INTERVIEW: Kim Kardashian
America’s highest-paid reality TV star Kim Kardashian met with Ahlan! Live Editor Sarah Hedley Hymers during her much publicised trip to Dubai last week. Read on to discover her views on Dubai, reality TV and her famous figure...
When we posted coverage of Kim Kardashian’s trip to Dubai on Ahlan! Live last week viewing figures sky-rocketed. Just one of six stars to be in Twitter’s prestigious ‘10 Million Club’, Kim rubs virtual shoulders with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Barack Obama, and her wedding became a global Twitter trending topic earlier this month as she Tweeted at her 10.3 million followers during E!'s broadcast of the event. Yes, ‘Kimania’ is rampant on the web. But a few poignant comments were posted on Ahlan! Live that do need to be addressed. “What exactly is she famous for?” asked one reader. “What does she actually do?” enquired another.
As we followed Kim around Dubai for three days we got a pretty good idea about what she does all day: smile for the cameras, look pretty (jaw-droppingly so), change outfits (often), and enthuse about products (a lot). It’s harder than it perhaps sounds. You try having your photo taken with 100 strangers, one after the other, permanently arranging your features into something resembling a genuine smile, all while being filmed by a TV crew commissioned to capture any signs of stress in order to boost ratings.
“I think when you live your life on a reality show you know what you’re getting yourself into,” says Kim, genuine-looking smile in place. “As a family when we started the show we made a promise to each other that we would be all the way authentic. Of course there are times when you’re trying to go to the gym and you’ve no makeup or I’m trying to get to take my nephew to Disneyland and have him enjoy the experience, but you know I can’t complain - it comes along with it. It’s not that bad.”
How Kim became the focus of a reality TV show in the first place is a fairly classic Hollywood tale. She made a tape – the adult kind, which raises interesting questions regarding her appeal to the hundreds of abaya-wearing fans who lined up to see her in Dubai. The tape went viral in February 2007 and Keeping Up with the Kardashians was commissioned and on air by October 2007. The UAE media were briefed not to mention the tape by Kim’s press team. Spoil-sports.
Prior to the – whisper it – ‘tape incident’, Kim was simply a wealthy socialite and occasional stylist, daughter of attorney Robert Kardashian, who famously defended OJ Simpson during his murder trial. Following the success of the show, Kim’s CV has had a considerable boost...
* CLICK THROUGH OUR GALLERY FOR A PICTURE DIARY OF KIM'S TRIP TO DUBAI *
Kim Kardashian: Businesswoman
Kim Kardashian has become a business tycoon with a midas touch – everything she touches becomes a commercial success, save for perhaps pop music. Her 2010 collaboration with Kanye West may have filled column inches in the tabloids, but it was nothing to write home about. However, she’s seen greater success with diversifications into acting, producing, retail and modelling.
Kim’s made cameo appearances in 90210 and How I Met Your Mother, and had small parts in various teen flicks, including Disaster Movie. She was the executive producer of The Spin Crowd, and is now producing a new reality show which will document The Pussycat Dolls recruitment drive as they look for buxom new performers.
Her fragrance line continues to grow, as does her California-born DASH boutique chain, co-owned with sisters Kourtney and Khloe. The store began as an upmarket boutique selling designer labels in LA, but changed direction. The name was taken to its literal sense with the store catering to those with more dash than cash, selling mid-range lines. Since then new outlets have sprung up in Miami and New York. The latter led to spin-off reality shows Kourtney and Kim Take New York.
“I have a jewellery line called Belle Noel too and I’m hoping to get lots of inspiration on this trip here,” says Kim, eyeing up a chandelier at the Atlantis hotel which she thinks would look good as a set of earrings.
Kim Kardashian: Fashion Icon
Kim’s first appearance on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia resulted in the highest ever sales the magazine had seen. Little wonder she was invited back to be their cover girl again this month (October 2011, the issue is on shelves now). Kim tweeted that this was the favourite magazine cover she had ever done.
Despite the glamour image, Kim appears keen to carve a niche for herself in high fashion, but she knows her trademark curves are integral to her success. During the shoot for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Kim requested that her stylist pin her clothes as tightly as possible. “Cling is key,” according to Editor in Chief Louise Nichol, who interviewed Kim.
Despite Kim’s rising fashion star, she admitted to Louise that not all clothes suit women of her proportions. “Shift dresses that have no shape to them are definitely something I can’t buy. If you have big boobs it just makes you look like you’re big all the way down.”
Her evocative figure continued to be a hot topic during her visit to Dubai. “A lot of my taste has to do with just dressing for my body type. I love wearing belts and doing what I can to accentuate the parts you want to show off and hiding the parts you don’t,” she says while perfectly demonstrating her point in a skin-tight Fifties-style dress and trademark Louboutins (she owns more than 150 pairs and designed a walk-in wardrobe exclusively for her shoes).
It seems insecurity and envy affects all women, however – even ones that look like Kim Kardashian.
“My sister Kendal is really tall and really thin and has a different body type than I do and we dress totally different; my sister Kourtney, she’s really petite and really short – they can both wear things that I just can’t, and I’m envious of them for what they can wear,” confesses Kim.
