There is no doubt that Kim Kardashian is living an extraordinary life. Extra-ordinary; in the literal term it means “beyond what is ordinary, usual or regular.” Indeed, living your life on television is not the norm. My line of questioning for this recent interview with Kim was to get her insight on what it means to share her life’s highs and lows with millions of television viewers. Kim Kardashian’s existence may seem strikingly unnatural, though Kim is content to continue sharing more and more of her life with millions of devoted viewers as she continues to take her brand into the stratosphere.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians is a runaway train of commercial success for the E! Network and has spawned an empire punctuated by that famous “K.” Multiple spin-offs, a chain of Dash clothing boutiques, originally designed clothing lines, fitness products, fragrances… Kim Kardashian and sisters Kourtney and Khloe have become a cottage industry.
Reality television is seemingly lighthearted fare, but a deeper look reveals an interesting commentary on societal norms and values. What are we collectively attracted to? According to television ratings and Internet viewing statistics, we are attracted to Kim Kardashian, whether we like it or not.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians provides a thirty minute escape from life where viewers can tune in to someone else’s “reality,” becoming engaged in a para-social (one-sided) relationship with a Hollywood family. The show allows fans to vicariously live through the Kardashians’ relationship, health and career issues as though watching a soap opera. And much like in the heyday of soap operas, people become engaged in the characters' ongoing sagas and exchange notes with friends and colleagues around the proverbial water cooler. But unlike the early days of soap madness, the stakes are raised for the Kardashians as people voice their unedited opinions in social media.
When I asked Kim about her willingness to continually expose her personal life on television and in the media, she had some interesting things to say about how the Kardashian clan views their unique lifestyle, and what they are, and are not, willing to share with the public. On the flipside, I could tell that Kim adores her status as a beauty and style icon. Girls and women ranging from pre-teen to middle aged hang on her every cosmetic, fitness and fashion choice, ready to emulate her at the drop of a hat. To sum it up, Kim Kardashian not only represents a glamorous lifestyle, in four short years she has become a lifestyle that many women aspire to achieve.
PR.com (Allison Kugel): When you get married, will you become Kim Humphries or will you remain Kim Kardashian?
Kim Kardashian: Probably Kim, with Kardashian as my middle name, and then Humphries. So it will probably all be in there. We haven’t really talked about it or thought about it yet, but probably legally I’ll change it to Kim Kardashian Humphries. Obviously, with our clothing [line], we have the Kardashian Kollection and that’s a big part of who I am. But I’m sure I will change my name.
PR.com: Who is the most unlikely celebrity fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians that you’ve encountered? What celebrity has approached you to tell you they were a fan of the show and you were shocked by it?
Kim Kardashian: That’s a good question. We’ll get that and we’re like, “Oh my God!” like, we wouldn’t even think that these people would know who we are. Probably I would say President Obama, when he said something to Khloe.
PR.com: President Obama told Khloe he was a fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians?
Kim Kardashian: I mean, he didn’t say those exact words (laughs), but he said, “Nice show,” or something along those lines. Or something like, “I like the show.” I would have to ask Khloe so don’t quote me on that.
PR.com: And Khloe came back and reported that to everyone?
Kim Kardashian: Yeah, she was like, “Oh my God! I just met the President and he said… bla bla bla!”
PR.com: Your mom has been credited with being the driving force behind the Keeping Up With The Kardashians brand. She is the one who originally pitched the show to Ryan Seacrest, correct?
Kim Kardashian: My mom definitely had a vision, and Ryan Seacrest believed in us and made this all happen to us.
PR.com: Is it a strange feeling to be approached by people who feel like they know who you are and they know who your family is, but you don’t know them at all?
Kim Kardashian: Yeah, it’s definitely a weird thing for everyone to think that they know you. But we also love that because I feel like we do open up so much, so we do want everyone to feel really involved, because they are, you know?
PR.com: But when it comes to intimate things, for instance, your love life, Khloe trying to have a baby, Kourtney and Scott having serious issues and his addiction problems and things like that… do you ever talk about it and feel a sense of regret that some of these private matters are being broadcast into millions of homes?
Kim Kardashian: Not really, because we made a pact with each other that we were going to show a lot. We edit everything and see everything. We’ve never taken any footage out, even though we have the right to. We’ve always felt like everything was a good learning experience for someone. And we’ve never been embarrassed by any footage that we’ve put out.
PR.com: Obviously conflict and drama is what makes a reality show like Keeping Up With The Kardashians so engaging. People feel like, “Oh, they’re going through that too,” or “Their family argues too.” That is such an important element in the show’s ongoing success. But, on the other hand, does it ever feel like it’s counterproductive to having a functional and healthy family life?
Kim Kardashian: Absolutely not. I think that is just what comes with the territory of having ten kids in the family. I think our family has a lot of heart, so it’s never [any] hurt relationships. I think if anything it’s really healthy, because when we’re filming we always resolve everything. We resolve everything anyway, but it allows us to look back later at that, and if you don’t like something then it makes you look back at that later and see yourself. I think, if anything, it’s really therapeutic for us, or it’s proven to be for us. I wouldn’t say that’s the case for a lot of people, because obviously history has shown that when you put a lot of your life out there on reality shows sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you would have hoped or planned. But I think with our family, everything just kind of makes us stronger.
