Pink hair, do care.
ICYMI, 2014 is officially back in 2024, and Kylie Jenner’s new hair is all the proof we need. On January 16, the Kylie Cosmetics founder took to Instagram to share a carousel of selfies with bubblegum pink hair, captioning the photos with: “hiiiii remember me.” And the internet lost its mind, with fans on social media sharing their glee at the return of this version of the superstar.
king kylie is back..2024 is the new 2014 pic.twitter.com/6eLFIwycL9
— popcultureangel (@lohanisgod) January 16, 2024
For those not in the know, Jenner’s photos and caption were a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 2014 to 2015 period of time known as the “King Kylie” era. It’s mythic, marking an era of the internet when a 16-year-old Jenner seemingly first stepped out of her sisters’ shadows and into her own individuality. As Highsnobiety noted, in opposition to her sisters’ curated feeds at the time, the then-teen was sharing makeup tutorials and vines with friends, and giving fans a glimpse into her teenage life.
And people ate it up. Jenner’s every move — and interaction — was obsessed over and emulated by fans online. You’ll remember it well: Jenner was dating rapper Tyga (which is arguably perceived as even more controversial now than it was then), she leaned into an edgy aesthetic, rocking skulls, sky-high cage heels, leggings and heavy black eyeliner, and — most importantly — she changed her hair colour like it was her job. Rotating between teal-dyed tips, a lime-green blunt bob, and peach-coloured hair, to name only a few, King Kylie was a hair chameleon.
A decade later, King Kylie is back. While this is a big change for the makeup mogul, it’s also kind of a big deal for us, too. This is our sign that in 2024, after years of feeling isolated and sad, the year ahead is all about doing what serves you.
To refresh your memory: In 2014, there were *a lot* of big things happening in pop culture. Celebs — and by extension audiences — were truly living for themselves. After establishing herself as an industry icon, Taylor Swift had officially made her crossover from country music, releasing the OG version of 1989 and pushing back on her narrative as a man-eater in “Blank Space.” Kim Kardashian broke the internet with her Paper cover unabashedly embracing her body and not caring what the haters said, Solange and Jay-Z’s infamous elevator scuffle went down, and Gone Girl, a film about a woman who punishes her philandering husband by framing him for her murder, was released. Plus, this is the era that precedes Canadian rapper Drake’s Views album and the phenomena that would become the Summer of 2016 (an unarguably peak period of time).
It makes sense that we’d be lusting for a time when everything was simpler and more engaging. Research suggests that people feel nostalgic for the past during periods of time in which they have negative emotions or feel lonely. While we may typically feel nostalgic for our childhood.
The past several years have been rough, to put it lightly. Many people are still feeling the long-term effects of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, housing is out of reach for millennials, groceries cost about as much as a mortgage, and in our neighbouring country to the south, human rights are being rapidly stripped away from women, marginalized communities and trans folks. It’s bleak. In Hollywood, celebs and those who love entertainment, are coming off a months-long SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America Strike, meaning a dearth of stimulating creative content as they fought for fair pay. Many people just don’t feel like themselves right now.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the 2014 to 2015 time period was all fun and games. The same year King Kylie started dying her hair on the reg was also when Jenner began her infamous and now storied relationship with lip filler (which would eventually lead to the launch of her Lip Kits and Jenner’s now billion-dollar Kylie Cosmetics empire). While we’re all for people making the decisions they want about their bodies (it is their bodies, after all), there’s no arguing that Jenner’s lip plumping-era was problematic. Jenner denied having any work done until 2015, causing fans to find fault in their own natural beauty, then launched a beauty empire off the back of these teens and tweens wanting to change their appearances. And this was arguably the start of the Kardashians now long history of creating unhealthy body ideals for the people that follow them.
@kyliejennerheard its 2014 vibes this year♬ Suga Suga – Instrumental – Baby Bash
And as FASHION’s Natalie Michie noted in a June 2023 article about the evolution of Jenner’s style, the adoration over Jenner’s lips — and the popularity of the ill-advised “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge” — was a contrast to the stigma that women of colour have historically endured for having naturally fuller lips. So, it hasn’t all been great.
Chances are that this latest foray into Kylie Jenner of the past is nothing more than a marketing stunt. There are rumours that a “King Kylie” lip kit is coming, and it’s no coincidence that Jenner would have the internet alight just days before Kylie Cosmetics launched foundation for the first time — this is, after all, Kris Jenner’s daughter. Not to mention the fact that the reality star’s aesthetic has evolved, with Jenner even dabbling in cottage core (!), since she started dating actor Timothée Chalamet in 2023.
It’s safe to say the nostalgic pink hair likely isn’t here to stay. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t take what we want from this moment and apply it in our own way.
In this case, let’s embrace Jenner’s marketing ploy as a reminder to ourselves to embrace our own individuality — be it in fashion, beauty, or making a decision about where we want to go with our career this year — and do what serves us and what feels good. Meaning, if you’re looking to embrace the trending #eclecticgrandpa aesthetic, get a new job, or just finally get bangs — you should do it. Because in 2024, me, myself, and I are the people that truly matter.