The Commonwealth Club of California, a prestigious institution founded in 1903, has hosted speakers including Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. On Tuesday evening, it hosted an open conversation with Kim Kardashian West.
Kardashian took the stage to promote her new book of selfies, Selfish, her $200M app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and discuss an array of other personal topics in San Francisco for this year’s Commonwealth Club’s ‘Inforum’ event.
The discussion was an intimate, fireside chat with Judge LaDoris Cordell, the first female African-American judge in Northern California, a former Stanford University vice provost, and a pioneer in police reform as a successful police auditor who pushed through a bill for officer body cameras. In other words, a very accomplished, intimidating figure and not someone that most people would feel comfortable with questioning them on stage in front of 1,400 people at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre. But guess what? Kardashian was the one who chose her.
Judge Cordell didn’t pull any punches, covering a wide range of topics in the reality star’s life while also allowing the audience an inside look into the pivotal moments in Kardashian's life that have led to her becoming the globally recognized success she is today.
Some of the more hard-hitting topics included the 2016 presidential election, gay rights, gun control, and racism in America.And it looks like Hillary Clinton gained another supporter. When Judge Cordell asked Kardashian if she thinks Clinton should be our first female president, she replied, “I hope so!”
Kardashian was also asked about the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, and what she thought of the decision. “Proud of Obama and proud to be an American,” said Kardashian.Then, in the wake of the Charleston hate crime tragedy that left nine African-American churchgoers dead at the hands of an armed white supremacist, Kardashian came out in favor of stricter gun control regulations. “If I could do something to change the world… I’m not really a gun person, and we do not have strict enough gun control laws,” said Kardashian.
The conversation also veered to Caitlyn Jenner, who made national headlines in June when she announced that she is a woman—and even more this past weekend when she was spotted taking part in the gay pride celebrations in New York City.
“We all as a family prayed and hoped that people could understand it,” Kardashian said of Caitlyn. “Unless you’re actually going through it, you’ll never one hundred percent understand it. Caitlyn is so grateful for all of that. The reason we wanted to share our family story over it during a two-hour special was to show that every family member will have a different opinion or reaction to something, and that’s okay. Everyone has a different emotional transition to find their own way to support it. Caitlyn has helped me learn to be less judgmental. Through it all, I saw it might be difficult for some people, but that’s still okay.”
With various fragrance lines, clothing stores, mobile apps, and more, Kardashian shared childhood stories that led her to become the entrepreneur she is today: “There was a J. Lo video that featured these Manolo boots that I immediately fell in love with and knew others would as well. While helping my father at work, I would spend my lunch and spare time online trying to buy and resell clothing. I called a local store and confirmed that a shipment of those new boots would be coming in. After convincing my father (and signing a contract), I managed to buy their full shipment and then turn it around online for a profit.”
Kardashian has more than 94 million social media followers, which is more than the combined population of Egypt, New Zealand, and Australia. So what is it that makes her so popular?
“I really do love social media,” said Kardashian, “having that relationship with people on social media, and I really do engage with them. That connection with people wouldn’t have existed without social media. But I do all my social media myself. I can tell when there’s someone in the business who doesn’t do it themselves.”
Judge Cordell asked, “It’s clear that you are a successful businesswoman, so do you feel that people still discount you because of your sexiness?”
“I think people still look at me as the persona that’s portrayed on the show,” said Karadashian. “The show doesn’t video my boring work meetings throughout the day. It’s hard when people want to put you in a certain box or a certain way. I don’t pay much attention to it.”
She even took the time to teach the judge how to take the perfect selfie. “The key to a good selfie is lighting. If you do it in the mirror, you get a better reflection off the mirror. I like up-to-down with a little angle.” For those curious as to what Kardashian’s favorite Instagram filter is: “I don’t use filters. I do take 30 pictures before I finally get one, but I don’t use filters.”
But the questions eventually returned to a more serious tone, with Judge Cordell asking if Kardashian thought the media objectifies women. “Absolutely, I do,” she said. “I think women sometimes do it to themselves, but I also think that if you have the power, you can take that power and put out what you want people to look at and what you feel is beautiful.”
So does she consider herself a feminist? “I guess people call me a feminist, but I don’t like to put labels,” she said. “I do what makes me feel comfortable. I never think what I say is the right thing, but I believe you should do what makes you feel comfortable.”
Judge Cordell expressed how she herself has raised two African-American daughters, and touched on the continued difficulties of being black in America, regardless of how famous you are. She then posed a tough question to Kardashian: “How will you and Kanye prepare your children for when racism inevitably rears its ugly head?”
Kardashian replied, “Kanye is very vocal and open with what’s occurred in his own life. And we’ll talk to our kids the way my father spoke to us. I think that when I was a teenager, my father knew or somehow put together that I was going to inevitably end up with a black guy and would make sure to tell me story after story about racial difficulties and how he always fought for the better. We always had friends of different races while growing up. Also, Kanye is very vocal, so I’m sure he’ll have a lot more to say to my kids.”
On the topic of her famous husband Kanye West, now that Kardashian is pregnant with the couple’s second child, Judge Cordell probed their relationship, asking what she loves most about her Yeezus.
“I love most the way he loves, the way he creates, and the way he thinks,” said Kardashian. “He’s such a good person and I love how he just stands up for whatever he believes in wholeheartedly and never backs down without a care for how it comes across. He’s taught me to just be me. I really used to care so much about how people thought of me, and he taught me to not care.”