Kim Kardashian’s Potent Press Offensive
The reality TV megastar and entrepreneur is making the press rounds to promote a new line of beauty products, and winning over the haters in the process.
We may only be six months in, but Kim Kardashian West has already had herself a year.
The Paris Hilton assistant turned reality TV mogul and mother of two has spent the first half of 2017 experimenting with cream-based contouring and a wet hair look. And on a more philosophical level, the 36-year-old has been grappling with the very nature of social media era celebrity in the wake of an armed robbery that many—Kim included—blamed on her ostentatious Instagram and Snapchat stories.
Back in April, after months spent eating frozen yogurt with Jonathan Cheban and not taking selfies, Kardashian emerged from her relative seclusion to share her story with Ellen DeGeneres. In that first interview since the Paris attack, Kardashian, armed with the world’s hardest working waterproof mascara, showed off her new Zen. “Everyone gets so excited when they get things. Or, of course when you get engaged, you’re going to show off your ring. If you get a new car—I don’t care what kind it is—you get so proud and you get so happy and you show that off on social media. But it’s just...it’s not worth it. Like, I don’t care about that stuff,” she told Ellen. “I don’t care to show off the way that I used to. Even though there's nothing wrong, truly—it's OK if you're proud of that and you work so hard and you get something—it’s just not who I am anymore.”
Kardashian added, “I’m so happy that my kids get this me and that this is who I’m raising my kids [as]. ‘Cause I just don’t care about that stuff anymore. I really don’t.”
Ridding her life of excess vanity has allowed Kim Kardashian West to focus on what really matters: makeup. The many-times-over mogul is currently preparing to drop her Kim Kardashian West beauty line, available this week at a URL near you. Kim’s first, soon to be sold out offering will be the Créme Contour and Highlight Kit; for the low price of $48 a pop, fans will be able to mimic the contouring techniques that magically make the 19-year-old Kylie Kenner look exactly like her 36-year-old half-sister. In an effort to convince consumers across the nation to buy a highlighter stick and a branded sponge, Kardashian has embarked upon a mini publicity tour. First, she did a Q&A with The New York Times, where she talked contouring, concealing her dark Armenian undereye circles, and all of those pesky blackface rumors.
The blackface controversy stemmed from the Kim Kardashian West beauty line’s marketing materials, which featured a photo of a very dark Kim. While allegations of photo manipulation and deliberate blackface quickly followed, Kardashian is maintaining that she was just tan. Like, really, really tan. As she told The New York Times, “I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off. But I showed the image to many people, to many in the business. No one brought that to our attention. No one mentioned it.” Kardashian concluded, “I have the utmost respect for why people might feel the way they did. But we made the necessary changes to that photo and the rest of the photos. We saw the problem, and we adapted and changed right away.”
After being put through The New York Times’ wringer—aka one question about blackface—the Kim Kardashian West creamy contouring publicity tour headed for the friendlier waters of morning television.
On Tuesday, Kardashian made a much-hyped appearance on The View—her first in five years. The reality TV star came on stage to her husband Kanye West’s “Stronger,” wearing a black corset top and her controversial tan. The interview picked up where Ellen left off, with Kardashian West philosophizing about how the Paris incident “totally changed my life for the better.” Kardashian explained, “I’ve said before I’m grateful for that experience, even though that might sound crazy, because I just learned so much and something had to change. Just of how I live my life and the things that were important to me before, the things I liked to show off before are definitely not the things that I like to show off now.” In terms of practical tips, Kardashian says that she’s stopped posting in “real time”; so instead of, say, advertising where she’s partying on Snapchat, she’ll take a selfie and save it for later. “I don’t think that worked out for me so well when I was posting every last detail,” Kardashian joked. “It’s hard for me to post my every move, or some gift that maybe I got for my birthday…I do like to keep things for myself,” she said, adding that, “It’s a great lesson for me to teach my kids.”
Next, Whoopi, Joy, and the other ones moved on to the Kardashians’ latest drama/mid-season ratings ploy: The feud between Caitlyn Jenner and her ex Kris. Jenner became something of a Kardashian family pariah early this year with the publication of The Secrets of My Life, her tell-all memoir. The memoir quickly became its own plot point on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, with matriarch/momager Kris Jenner saying that Jenner portrayed her as a “bitch.” Among the most contested claims in the book is Jenner’s insistence that she told Kris about her gender dysphoria early on in their relationship. When eagerly urged by The View ladies to talk some shit about Jenner, Kardashian remained diplomatic (pro tip: it’s easier to maintain a poker face when you’re wearing a literal mask of makeup). Kardashian confessed that she “definitely got upset” about Jenner’s book, continuing, “I was a little shocked by putting some things out there that just weren’t true or didn’t really make sense or were hurtful, when I feel like at the end of the day my mom and Caitlyn had a 25-year relationship, and you gotta have some…Some respect for it.”
