year are, yup, fake. Of course, that didn’t stop the rise of the viral social media stunt, the #kyliejennerlipchallenge, which led plenty of teens to attempt to mimic those puffed-up lips by sucking on a shot glass. Spoiler alert: the results weren’t pretty.
3. Kendall Jenner’s Rise to Supermodel
Of course, Kylie’s big sister has been gaining plenty of tabloid exposure, too. Maybe even more than older sisters Kourtney and Khloe. Part of Kendall’s recent meteoric rise in popularity has to do with establishing herself as one of the world’s most coveted models. In 2015 alone, she’s been named the face of Calvin Klein Jeans, appeared on the covers of GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue China, and walked the runways for labels such as Chanel, Vera Wang, and Oscar de La Renta. Girl has commercial appeal thanks to the reality show and her prevalent social media presence, and now officially has the critical stamp of approval from the fashion world – a huge get for a family whose name has become a nightly talk show punchline.
4. North West
Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kanye West was a spectacle in itself, a marriage of highbrow and lowbrow as a reality star (the bottom of the fame totem pole) married one of the most influential and well-known rappers of all time. Kim didn’t just receive a bump in status, she also now has one of the most amusingly named babies ever: daughter North West. With the news last week that baby no.2 is on its way, it’s time to start placing bets. How will they top the name North West? South West seems almost too obvious but, then again, they also have to compete against Kourtney’s son born earlier this year, aptly named Reign.
5. Caitlyn Jenner
Of course, the story that has both CNN and inTouch talking (in addition to being a story that both your grandmother and little brother manage to have a strong opinion on) doesn’t even concern a Kardashian proper, but rather the Olympic athlete and onetime Kardashian patriarch, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, who recently came out as a transgender woman. Now named Caitlyn, her stunning Vanity Fair cover has spurred countless thinkpieces, a hugely popular hashtag (#CallMeCait), and more conversation and coverage devoted to the transgender community than ever before.
Regardless of what you think about the Kardashians, it’s impossible to disregard what a huge step (in the right direction) the positive support for Caitlyn Jenner’s magazine cover is. The Kardashians may have been derided for the last seven years as reality TV trash, but decades from now their legacy may very well be giving visibility and the media platform for one of our most marginalized groups of people. In 2015, the Kardashians’ overexposure is finally being put to a positive use, which is exactly why this year might be their most important year yet.