Kendall Jenner’s tequila company – the latest catalyst for a gender and gentrification debate in Hollywood

5 mins read

Meet the Kardashians / Jenners latest business venture, ‘818’ Kendall Jenner’s Tequila brand. The internet is not happy.

The general problem that has arisen are accusation of Jenner gentrifying Mexican tequila culture and her brand culturally appropriating Mexican and Latinx culture as well as fears of exploitation for the workers involved. 

What many don’t realise with tequila culture in Mexico is how deeply embedded it is because of the key ingredient  agave. Agave has been used in food and drink going back to the time of the Mayans and when outsiders attempt to capitalise of this it’s offensive and disrespectful of the depth of Mexican culture. 

coctail drinks on clear drinking glass
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

She also mistranslated one of the types of her tequila, on the bottle it says ‘blanco tequila’ when in Spanish it would be ‘tequila blanco’. This simple Spanish grammar mistake came across to many as her not actually caring about the culture from which tequila came from and it was not as much of a personal project as it was first shown as.

When Kendall announced the news, it was launched as a personal project stemming from her love of tequila and had been in the works for over three years. For her to have spent this time curating ‘the best tequila’ for this amount of time it is astonishing how ignorant to the origins it comes from. 

The backlash is correct, the rich and famous need to stop rehashing tradition and culture to make it cool and trendy for the western market and audience. 

There is a ‘but’. 

Why has it taken Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand for this issue to be brought up. Put more simply why has it taken a woman’s tequila brand for this issue to be brought up. Why has no one ever called out Nick Jonas, George Clooney, Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake or Dwayne Johnson? The difference between the two is obvious, the gender. 

Women cannot do anything without it being pulled apart and although it is clear that she is in the wrong here for nullifying Mexican and Latinx culture despite having no connection to it previously it is getting old to see men and women do the same thing and for only one gender to be demonised for it. 

Call them all out for their participation in the trend of Celebrity Tequila but no one had anything to say when Dwayne Johnson launched Teremana in 2020.

People even congratulated Clooney when he sold his tequila company Casamigos for $1 billion despite the fact him and his co partner Rande Gerber openly spoke about how the inspiration for the company was because when they visited Mexico they didn’t like some of the tequila and wanted to make one perfect for them, completely ignoring the origins of traditional tequila. 

If the idea of Kendall Jenner having a tequila company doesn’t sit right with you because of her privilege, her already accumulated wealth, her platform or her disingenuous attitude towards the history of it have the same energy for the men in the same position.

The bottom line is celebrities essentially putting their name on a tequila bottle and selling it has genuinely caused a shortage in agave and skyrocketed the prices of it. This creates problems for those smaller distilleries who cannot afford the new prices of agave and cannot keep up with these new businesses.

If this trend continues with celebrities taking a holiday in Mexico and deciding to launch their own tequila these smaller traditional distilleries will simply go out of business and it’s not just Kendall Jenner to blame.

Don’t buy 818 but don’t buy the male equivalent of it either.

Featured image – Bustle

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Film, Media and Journalism student who writes about things that catch her interest. Instagram @charlsutcliffe

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