Five minutes in the States and one thing is abundantly clear: there’s no
escaping the Kardashians. Magazine covers, billboards and gossip columns are
hysterical with Kardashian-related tittle-tattle. America’s answer to the
royal family (only with more hair extensions and whiter teeth) are
That’s before we’ve hit the shops, where you can kit yourself out in their
clothing line, pick up middle sister Kim’s branded fake tan, perfume,
scented candles and fitness DVD, before forking out £18.99 for a copy of
Kardashian Konfidential, the book that promises to reveal the untold secrets
of the workhorse queens of California.
It’s enough to make Katie Price look shy and retiring.
“I haven’t stopped, like, all year so far,” says 30-year-old Kim, her smoky
kohl-smudged eyes all fluttery and wide.
“I’ve shot a commercial, music videos and done three photo shoots, all of them
14-hour, full-on, non-stop days. But it’s fine. I was raised to have a
really strong work ethic.”
The vast Kardashian team at our Santa Monica studio today (hairdressers,
make-up artists, stylists, manicurist, assorted hangers-on, several
publicists and, briefly, manager mum Kris) fuss around the girls while Kim
and older sister Kourtney remain surgically attached to their BlackBerrys,
no doubt tweeting their 8 million Twitter followers. It’s lively and
glamorous and, to the uninitiated Brits in the room, all faintly ridiculous.
But that’s the Kardashians all over. Despite having no obvious talent – aside
from ruthless self-promotion – their lives, loves, ups, downs and sheer
silliness have proved endlessly fascinating. And watch out Britain, because
the Kardashian craze is set to spread to these shores, too.
Kim, whose ass leaves even J-Lo’s in the shade, was mobbed during a trip to
London last autumn. Meanwhile, the latest and fifth season of the family’s
reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! saw UK viewing figures up
449 per cent compared to the first one three years ago. Now Kim and Kourtney
are launching their own series set in New York, which starts over here next
“It’s a lot of fun,” coos Kim of the latest project, which sees the sisters
open their Dash boutique in NYC selling eveningwear, jeans and jewellery.
“Filming this on our own was almost like we were kids again – we were always
the closest growing up.”
As her individual false eyelashes are painstakingly applied, Kourtney, 31,
adds: “One reason our shows do so well is that people relate to us. We’re
regular girls and go through the same things as everybody else.”
Viewers have been gripped by their relationship make ups and break-ups,
feuding and sex lives – the Kardashians don’t do subtle. And they’ve hit on
a winning formula. Kim, whose website is said to be the world’s most popular
official celebrity site, attracting nearly 7 million page views every month,
is thought to be raking in £5million a year.
Kourtney and the youngest sister Khloe, 26, have multimillion-pound fortunes
of their own, but marketing mastermind Kim doesn’t miss a trick when it
comes to products and endorsements, which include orange juice, shoes and
“It’s not all about money,” she insists. “We were never spoiled as kids so we
all know the importance of working hard.
“And when I wake up every morning in my beautiful home that I bought by
myself, I know it’s worth it.”
That’ll be the £3million Beverly Hills mansion which boasts a swimming pool,
cinema, four bathrooms and a spa. Kim is said to have converted one of the
five bedrooms into a walk-in closet.
Hitting the big time
For the benefit of the unacquainted, Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe (there’s also
brother, Rob, 23) are the children of super-rich Californian couple Robert
and Kris Kardashian. Armenian-American Robert gained notoriety as OJ
Simpson’s lawyer during the ex-American footballer’s 1995 murder trial.
Robert and Kris divorced in 1990 and the following year, Kris married former
champion decathlete Bruce Jenner, 61. He already had four children of his
own before having Kendall, now 15, and Kylie, 13, with Kris.
Keeping up? Robert sadly died of oesophageal cancer aged 59 in 2003, four
years before Kim’s profile went stratospheric. A tape of her and
ex-boyfriend, R&B star Ray J (singer Brandy’s brother, FYI) in
flagrante, was then leaked in 2007 without permission – of course. That old
Wily Kris, 55, who now manages all her girls, capitalised on the attention the
video attracted by convincing American Idol host and producer Ryan Seacrest
that the family deserved their own reality TV show. Keeping Up With…
became an instant hit for E!, attracting American audiences of more than 4
million. Talks are currently being held about a sixth season, while
spin-offs Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami and now, Kourtney And Kim Take New
York have kept the Kardashian profile sky-high.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given both her sex tape and extraordinary looks, Kim
is by far the most successful family member – and most glamorous. From her
sleek mane to her manicured nails, she looks a million dollars. Which is
probably the amount she spends in the salon each month.
