Madonna has entered her latest era as a skin-care aficionado and beauty guru. The queen of pop released her line of luxury skin care, MDNA Skin, last September, and now she’s teaming up with an unlikely but powerful force: Kim Kardashian West.

After hanging out at Guy Oseary’s annual post-Oscar party on Sunday night, Madonna and Kardashian united for a panel on their respective beauty lines at Barneys in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Madonna, up to date on social media as ever, posted a photo of the two to her Instagram. “The next minute I was having a serious chat about skin care and beauty with @kimkardashian! Fun Day #mdnaskin #beauty #science #skincare. #epic @mdnaskin #loveyourself.”

Some of her Instagram followers, as they are wont to do, pushed back hard: “I can’t believe the woman I looked up to n idolised since 1982 has completely fallen from grace, in my eyes, by associating herself with trash nobodies like that KKW. WHY MADONNA WHY!?!? Why did u think u needed her on board??!! So so disappointing!!”

What would be surprising, though, is if Madonna didn’t align herself with a modern star who, like nearly every female star who has emerged in the last 30 years, is influenced by Madonna herself. Always a master at marketing her image and expanding her influence, Madonna’s venture into skin care is utterly of the moment; Kylie Jenner may be the Kardashian who is most closely associated with that industry, but Kim’s not a bad second. Fifteen years ago Madonna was teaming up with Britney Spears to maintain her place in the pop-culture firmament. Today it’s Kim, and for good measure Cardi B, with whom she also posed for photos at her Oscar party.

And Kardashian, no stranger to self-marketing ingenuity, recognizes a good partnership when she sees one. She posted photos of her mingling and business dealing with Madonna to her Instagram Stories and Twitter, along with what could be considered the pair’s hashtag, MDNA X KKW.

While not everyone will understand Madonna’s methods in the moment, it’s all a part of her master plan, which will involve magnetic clay masks and outliving us all.

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