It’s Kardashian day! Across the globe, millions of fans are settling down to watch the latest instalment of the glamorous, expensive and dramatic lives of Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie.
The Kardashians, which is, according to the publicity material, more ‘docu-series’ than reality show, is the centrepiece of a multimillion-dollar content deal between the Kardashian-Jenners and streaming service Hulu, owned by Disney.
It promises to be more sophisticated than Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which followed the lives of the rambunctious clan for an unprecedented 20 seasons over 14 years on network TV channel E!.
If true, it would be a bit of a shame, considering that much of the affection for the family comes from witnessing wonderfully unsophisticated acts. These include; Kim’s tantrum when she lost a $75,000 diamond earring while diving; Kourtney attempting to give Khloe a bikini wax when her then husband returned home unexpectedly; Kris mulling over an offer to become the face of incontinence pads; Khloe and Kris enjoying a few drinks and toilet papering Kim’s condo; and, most compelling, the slapping incident in the final series between Kourtney and Kim.
In the 10 months that the family have been ‘off air’, we haven’t exactly been denied access to their lives — they themselves have been dropping regular crumbs on social media, which were invariably hoovered up by the traditional press, building up demand for a deeper dive on such things as meeting Kylie (24) and rapper Travis Scott’s second child, the baby formerly known as Wolf.
Will we learn his new name and find out the reason behind the quick name change?
Will Khloe (37) and her baby daddy Tristan Thompson work things out? Will they have another baby? And what more can we learn about Kourtney’s new penchant for PDAs and engagement to Travis Barker? The Blink-182 drummer is no stranger to the world of reality TV having served as patriarch of his own reality show Meet The Barkers (2005), which ran for two seasons and gave a glimpse into his family life and marriage to former Miss USA Shanna Moakler.
Kourtney appeared to be a bit jaded in the last series which, ironically, made her all the more interesting and relatable and will have her fans — she is particularly big with health-conscious mums — cheering at the new lease of life she seems to be enjoying as she turns 43 this month.
In fact, turning 40 is seen as a plus in the famous family. She is quoted in a recent interview as saying: “When Kim and I each turned 40, we got all these text messages from our grandmother and our cousin and people over 40,” she says.
“They were like, ‘You’re going to have the best sex of your life. You’re going to be in the best place in your life’.”
Video of the Day
Which brings us to the star of the show. For without Kim (41), it is unlikely there would be a billion-dollar Kardashian business empire. She first came to attention as the constant companion of the original ‘famous for being famous’ reality show star Paris Hilton.
Making her living by organising the closets of her friends, who just happened to be the rich and famous of Tinseltown, Kim was photographed regularly at Hilton’s side by the paparazzi and soon became a celebrity in her own right.
In early 2007, an adult entertainment company acquired and released, without Kim’s consent, a sex tape featuring Kim and her then ex-boyfriend Ray J — a singer, producer and younger brother of singer Brandi, star of tween show Moesha, on which Ray J also featured.
In October that year, KUWTK debuted on E! and the first episode featured momager Kris telling Kim that she had been invited on to The Tyra Banks Show on the proviso that she talk about the tape. It is clear that Kris and Kim have decided, the latter seemingly more reluctantly, to make hay in the unwanted sunshine brought by the tape, and given what followed, who could blame them?
So the symmetry of the infamous sex tape resurfacing in the first episode of The Kardashians is almost too perfect. According to early reviews, Kim and Kanye’s six-year-old son Saint shows his mum an ad that appeared when he was playing Roblox featuring a picture of Kim crying and promising previously unreleased footage of Kim and Ray J. Kim reacts by calling her lawyer and saying: “I’m not going to go through this again. I have all the time, all the money, and all the resources to burn them all to the f***ing ground.”
And boy, is she right! In the 15 years since the first episode aired, Kim has become an extraordinarily accomplished and impressive person.
And we’re not just talking about the successful ventures that make up her €1.8bn business empire, even though they do illustrate the trajectory of her incredible metamorphosis from wannabe celebrity to mid-life role model.
First there was the fragrance business, which exploded after Kim tweeted to ask her fans advice on the final design for the bottle. According to Kris, this was the first time she noticed how good Kim’s instincts were, and how clued in she was to her audience.
Next came the game Kim Kardashian Hollywood, in which players can be Kim out and about in Hollywood and, according to Forbes, earned the star $40m.
She earned several million more by launching her own brand of emojis — or Kimojis — but the real money started coming in when she launched KKW Fragrances, KKW Skin and KKW Beauty.
Selling 20pc of the latter to Coty in 2020 made her a billionaire. She has recently indicated she is to rename these businesses and form a new umbrella brand, where fans can purchase fragrances, beauty products and possibly her latest and potentially most long-lived and lucrative brand, SKIMS.
Kim’s inability to find undergarments in the right colour with the right feel was the impetus behind the inclusive shapewear — it comes in nine different nude shades and encompasses all body types.
The brand was initially called Kimono, but Kim was compelled to do a rebrand after she was accused of cultural appropriation by members of the Japanese community both in the US and Japan, even receiving an open letter from the mayor of Kyoto, who asked her to reconsider her trademarking of the word and her naming of the underwear line.
