Kim Kardashian, Explained.
When people say that Kim Kardashian’s face is literally everywhere, they mean it.
We’re talking 57 magazine cover shoots, from Vogue to Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone to Harper’s Bazaar. And that’s not even including all the purely tabloid story-related photos you can glimpse of her online and in stores just talking about what she’s wearing, doing, and saying.
But for someone who makes up the majority of the pop culture news circulation every day, Kim Kardashian still remains a mystery to the world.
That is, of course, a mystery in the sense of who she really is, where she came from, and most importantly- why she’s famous and what for.
Some people turn to google for these answers. In 2015, Kardashian was the most-searched person in 26 different countries. But most people, you’ll find, just quip about Kardashian, calling her a talentless woman who’s famous for no reason.
To understand the nature of Kardashian and her fame, we have to go all the way back to the year 1994.
This was the year of the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial, in which beloved American football player and actor, O.J. Simpson, was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
So what does this have to do with Kardashian?
Well, her father, Robert Kardashian Sr., was O.J.’s close friend and part of the defense team that helped O.J escape the charges.
This trial was dubbed the “trial of the century,” and O.J.’s defense team was famously referred to as the “Dream Team,” garnering Kardashian Sr. unprecedented media interest.
The highly publicized and televised trial was the nation’s first taste of the Kardashian name, and one of Kim’s earliest links to the celebrity world.
Her second connection comes from her step-father, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner. Jenner was a gold medal Olympian in the decathlon and a spokesperson for the notable Wheaties cereal.
So, by virtue of her parents (both biological and step), Kardashian has always, on some level, been around fame.
But such is the life of any child born to wealthy parents with connections to American sports legends. It’s another famous link that really catapulted Kardashian into the spotlight.
This is where Paris Hilton comes in.
The year is 2007, and Hilton has already been established in the spotlight for being the paternal great-granddaughter of the founder to the Hilton Hotels chain. Her wild partying and outright display of her fortune are enough to attract media attention at this time.
As the narrative goes, Hilton and Kardashian have “always been friends.” But it isn’t until 2007 that this friendship works to Kardashian’s full advantage, as she becomes employed by Hilton working as her assistant. Kardashian goes from friend to best friend and is consistently photographed by paparazzi and splashed onto the cover of tabloids just for being with Hilton.
And when you look like Kim Kardashian, it isn’t hard for the world to become intrigued by you.
Gossip magazines and people alike all wanted to know˗˗who is this brunette BFF to Paris Hilton?
Naturally, it wasn’t hard for celebrity news outlets to figure out. Kardashian was already in the depths of their database as the daughter of the lawyer who helped get O.J Simpson off and the stepdaughter to a former Olympian.
And then she was the girl with the sex tape.
In February 2007, a private video of Kardashian and her former boyfriend, singer Ray J, was released to the world.
Ian Halperin, author of Kardashian Dynasty, a tell-all book about the famous family, claims the tape release was a calculated move by matriarch Kris Jenner to achieve fame for the family.
But Kardashian sticks by the fact that it was a complete invasion of privacy:
“Why would anyone put that humiliation on their family like that?” -Kardashian, reflecting on the tape in an appearance on Oprah in 2012
Regardless, what was done was done.
Kardashian now had a reputation and a big enough interest from the tape in the public eye that overshadowed any amount of friendship or employment related to Paris Hilton.
Her fame grew exponentially, and so she was given a platform for it.
In October 2007, Kardashian and the rest of her family started to appear in a reality television series for the E! Network called Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The show is the most successful reality television series to date, spanning an entire decade with billions of views and eight different spin-off shows, also on E!.
So while Kardashian may have been born with loose ties to stardom that allowed her to become BFFs and assistant to Paris Hilton, how do you explain her longevity in the celebrity world?
I’ll give you a hint: the answer is not the sex tape.
After all, Paris Hilton herself had a sex tape scandal four years prior to Kardashian in 2004, and she hasn’t been the most-searched person on the internet since.
Part of Kardashian’s appeal is her vulnerability. She has lived out every aspect of her life˗˗from family and romantic relationships, divorce and fertility issues, to her most recent robbery at gunpoint in Paris˗˗out on the screen.
Kardashian puts it all out there.
And the public receives and relates.
Kardashian has sustained her fame because she is the embodiment of Us Weekly Magazine’s “Stars˗˗They’re Just Like Us!” feature, amplified by one million.
But you can’t be “relateable” if there’s no one to relate to.
When you look around and see the amount of business ventures Kardashian is involved in˗˗modeling gigs, book deals, perfume deals, an app, various product endorsements, and more˗˗you have to give her credit.
And you also have to understand that she wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for her consumers.
Call her smart, business savvy, or anything else for knowing exactly what routes she can and cannot successfully take to expand her brand and make more money, but none of it would work if it weren’t for the people.
So why is Kim Kardashian famous? She’s famous for being herself. Her glamorous, unapologetic, polarized self that has ups and downs just like the rest of us.
She’s famous because of the people that take an interest in her unattainable world that is somehow made attainable by her openness. She’s famous because people talk about her˗˗fans and detractors alike. She’s famous because of people who read articles like this one just because her name is in the title.
She’s famous because of you.