* SEE KIM'S FAVOURITE COVER SHOOT IN OUR PICTURE GALLERY *
Kim Kardashian: Middle East Poster Girl
Kim is half-Armenian. Her big hair, swarthy good looks and love of a kohl pencil saw her blend effortlessly with the UAE crowd of glamorous Middle Eastern women during her trip to Dubai. While men simply adore her, women - in this part of the world in particular - identify with her despite that (shhh!) ‘tape’.
“The culture and women out here in Dubai are so motivated and strong, and I think we can relate to that as our household and family is mostly women and we like to think of ourselves as strong - a strong family, with lots of love and business sense,” explains Kim.
Like so many Middle Eastern ladies she’s big on family, not a fan of alcohol and doesn’t like leaving the house without three layers of mascara and a pair of those Louboutins – even if she’s just popping out for a pint of milk, or - as happened to be the case in Dubai - a milkshake.
Kim came to the Middle East to launch another link in the Millions of Milkshakes chain here. Sheeraz Hasan, the businessman who arranged her trip, knows a cash cow when he sees one. “There are not a lot of people in the world that can hit a button on their phone and reach 10 million people on Twitter and 7 million people on Facebook,” points out Sheeraz.
The Kim Kardashian milkshake is on sale at Millions of Milkshakes in The Dubai Mall now. The curvy cover girl is known to partake in the product she came to promote, so how does she maintain that famous hourglass figure?
“It’s important to work out and be the best version of yourself that you can be,” says Kim. Perhaps it also helps that Kim is concurrently endorsing the weight loss product Quick Trim, which promises to “burn it up and push it out”, “shape up while you walk” Skechers and Fit in Your Jeans by Friday exercise DVDs, among many, many other things. Is there anything this reality TV phenomenon can’t sell?
Kim Kardashian: Wife and Mom
The 31-year-old has been married before. When Kim was 19 a weekend in Vegas saw her wed music producer boyfriend of the time, Damon Thomas.
Just a couple of months into her second marriage with pro basketball player husband Kris Humphries, Kim has speculated that she’ll have children in around a year or so once Kris has been relocated with a team (‘Kamille’ for a girl and ‘Kameron’ for a boy, perhaps).
It’s a wonder that Kim, just 5’2”, and Kris, 6’9”, get to see each other at all. Absence is a big strain to place on a new marriage, and in truth, the pair haven’t known each other long; they met in December 2010 and married in August this year just eight months later.
Rumours abound that a large fortune was earned from the wedding coverage, with ‘momager’ Kris Jenner claiming that she’s the “queen of parties” but this wedding was her “Olympics”. The event obviously cost a fair few dirhams, though Kim denies rumours that $20 million was spent by sponsors on her big day, and almost as much was earned by the pair.
Clearly the couple’s earning potential is sky-high, but hubby Kris doesn’t seem to want to play ball when it comes to some commercial opportunities. Asked if the couple will work on making a fragrance together, following in the footsteps of her sister Khloe and her hubby Lamar, Kim seems unsure of how to answer.
“I would love to do it... but knowing Kris, he likes to do something new... our own thing. But my fourth fragrance is about to launch in the US so I’m going to focus on that right now.”
Kim Kardashian: What’s Next?
Besides her perfume launch, Kim is considering a makeup line and she has proven herself to be a powerful advocate of beauty products in the past – sales of Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs enjoyed a considerable boost when she admitted it was a great cover-up for her psoriasis skin condition. And who wouldn’t want to buy Kim K’s lashes, nose contouring powder blush and lip-plumping pout stick?
The reality TV star is also interesting in opening a hotel here in Dubai and has been on the look-out for business partners. “Before I came here I met with people who had brought great ideas, but I wanted to come here first and see it for myself.
“I love how everyone is so welcoming – you hear so many stories of what you think another country will be like, but it feels so comfortable here,” says Kim, adding, “Before I came here I really thought there would be such a difference between home and here, but to be honest I see so many similarities. We were eating at Nobu restaurant in the hotel and we literally forgot where we were – we thought we were at home.
“For people who don’t travel it’s scary to go anywhere outside of their home... I think I’ve travelled a lot in the past couple of years, and any time I go anywhere new and feel like I connect with it, I love spreading the word, and I honestly and truly do feel that Dubai feel likes home - like this is everything and more of what I expected it to be like."
If a sufficiently lucrative hotel deal doesn’t land in the Kardashian’s lap, there’s still the possibility that Kim could film more of her reality TV series here. “I would love to get my whole family out here to Dubai and maybe film a series of the show,” says Kim.
“To me it’s disturbing that there would be any negative ideas of what the Middle East would be like – being Middle Eastern, that is something I would love to get the message out about. To let people know, to explain it in terms of America, this place looks like Las Vegas, Miami... every beautiful place all wrapped into one. I would love nothing more than to spread the word that this truly this is the best place I’ve ever travelled to.”
With special thanks to Louise Nichol and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. The October issue featuring Kim Kardashian is available at all good magazine stores now. For more coverage on Kim Kardashian, pick up a copy of Ahlan! magazine between Thursday 20 and Wednesday 26 October.