scrolled through your Instagram feed only to see 20 or so girls that look like they could be the same person? Same. If you're a millennial, you probably follow a bunch of your favorite celebrities, social media influencers and just random pretty girls because maybe you like their style, makeup, hairdo or impeccable taste in nail polish colors. It’s no coincidence that these “pretty” girls all seem to look the same — long lush dark hair, voluminous lips, perfect skin — and for the most part, dress the same, too. We call this the "Kardashian Effect.”
Since the rise of the Kardashian empire, the marketplace for beauty has become skewed in a very particular direction. This is what’s popular, but in keeping up with them, we may all be losing who we are in pursuit of this singular standard. It really is hard to remember a time before the Kardashians, since we have dutifully watched America’s most famous family evolve over the past decade, but for a lot of people, the Black and Latino communities in particular, certain *ahem* attributes which have made them famous have always been the standard of beauty. So we dug into places where these girls exist, and they are so downright close to Kardash-Jenners, it will make you want to slap Kris. Whether aided by genetics, makeup or cosmetic surgery, these ladies have been dubbed by the internet as "KarJenner Lookalikes" and have had their lives turned upside down by the label.
“I woke up to, like, 11,000 followers. And I’m like, ‘What the heck is going on?’” That’s how 22-year-old Gabrielle Waters (@gabywaters23), Kylie Jenner’s doppelganger, discovered she was suddenly Insta-famous after a British news publication did a video about her extreme resemblance to the new mother and Keeping Up With The Kardashians star back in 2015. Since her overnight rise to social media superstardom, she’s been featured on sites such as people.com and cosmopolitan.com, made a guest appearance on a special lookalike episode of The Doctors and has landed influencer gigs with Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, Tobi and more. She currently has 45.1K Instagram followers, and while that comes nowhere close to Kylie’s 104M, that’s still a lot of influence for a nursing home aide from Pinckney, Michigan.
“At Starbucks, they’ll write Kylie on my cup,” she says of all the attention. “I’ll be at the mall and people will take pictures of me, like sneakily. I look over at them and they’re like, ‘Oh, sorry. We thought you were Kylie.’”
While Gabrielle says she’s never intentionally led someone to believe she was actually Kylie Jenner, she does admit to indulging people’s fantasies about meeting the 20-year-old makeup mogul. “People will ask, ‘Oh, my gosh. Can I take a picture of you so I can send it to my friend so she can think I met Kylie?’ And their friends would lose it… I’ve actually done, like, a couple autographs pretending to do her signature cause they’re like, ‘I wanna freak my friends out.’”
I woke up to 11,000 followers. And I’m like, ‘What the heck is going on?’
keep up with the Kardashians until more recently and it was her dad, a closet KKWTK fan, who first pointed out her likeness to Kylie. Gabrielle now follows the sisters on social media like any other 20-something and is a fan of Kylie Cosmetics. “People just think that I use it because I resemble Kylie and I’m trying to be her. But in all honesty, her makeup is really good. I really like it. I wear her eyeshadows every day, wear her lipsticks every day, just because I really like it.” She insists though that in no way is she a copycat, adding, “There’s no way that I could ever try to do my makeup like hers, cause hers is amazing.”
When asked if she’s ever had any work done to favor the youngest Jenner, her response is a hard no. “First of all, my parents would kill me. Second of all, I’m afraid of needles. I could never imagine getting a needle in my face, in my lips or anywhere.”
You’re probably wondering right about now, what having the face of a reality star sitting on a multimillion dollar fortune gets you, besides followers. Not much. Gabrielle does her “shoots” for Instagram boutiques with a local photographer in Michigan, the shops then repost her images in hopes her Kylie-ness will sell the clothes and instead of cash, they let her keep the outfits. That’s about as far as her modeling career has taken off. And as for any KarJenner encounters, the answer is no. She’s only been to Los Angles twice — one time for her Doctors episode and another for a brief getaway. “Me and my mom had just landed in L.A. We were just having a vacation there for, like, three days. I got off the plane and I hear this girl scream, ‘Oh, my God! It’s Kylie Jenner!’ I’m just like, ‘Yeah, getting off a Spirit airplane. Yup.’”