PR.com: Do you want your wedding broadcast on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, or do you want it to just be a private affair for your friends and family?
Kim Kardashian: We really haven’t thought about it yet.
PR.com: What would your dad have to say about your fiancé, Kris Humphries, if he were here?
Kim Kardashian: Oh, I think he would absolutely love [Kris], because he’s just really funny and just a good person, and you can tell. And the fact that he’s a Christian, I think that he would just really, really like him.
PR.com: Is Christianity a big part of your life?
Kim Kardashian: Absolutely!
PR.com: It’s not something that’s ever covered on the show.
Kim Kardashian: It’s not like we show every last detail of our lives. I think that’s the beauty of our show, that we might be perceived to show everything on camera, but there is so much that’s just really close to us and private. My mom opened up her own church, but she doesn’t broadcast that all the time just because of certain things. There’s a ton that… well, people don’t know everything about us.
PR.com: Tell me if I’m right, but it seems to me that the main themes of this new season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians will be the fact that you’re in love with Kris, Kourtney and Scott seem to be getting along a lot better, Khloe and Lamar are trying to get pregnant, and your brother Rob is getting a little sexually promiscuous (laughs). Does that sum it up?
Kim Kardashian: (Laughs). I would say you got it all right. You definitely see me and my fiancé, who was my boyfriend at the time, and you kind of see our journey. But yeah, you’re basically right on everything. It’s just good to have the family all back together.
PR.com: And what about your little sisters, Kendall and Kylie? What’s going to be going on with them?
Kim Kardashian: You’ll actually see them a lot more. They are in this season the most that they’ve ever been. It’s Kendall and her modeling, and also Kylie. You’ll see everyone in the family, how they’ve grown and what they’re doing in their lives.
PR.com: For Kendall and Kylie, is this something they want? In other words, do they want to emulate you, Kourtney and Khloe as far as having public lives, being celebrities, going to events, and being heavily featured on the show? Is this something that they asked for?
Kim Kardashian: I know that Kendall has wanted to model for a long time so she is now doing that, which is her dream-come-true. She’s really excited to be modeling. And they’re still in school, so when they’re done with their homework and they want to hang out, they hang out. If they don’t, they don’t. But Kendall and her modeling is showcased a lot this season. Kylie, she is in the show for sure, a lot more than she was before. But when she’s in school and stuff, they don’t film.
PR.com: Where is Bruce’s head at? How does he feel about the fact that Keeping Up With The Kardashians has lasted as long as it has?
Kim Kardashian: Oh, I think he’s just having such a good time. He’s such an easy person, and such a go-with-the-flow kind of a guy. He is just having a good time seeing everyone grow up and how we’ve all changed. I think he’s happy with the way everyone’s lives are.
PR.com: Khloe and Kourtney have in the past, and I think it even comes up this season, they have both expressed mixed feelings about your mom also being their manager. How do you feel about the fact that your mom is your manager, particularly when business conflicts with family?
Kim Kardashian: I’m such a business oriented person, so that doesn’t bother me at all. I love mixing the two because I feel like she understands me better than anyone, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.
PR.com: Do you think that you and your mom see eye-to-eye more than your sisters do with your mom?
Kim Kardashian: Yeah, for sure. It’s always been like that, and we’re ok with that and we get that. I think that’s why we work really well together.
PR.com: When did you decide that you were comfortable featuring your relationship with Kris Humphries on the show?
Kim Kardashian: Well I met him when I was still in New York, so we had a good six months of us together, by ourselves, without any of that involved. And I was like, “Oh God! I just can’t go through this anymore!” So I’m not going to have just anyone on the show. It’s just really weird, you know? I felt like I just wanted to get to know someone first, and thank God it was like that. I met him right at the end of New York so we were able to get to know each other on our own, privately. So then we knew that that’s what we wanted to do, and it works for us. So it was really good that we had that alone time.
PR.com: Why do you think there is a percentage of the population who love to watch shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians only to turn around and criticize it, or to tear it down?
Kim Kardashian: Happy people look at the fun side of the show, and on life in general, and unhappy people hate.
PR.com: Of all of the stories you read about yourself in the celebrity weeklies, what percentage of it is true?
Kim Kardashian: I would say fifty/fifty. There are stories that are zero percent true and then there’s other stories about us liking a certain nail polish color, or we’re at a certain restaurant, and a lot of that stuff is true, the little stuff. Most of the big stories are just completely not true.
PR.com: The stuff that is written about your relationships with one another…
Kim Kardashian: Yeah, like that we don’t get along. And there was one recent story that said we were all tormented by body issues and we were all getting different [plastic] surgeries, the whole family! And we were like, “Is this a joke?!” We just laugh. You should see our chain emails, because our publicist will always give us a heads up the day before, and the things Khloe will write, or that we’ll all write, like, “Did we at least get a group discount?” We’ll just totally laugh about it together.
“Keeping Up With The Kardashians” premieres Sunday, June 12th at 10 PM/9 PM c on E!
Follow Kim Kardashian on Twitter @kimkardashian.