She acquiesced to the critics, acknowledging the oversight and apologising, and renamed the line, labelling over hundreds of thousands of garments already embossed with the Kimono name.
The brand recovered from the false start and was an instant hit.
Introducing loungewear just as the world went into lockdown in 2019 massively increased sales and the company is now valued at $3.2bn, with Kim purportedly holding the majority stake. She has featured in the promotional campaigns, the first alongside twentysomethings Kylie and Kendall, which she has described as “…probably my proudest moment in terms of my body … I could stand next to them and feel confident”.
She also appears in the most recent campaign featuring former Victoria Secret Angels Candice Swanepoel, Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosio and Tyra Banks — a clever move as it juxtaposed SKIMS wearable, comfortable pieces with the more fetishised Victoria Secret garments, and the ladies look more gorgeous than they ever did walking down the runway wearing the VS wings.
Kim convinced 48-year-old Banks to come out of retirement for the campaign, called Icons, by telling her how much of an inspiration and a boost to her self-esteem it had been to see Banks, with her curves and real boobs, grace catwalks and the covers of magazines when she was coming of age in the 90s and early 2000s.
The campaign garnered a few extra column inches as some critics contended that Banks was Photoshopped. Tyra says she was thrilled to be asked by Kim to participate in the campaign and found the whole experience empowering.
Which brings us to another impressive Kim quality. She is gracious and generous about those who helped her along the way, and is unlikely to have forgotten the publicity offered by the ground-breaking supermodel — Banks was the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated — for that very first KUWTK episode.
She regularly thanks her staff publicly by name, something that is notable also in mother Kris, and is supportive of all her family’s various business endeavours.
To this day, she credits Paris Hilton with her having a career in the first place and says that the hotel heiress taught her the importance of always having time for your fans when you meet them, no matter what.
She credits ex-husband rapper and self-proclaimed genius Kanye West (the two divorced recently after seven years and four children) for teaching her about high fashion and design — which he did very well when you consider the girl who was once refused samples by PRs is now inspiring iconic looks by the world’s most famous designers.
She not only gained entrance to the world of fashion, she changed it. Balenciaga Creative Director Demna Gvasalia, who designed her infamous Met Gala dress, describes her thus: “I think for many, many years, there hasn’t been anyone who has redefined the standards of beauty, of feminine beauty, as much as Kim has. She did something that is very similar to what Marilyn Monroe did back in the day. She redefined our understanding of what beauty is.”
But perhaps the most impressive and impactful facet to the forty-something Kim is her sense of justice and her burgeoning legal career. She is on the way to becoming a lawyer in California “the hard way” by taking two bar exams instead of attending law school. She failed the first exam three times, and got an almost perfect score the fourth.
She is working with and being mentored by human rights lawyer Jessica Jackson, whom she met when she visited The White House to ask President Trump to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for a first-time non-violent drug offence.
Kim came across the plight of Ms Johnson when scrolling through Twitter and felt compelled to help, leading to the release of the 63-year-old grandmother. Her ultimate aim is to start her own law firm employing formerly incarcerated people.
In the meantime, we can look forward to watching her living her best life in The Kardashians. She has a new boyfriend — 28-year-old comedian Pete Davidson — and, with a second divorce and the hard baby-making and baby-minding years behind her, she is focusing on herself.
“For so long, I did what made other people happy,” she recently told Vogue. “And I think in the last two years, I decided I’m going to make myself happy. My 40s are about being Team Me. I’m going to eat well. I’m going to work out. I’m going to have more fun, spend more time with my kids and the people who make me happy.”
Kim Kardashian on…
“I’m not one that gets nervous about getting older. I obviously do what I can to try and feel as youthful or to look a certain way, but I’m proud that my kids get me here another year. I always think about that, particularly losing your dad or a parent or someone close to you at a young age.”
Co-parenting after divorce
“You could be so hurt or angry at your ex, but I think, in front of the kids, it always has to be ‘Your dad’s the best’. Make sure you are your co-parent’s biggest cheerleader, no matter what you’re personally going through.”
Trolls and criticism
“I just try to live my life and be happy for people. And I think when you just live your life like that, you block it out. It’s like a racehorse that puts on blinders so they can see clearly and straight. You’ve got to just be that racehorse, put on those blinders and go. And if you start trying to see to the right or the left of you, you’re going to trip up.”
(Kim had placenta accreta with North and Saint, so her two younger children, Chicago and Psalm were born via gestational carrier)
“You know what giving birth feels like. I always say if you can do it, it’s such an amazing experience, but you’ll see that the love you’ll have for your kids is exactly the same. There’s no difference except there was someone else that was the carrier.”
Her new relationship with Pete Davidson
“I encourage my friends and the people that I love just to be happy. And I went for it. I was like, ‘You know what, I’m in my 40s like f*** it, just go for it. Find your happiness’. I went for it and I took my time. I found it and it feels so good. I want to hold on to that forever.”
The first episode of The Kardashians is available today on Disney+.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/kim-kardashians-midlife-reinvention-i-have-the-time-the-money-to-burn-them-to-the-fing-ground-41551951.html Kim Kardashian’s midlife reinvention: ‘I have the time, the money… to burn them to the f***ing ground’