While modeling is something she aspires to, she insists she could never completely leave the retirement home and the old folks who are her biggest fans. “I’m just, like, ‘I’m over here. I love Jesus and old people.’”
Gabrielle has a great support system of family and friends, which is crucial, because if people aren’t fanning out over her, they’re most likely trolling her, and one of these friends happens to be a dead ringer for Kourtney Kardashian. 20–year-old Daisy Gonzalez (@daisylu01) resides in Detroit, just about an hour away from Gabrielle. Since “meeting” each other on social media (they’ve actually never met in person), the girls bond plenty over their lives as lookalikes and things like getting a shout out from Kendall Jenner herself, on her app. Daisy has a similar story to her Kylie-adjacent friend — being discovered by online publications in high school, constantly being stopped at the mall and hounded for photos, works promoting the same Insta-brands and has a healthy Instagram following that currently sits at 21.1K.
way more like her in person than in pictures, so when I go out in public people literally come up to me or will just stare me down. They’re like, ‘Do you know who you look like?’” She plays coy because the last thing she wants is to seem conceited, but she’s truly delighted by the comments. Unlike Gabrielle, Daisy has been a die-hard Kardashian fan since day one. Ironically, Kourtney is not her favorite of the bunch. “I’m, like, a Kim Kardashian fan all the way,” she admits. She does get the occasional Kim K. comparison, but everything from her perfectly poised selfies to her dark, sleek locks mimic Kim’s big sis.
“I do take inspiration from them sometimes, but it’s funny because my hair is naturally long and straight [due to her Mexican heritage], so people started thinking I took their 'do… My hair has always been straight, long and brown, split down the middle.”
Aside from beauty, Daisy describes her personal style as being more “indie” compared to Kourt and sisters. “I did steal some looks from them, but I feel like I have my own style.” One of those borrowed looks almost got her mobbed at a Yeezy concert. “I actually went to Kanye West’s concert and was kind of dressed like [Kourtney]. I had a long Yeezy shirt with some leggings and tennis shoes because it was last minute. I was in line for merch and these people were yelling, ‘Kourtney!’ My brother was like, ‘They’re calling you!’”
Daisy confesses her splitting-image Kourtney Kardashian looks are simply genes and denies any cosmetic enhancements. “I don’t think I could ever. I’m not against it, but I don’t think I would ever touch my face. If I naturally look like her why would I have to alter anything?” She adds, “I do get messages on Instagram of course saying, ‘You’re a wanna-be, why don’t you just try to be yourself?’ Blah, blah, blah.”
However, the trolls aren’t deterring this full-time YouTuber and aspiring beauty school student. She has big dreams that include similar endeavors to the KarJenners. “I did try to go into modeling but since I’m like 5-foot-2, that’s not working out. So I do want to also become a big influencer on Instagram and travel while doing hair on the side and hopefully one day open my own salon and have, like, my own makeup brand. That is the goal.”
"I did steal some looks from them, but I feel like I have my own style."
to more than one of these aesthetically blessed (or cursed, depending on your opinion) ladies. Tala Dani (@princessrozay98), 19, a Khloe Kardashian lookalike studying architecture in Lebanon, also has big dreams of the spotlight, though she seems stuck on exactly what she wants to do. “I’ve been trying to work on modeling or even opening my own shop, a clothing line. But, you know, I need more followers, because I don’t have that [many]. Who am I going to open a website for? I don’t have a name yet,” she explains. It’s true, Tala only has a little under 2K followers on Instagram, but that hasn’t stopped her from getting international recognition for her Khloe-like features from major U.S. publications. It’s difficult though to reconcile fame and notoriety that isn’t entirely your own. Essentially, these girls are becoming famous for looking like someone who is already famous. If Tala doesn’t want a normal 9 to 5 like the aforementioned Waters, we can see why. The world seems to open way more doors when your face resembles that of a Kardashian, but the OGs have proven that it takes more than just a pretty face to “make it.” For Tala, things get even more complicated because her life mirrors Khloe’s almost identically. What’s spooky about her story is that she went through an unbelievable glow up just like the 33-year-old Revenge Body host, who was formerly known as the ugly duckling of the famous sisters. Although folks think she’s done “things,” a.k.a. underwent surgeries in order to look like Khloe, she promises she hasn’t done a single thing.