“I’m absolutely high-maintenance,” she admits. “But not in a way that’s a
burden to anyone else. And I’m a neat freak around the house, but I don’t
expect anyone else to be.
“I’d love to not wear make-up but there are photographers outside my house
every day. Plus I’m nearly always on my way to a shoot so I have make-up on
Oh, harrumph. It’s pretty much impossible not to feel wholly inadequate around
Kim. She wafts around the studio looking all perfect, nonchalant and
inaccessible, not a single line on her beautiful, pouting face. Every inch
of her cartoon-like body – the nipped-in waist, bounding bosom and, yep,
that famous behind – oozes sexuality.
Mum-of-one Kourtney almost seems like the younger sister. She’s smiley, bouncy
and giggles a lot. Kim is more measured and serene.
A family affair
So, what is America’s obsession with all things Kardashian? And why do us
Brits need them in our lives?
Kourtney says: “We’re just a crazy family and there’s always something going
on. There’s never a dull moment.
“I think our dad would be proud of all of us. I’m not sure he’d love every
single episode of the show, but he’d be proud of how hard we work.”
“He’d be pleasantly surprised,” says Kim. “Knowing that he would be proud
makes me want to work even harder.”
It’s doubtful he would have approved of Kourtney’s drama-ridden relationship
with Scott Disick, 27. Scott, the son of rich New York parents and the
father of Kourtney’s 13-month-old son Mason, has been the subject of much
controversy in front of the cameras.
The wider family have been vocal about their concerns for Kourtney’s welfare,
given Scott’s past aggression and heavy drinking. Khloe, the most feisty of
the sisters, has even labelled Scott a “sociopath”.
“Scott’s trying to be a better person,” says Kourtney. “He’s been to rehab –
he’s growing up. No one’s perfect.
“He’s an only child and is used to having all the attention. But he’s a great
dad to Mason,” she adds. “The family can see he’s willing to try his best,
and he and Khloe can be in the same room now, which is progress.
“When Scott hurt me, he hurt Khloe just as much and it’s going to take time
for them to rebuild their relationship.”
Kim’s love life has been just as complicated, for different reasons. She wed
music producer Damon Thomas, now 39, aged just 19, only for the marriage to
break down three years later. The sex tape with Ray J, 30, preceded a
three-year relationship with American football star Reggie Bush, 25. The
couple split at the beginning of last year and Kim has since been linked to
West Ham footballer Wayne Bridge, 30, and Halle Berry’s ex Gabriel Aubry,
34. She’s now dating basketball player Kris Humphries, 25, after meeting him
in New York a couple of months ago.
“Dating is hard as so much of our lives are in front of the camera, but we’re
having fun right now,” Kim says. Does she hope to have children one day?
“Oh, yes! I want four, maybe five children. But I’m not going into this
relationship thinking I want to get married. I’ve been married before and
when I look back, I don’t recognise the person I was then. What was I
Kim tosses her glossy locks over her shoulder and takes a chomp from a
cupcake. Not many female celebs would get stuck into the buffet table with
such enthusiasm moments before they were due to don a bodycon dress and be
shot for the cover of a magazine.
“I don’t feel pressure to look a certain way,” says 5ft 3in Kim. “I weigh
around 8st 6lb today – I love being curvy. I gained a stone filming in New
York and went up to a size 6 [UK size 10]. It bothered me in terms of
comfort so I worked out and ate healthily and it came off. But I have
cellulite like everyone else – I do!”
Kourtney recently lost just over 3st of baby weight and is now a tiny size
zero. She’s still breastfeeding Mason and so has been careful about shedding
the pounds, especially after a punishing exercise regime caused her to
collapse with exhaustion last summer. Today she feels better than ever.
“I’ve never looked in the mirror and thought I was disgusting. They say after
a baby you need a year to get your body back and that’s what it’s taken me,
although at first I went too far too fast.”
Both girls are body-confident, but Kim is already planning a few nip/tucks.
“As soon as I have kids I’m taking my boobs from here, to here,” she says,
pointing first at her stomach and then somewhere near her jawline.
“I’ll have whatever I need done. A facelift? For sure. I wouldn’t lie about it
either. I’ve had Botox – it was cool.”
Kourtney and Kim are perhaps the closest of the three sisters, although both
say their personalities are poles apart.
