The Kardashians have trademarked the family name
For Blac Chyna, the chance to make that dollar hinges on a trademark and a Dream.
The 28-year-old video vixen-turned-reality TV star was engaged to Rob Kardashian—until the couple split in a cloud of Instagram shade this weekend. Rob is Kim Kardashian’s baby brother and the father of Chyna’s daughter Dream. On Monday, Rob apologized to her for his “flaws” in front of his 8.2 million Insta followers. If the romance recovers and Chyna eventually takes on the famous last name, she would become a fixture in social media’s most prominent family franchise.
That, industry observers say, could lead to Chyna (born Angela Renée White) possibly quadrupling what she currently makes. Being a Kardashian would boost the fees she collects from nightlife entrepreneurs to turn up at their bashes, and could lead to major corporations licensing a line of Angela Renee Kardashian products. Kim Kardashian West, for instance, has 89.1 million Instagram followers, which carries a lot of commercial clout.
Mike Esterman, a celebrity booker who works with the likes of Paris Hilton, actor Mario Lopez and the rapper Akon, estimates that Chyna is currently paid between $30,000 to $35,000 for a brief promotional appearance at a nightclub. “Anything that is associated with Kardashian usually means triple the normal celebrity going rate,” he says.
“Her value goes up two to four times…if she changes her last name to Kardashian,” says Mark Zablow, CEO of Cogent Entertainment Marketing. For example, according to celebrity news site TMZ, the star-crossed duo was offered $500,000 each for their wedding to be featured in the last episode of “Rob and Chyna,” a reality TV series that airs on E! The wedding had reportedly been scheduled for summer 2017.
While B-list celebrities earn their keep from booking appearances, the heftiest fees are for those with the wherewithal to license branded product lines, says Luke Watson, a branding expert and director at Roker Labs. “Collecting royalties is the business that all celebrities want to be in,” he says.
For her bottom line to be amply augmented with such deals however, she has to actually own her name. This past spring, Chyna, filed papers to trademark “Angela Renee Kardashian” for use in entertainment and social media.
Attorneys for Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian are seeking to block the move, arguing that Chyna was “deliberately seeking to profit from the goodwill and popularity” of the Kardashian name, People reported. A legal representative for Chyna didn’t return a request for comment.
Copyright lawyers and branding experts have expressed doubts that Chyna will succeed in her legal maneuver. Even baby Dream, a member of the family by blood, might have difficulty directly accessing the franchise. “The Kardashian name is already trademarked so you can’t just choose to go into the business now,” says Berndt Ullmann, president and chief executive of Star Branding, an agency that works with Jennifer Lopez, Adam Levine and brands like Kent & Curwen. “The Kardashian sisters are fearful that there might be a product with a confusingly similar name that could damage existing business and revenue streams.”
Even if the engagement ultimately falls apart and Chyna fails in her trademark bid, mother and child are going to be fine financially. “She’s still going to command press and be part of the Kardashian wing because of all the hype,” says Esterman, who adds that Chyna and Dream could be an attractive pairing for the many brands “who love to do baby-mother stuff.”
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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