“I was compared to Khloe ever since I was, like, 12, back when she had dark hair and she was a little bit chubbier, and I didn’t see it… I was like, ‘No, I don’t look like her. Why are you guys comparing me to her?’ Then as I grew up and as she grew up and started losing weight and going blonder, I was doing the same without even noticing,” she recounts. “It still surprises me that we both changed into the almost the same person and I wasn’t even keeping up with her.”
Tala stands at a solid 5-foot-11, Khloe at 5-foot-10, and is super fitness-oriented, which is evident with just a quick scroll of her IG profile that’s littered with gym selfies and clips of herself working out. Sound familiar? Then this will too. “I’m pretty different, I’ve been tall all my life, so that’s something everyone notices about me… I was always unique, always taller than everyone, always trying new things and had my own style. I also started going to the gym when I was around 15 years old and got interested in body building." Even Tala recognizes the familiarity of it all adding, “It’s creepy, really creepy."
“I honestly feel like she’s my twin. I can’t describe enough how I’m so similar to her, and it’s not because I look like her. Like even the way she acts, the way she talks, the way she deals with things, her experiences in life are kind of similar to mine. It’s crazy.”
“It’s funny because when I look at her pictures, it’s like looking at myself with that color shirt and I can tell if it looks good on me, you know? I’ve done that a few times by the way.”
figuring out her place in the entertainment and fashion realm, some people have parlayed their Kardashian similarities into a thriving career. Allow us to introduce sister duo Sonia and Fyza Ali (@soniaxfyza) from Dubai, who’ve capitalized on their spot-on KarJenner looks on Instagram and are already well on their way to building an empire of their very own. The sisters’ account boasts a whopping 765K followers, and while it started off as a place for people to get celebrity-inspired looks for less, it morphed into one of the most notable beauty pages out there. Sonia, 23, is a beauty influencer with a face practically identical to Kim Kardashian, and Fyza, 25, is a professional makeup artist for the royal families of the Middle East who’s a pretty close-match to Kylie Jenner. Fyza began uploading her photos of her work with her Kim-carbon copy sister as her muse about three years ago, and their rise to prominence was instantaneous. “As soon as we put our faces on social media people from the West picked up on it. People here didn't say it to us because all the women in the Middle East have the same look… big brown eyes, olive skin and dark hair,” the sisters explain.
They’re not just mistaken for KarJenners on the ‘gram, they regularly fool folks in person too, including an incident last year during a visit to Cali. “We were on Rodeo Drive and we were planning on shooting content for social media and all of a sudden we were being chased by people and paparazzi, so we ended up running in heels into an Uber! We don’t think that we have their style at all.” They maintain that they're “not intentional” with their KarJenner-ness and chalk it up to their Middle Eastern roots.
“People who aren’t aware of how women in this region look because most women here culturally don’t upload their photos on social media. It’s just great makeup skills that we all have here that have been passed on from generations.” Again, this form of beauty is not new to them. It’s only been colonized (sorry, Wakanda is on our brains) and manipulated by the Kardashians, and successfully so, but it is refreshing to find women who actually just look naturally like, well, how the Kardashians are trying to look.
while the women we’ve spoken with thus far were #bornthisway, that does not mean that there aren't women all over the world trying to emulate the Kardashian look by any means necessary. Take, for example, the Plastics of Hollywood doll and self-proclaimed Kim K lookalike, 25-year-old Jennifer Pamplona (@jenniferpamplona), who just wrapped up another surgery as a further attempt to Kardashian-ify herself. “I just did my ninth surgery. I did my butt again. I did the liposuction. I removed a hip. I did my chin. I did my nose. I did a boob job. Oh, so many things,” she confesses while still recovering from a nose job. “You know what they call me? They call me Jennifer Pamplona Kardashian.” And it’s true, they do!