When pushed on if she thought Jenner was twisting the truth to sell more books, Kardashian demurred, “Maybe their stories are different, maybe their accounts are different, I don’t want to discredit her feelings or her account, but when all of us were there witnessing some things and seeing things really different it was just a little bit surprising to me.” Basically, Kim Kardashian West isn’t going to call Caitlyn Jenner an outright liar—except she basically just did. Kardashian effectively shut down the Jenner conversation by praising Caitlyn for “stepping up to the plate” when Robert Kardashian died: “I’ll never forget what Caitlyn instilled in us as kids—she’ll always be a part of me.” Nevertheless, “Have I talked to her in the last couple months? No.” Kardashian concludes, “I think we’re just taking a breather, we’ll get it together…It’ll work out.”
Next, the conversation turned to Kardashian’s 3-year-long marriage to hip-hop superstar Kanye West. Unlike West’s rocky friendship with Donald Trump, Kardashian maintained that their relationship is long-lasting and better than ever. She described their friendship—the two were good friends for years before they got together—as the “basis of our relationship.” “I know when we’re 80 and can hardly move we’re just going to be talking and talking forever,” she shared. “We’re best friends, and I think that’s what’s so important for us in our marriage.” Kardashian completed this domestic vision by revealing that she hardly uses her phone at home: “Dinner time, breakfast time, there’s no phones. You have to have boundaries,” Kardashian firmly lectured. “Kids should not be falling asleep with their cellphones.”
Of course, Kardashian’s longest relationship hasn’t been with Kanye West but with the E! network, which has broadcast Keeping Up with the Kardashians since 2007. In utter defiance of every law of reality television and image control, Kardashian insisted that KUWTK gives viewers the real, un-manipulated story. “We used to say, ‘Ok, well we can edit, so let’s just show everything, and we’ll definitely take this out,’ or I’ll be like, ‘I’m not showing this,’ but there’s never been anything that we’ve taken out. Because by the time the show would air, the story has already come out in the media and it’s totally twisted, so it’s just good to tell our story our way.”
Despite having shared her sex life, marriage, relationship, and butt scans on national television, Kardashian is still sensitive about one or two topics. She admitted that rumors that she had faked the Paris robbery left her shaken. “That was a sting for sure,” she recalled. The ugly accusations caused her to take “a step back” from the spotlight and from social media, preferring to let the truth come out by itself. “I definitely have thick skin and I don’t think this is for everyone. I can see why people get really hurt and really bothered by it,” she commented on being constantly examined and dissected online. “I do break down at times...It’s not ok for people to be saying these awful things. For us to just have these people that have all this keyboard courage to write the craziest things about you and to think that that’s ok and it’s not ok.”
In addition to working on her makeup line and mothering her husband and two kids, Kardashian wakes up every morning between 5:30 and 6 to fit in a 90-minute workout. Kardashian chalked her dedication up to—what else? —trolls and online body shamers. “I saw these awful photos of myself from when I was on a trip in Mexico, and people were Photoshopping them and sharpening them,” Kardashian recalled. “I mean, I definitely wasn’t in my best shape, I hadn’t worked out in I think 12 weeks, I had two surgeries on my uterus…So I was already not feeling like myself, and then when people were sharpening them and making them look way worse and then those were going around, I was like, ‘Ok, I’m going to get it together.’ And I started working out with this bodybuilder girl that I found on social media.” With the help of her new lady trainer, Kardashian made the revolutionary decision to eat “properly” instead of just eating less, even going so far as to reintroduce carbs into her meal plan. “I see already in just a few weeks my body tightening up,” Kardashian gushed. “I’ve literally shrunk and come into place.”
In order to further fawn over Kardashian’s curves, The View hosts pulled up her infamous blonde naked selfie, leading Kim to offhandedly remark that, “I was actually pregnant in that photo.” “I just found out I was pregnant,” she continued. “I thought, ‘This is my one last shot of a good photo before my body’s done,’ so I took a pic.” Before heading out, Kardashian got a plug in for her contouring kit, insisting that, “I’ve worked so hard in the factories getting the formula and the packaging…I’m like, the boss now.”
Kardashian confirmed that she herself—not Kris Jenner—is in charge of this latest business endeavor, before joking, “Don’t worry, she still gets her ten percent.” Maybe Kim Kardashian really is funny?