“I’m definitely the bossy older sister,” says Kourtney. “Bossy and mean. I
have a more playful relationship with Khloe, but Kim’s the one I’d go to for
According to Kourtney, there’s no sibling rivalry over the extra attention
lavished on Kim. “She’s the sexual one!” says Kourtney. “That’s why. Of
course we don’t get jealous. We’re really happy.”
Shoot finished, Kim and Kourtney swap the glad rags for sweats. They collect
some jewellery their bosses at E! have sent over as a thank you for their
hard work. Then they head out to the chauffeur-driven SUVs, Tiffany gift
bags swinging from their arms.
Kourtney and Kim are just regular girls. Obviously.
Kourtney And Kim Take New York starts February 6, 10pm, E!
What is your sister’s best attribute?
Kim: Her calmness.
Kourtney: She’s so genuine.
And her worst?
Kim: She can steal the scene by turning up in a great dress that’s the same
colour as mine.
Kourtney: She can be a diva.
What’s the most special thing she’s done for you?
Kim: She threw me a surprise 13th birthday party.
Kourtney: She also planned me a surprise birthday party when I was 14.
Is there anything you’d like to say sorry for?
Kim: Stealing her make-up.
Kourtney: No. I’m not big on sorrys.
a facelift. I wouldn’t lie about it, either’
So, girls. Have you ever….
Said: “Don’t you know who I am?”
Kourtney: No. Um, maybe.
Kim: Absolutely. All the time.
Kourtney: I don’t think so.
Checked the texts on a partner’s phone?
Kim: Yes. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Kourtney: Yes. I once checked an old phone of Scott’s. There were just texts
between him and his friends all trying to be cool.
Faked an orgasm?
Kim: Er, yeah…
Kourtney: No – that would be a waste of time.
1. Bruce Jenner, 61
He won gold at the 1976 Olympic Games. His son, socialite Brody, 27, was in
MTV’s hit reality TV show The Hills.
2. Kendall Jenner, 15
She caused a stir when she posed in a bikini aged 14 and now has a modelling
contract with fashion chain Forever 21. Soon to star in Bravo’s reality show
LA Prep, based on California’s private school social scene.
3. Kim Kardashian, 30
The middle sister posed nude for Playboy in 2007 and recently enjoyed seven
birthday parties for her 30th.
4. Khloe Kardashian, 26
Married to sports star Lamar Odum, she was arrested in 2007 for driving under
the influence of alcohol.
5. Kylie Jenner, 13
Already working as a model, but her dad Bruce doesn’t want her to debut on the
social scene just yet.
6. Kris Jenner, 55
Known as “momager”, she was friends with OJ Simpson’s wife Nicole Brown
7. Kourtney Kardashian, 31
She has a degree in theatre arts and now has a 13-month-old son, Mason Dash
Disick, with boyfriend Scott Disick, 27.
8. Rob Kardashian, 23
He has a tattoo of his late father’s face on his arm. He is a model and
briefly dated American porn star Lisa Ann.
KIM WEARS: DRESS, DOUGLAS NANNANT; HERMIT CRAB RING, STEPHEN WEBSTER; ALL
OTHER JEWELLERY, VINTAGE; SHOES, VERSACE KOURTNEY WEARS: DRESS, GEORGES
HOBEIKA; GOLD BANGLES, CARTIER; ALL OTHER JEWELLERY, VINTAGE; SHOES, JEROME
ROUSSEAU ABOVE RIGHT: KOURTNEY WEARS: BODYSUIT, GEORGES HOBEIKA; BANGLES,
CARTIER KIM WEARS: DRESS, THE BLONDS; BODYSUIT, LA PERLA; EARRINGS, STEPHEN
WEBSTER; HERMIT CRAB RING, STEPHEN WEBSTER; DIAMOND RINGS, VINTAGE
KIM WEARS: DRESS, THE BLONDS; BODYSUIT, LA PERLA; SHOES, VERSACE; EARRINGS AND
RING, BOTH STEPHEN WEBSTER KOURTNEY WARS: BODYSUIT, GEORGES HOBEIKA;
BANGLES, CARTIER; BAG, HOBO; SHOES, WALTER STEIGER
ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY: SPLASH NEWS, XPOSURE STYLIST: MARJAN MALAKPOUR AT
MARGARET MALDONADO AGENCY MAKE-UP: JOYCE BONELLI HAIR: CLYDE HAYGOOD
STYLIST’S ASSISTANT: MARNIKA WEISS ADDITIONAL HAIR AND MAKEUP: ROB SCHEPPY
AND SCOTTY CUNHA