All around the world Jennifer has fans of her purchased Kardashian curves, including her 244k followers on her verified Instagram account. The Brazilian beauty has been making headlines over the past year or so for undergoing extreme surgeries, like the four pints of fat she got injected into her booty to look like her idol. Yes, you read that right: four pints. She got her start modeling high-fashion on the Versace runway, but felt self-conscious after constantly being told that she was too skinny. When Jennifer was 17, she had her first boob job, which she calls “the best thing I’ve ever done,” and has now spent over $500K on perfecting her body to look like Kim’s.
“I was looking at her and was like, ‘Wow, I want to have this style.’ And now it’s normal. Lots of girls on the internet look like Kim. She puts on an outfit and after two hours, the whole internet is wearing Kim Kardashian’s outfit. But for me, I was, like, going deep. I was like, ‘No. I’m going to do surgery. I want to really look like a Kardashian.’”
...It's normal. Lots of girls on the internet look like Kim.
multiple doctors turn down some of her requests for more lips or booty because they deemed additional procedures too risky, but she isn’t fazed at all by potential complications, saying that if things ever took a turn for the worse, that she would die happy and beautiful. This sounds offbeat when she goes off on a tangent about her vegetarian lifestyle, managing her career on her own and an emphasis on taking care of her soul. You see, the way Jennifer sees it, just because she wants to look like a Kim clone doesn’t me she wants to be her. “My DNA, it’s mine. Kim Kardashian’s DNA, it’s hers.”
Jennifer’s outlook may come off as misguided but her plan to become “super famous” seems to be headed in the right direction. "I want to look like Kim because I think she’s something like an icon," she says, but only because she wants to be an icon herself. She already has a reality show in the works with other Plastics of Hollywood, has launched Jennifer Pamplona Cosmetics in addition to a pocket perfume line and a fitness chocolate line. While her remarks might sound shocking to some, Melissa Doft, MD., of Doft Plastic Surgery in New York City, is accustomed to patients, usually women 35 and under, requesting Kardashian parts and treatments they’ve made popular. “Of course, Kylie Jenner’s lips come up all of the time,” she says. And might we add that Kylie Jenner’s lips aren’t even Kylie Jenner’s lips. Dr. Doft adds, “Patients are often interested in seeking more flawless skin like Kim. They typically ask to undergo a VI peel ($400) or PRP injections ($1,300) to increase radiance. The Kardashians are famous for discussing the vampire facial (PRP with micro-needling), which many women come in for.” What’s next? On an episode of KKUWTK this season, Khloe revealed her phobia of belly buttons and fear of what hers may look like after pregnancy. Since this televised revelation, Dr. Doft has seen an uptick in the number of patients interested in belly button improvements through abdominoplasties, a $10K procedure.
could be the gateway to KarJenner lookalike status, and maybe we’re all one overdrawn lip away from slowly morphing into Klones ourselves without even realizing it. Their influence is astounding and found everywhere from hair to nails to vernacular. However, it must be said that though they have figured out how to monetize this niche in a lucrative way, they have done so under the stealth and careful repurposing of cultures that are not their own. The Kardashian cultural appropriation debate at this point is a tired one and one-sided, since they seem not to care from where they steal any and everything. But speaking particularly to women of other heritages who have women in their families that have been looking like the Kardashians want to look for decades, it really brings the problematic nature of perpetuating one standard of beauty to light.
What if, for example, you don’t look like this? Can you still be a Fashion Nova model if you want to? Can you start your own cosmetics line? Does anyone care about a face that is different from the ones that we are lauding as the pinnacle of beauty? There’s no doubt Kim Kardashian and her sisters have created an empire based on their looks, this very specific look, and it seems as though the women who mirror that look certainly have similar advantages. But what does that mean for those of us that don’t look like this? How do women find themselves in a world full of clones? These six women seem to have conquered it, but then again, they are as close to the proverbial perfect 10 as you can get. Think about that the next time you scroll through Instagram.