Two years after we launched her into the celebrity stratosphere, Kim comes back to Earth to rescue us.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's April/May 2009 issue.
There’s not much more you can say at this point. She’s spoiled. She’s famous for no reason—scratch that, she’s famous for her body. That was all you had in your clip, and none of it knocked her down. That’s because Kim Kardashian, unlike you, doesn’t spend her time talking about the next person. She’s got business, man. Check the resumé: Her show Keeping Up With the Kardashians is in its third season, her boutique is so busy it requires security guards, and she’s done more to give back by age 28 than you will in your entire life (have you met with the U.N. to ask what you can do for Armenia?). Which is why we reunited with her for our Green Issue: Considering that no one seems to have a clue how to fix this mess, we figured one more voluptuous opinion can’t hurt. It’s about to get serious, people.
You’re busier than people would assume. You’re always doing something, so what do you do when you just want to dumb out and not think about the next thing?
I love to make little scrapbooks and little collages and organize. I’m an organization freak, so if I’m at home, it’s that. When I’m traveling, I can’t let all my stuff get out of order. I love to sit around and make cards and collages for my friends of trips we’ve taken. I have a whole bunch of photo albums that aren’t used, and I print out all the pictures and cut them out and do silly stuff.
The easy criticism of reality shows is to say, “Why should I care about this person’s life? Why do people even watch this?” What’s your version of that? What’s on TV that you just can’t understand wanting to watch?
Gosh, I don’t really watch TV. When I do I watch CourtTV, like murder shows and mysteries and stuff.
Do you ever watch Brody’s show [MTV’s Bromance]?
I do watch Brody’s show! I TiVo it.
Did you have any advice for him before it started? He was no stranger to being on TV, obviously, but that Bromance thing was... well, a whole new look.
Yeah, we definitely talked about it. We would just gear him up, him and his friends. Everyone was just getting so excited. I remember we ran into Heidi and Spencer and everyone was like, “Bromance is on tonight!” [That is awesome.—Ed.] Brody probably could give me some advice, being on The Hills—being on more than I think I have—but we just all support each other and know that we have control over our shows and how they’re edited, and we’re all really proud of the stuff that we’ve been filming.
So we’ve got Kanye on the other side of the magazine. You’ve worked with him, haven’t you?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We did this TV show pilot together not too long ago.
Was that the “Untitled Kanye West HBO Project” that IMDB is so secretive about?
I don’t really know if I’m allowed to talk about it so much.
Fair enough, we’ll let the TV blogs have that one. Have you seen any of the stuff that’s been online recently of him being out and about at the Paris fashion shows?
Yeah, I have seen that. I love the fashion blogs, so I definitely keep up with stuff, and it seems like he’s always on there. He’s the talk of the town!
You’re kind of used to being in that position; is there any truth to the idea that Kanye is the male version of you? Or vice-versa, I guess?
[Laughs.] I kinda do! That’s so funny. I’ve never heard that before.
That’s ’cause I just made it up. We’re brilliant over here.
I like that. He’s the male version of me. We’re twins!
I have so much respect for him and he always takes risks, and from what I’ve seen in Paris, his sense of fashion is very…he’s very high-fashion, and you know I love clothes and fashion, so I can really appreciate it.
Diplomatic! The last time we spoke, you said something to me, and I’ll read you the quote: You said, “I’m not the sex kitten that they’ve made me out to be, but I’ll give it to them when I have to. I know that’s what they want.” How does that differ for you when your audience is women and your audience is men?
It doesn’t really; I’m a lot more shy than what people think, and when I was doing Dancing With the Stars, that really became apparent. That was the first time I wasn’t with my sisters; I film my reality show at home with my family. It really couldn’t be a more comfortable environment. And so when I was thrown into this world of performing and just being me—you see it on the show and my sisters say it every day—I’m so boring! I’m just not outspoken like they are. And I was really glad that everyone kinda got to see the real me, but even in Dancing With the Stars people expected this really outspoken, sexy...
Ah, c’mon, you’re the vixen, right?
It was almost a struggle for me; these dancers have the most amazing bodies and they’re wearing next to nothing, and I’m over here trying to cover up more. And they’re like, “Wait, wait, wait, what? We thought you were supposed to be so comfortable with yourself,” and this and that. The thing is, I’m not that comfortable. Every girl has their insecurities, and with the outfits that they put you in, it became this struggle between people’s perception of me and the reality. I think I’m halfway in the middle. I mean, who doesn’t like to be sexy? But I’m not the most outspoken person. I’m a little bit more uncomfortable than perceived.
How has that image of you changed since you did your first cover with us?
Because that was really, as far as big magazine covers— That was my first cover. I mean, you guys were my first, and I’m so proud of it and I thought it was so sexy.
Uh, yeah it was.
I loved it. I do think that I’ve grown, though, and I base it all on my show. People can make up any story to go along with a picture, but when you see someone’s real life, it just opens up a whole different perception of me—and it’s totally who I am.
KIM ON...GETTING INVOLVED:
"I'm gonna be completely honest: I'm not the biggest activist. I'm nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio and Adrian Grenier, but there's little things here and there that I do. It's a start. Everything in life is all about baby steps, you know? I'm just learning about it."
"We have different trash cans for glass and paper, so it's super easy. And with clothes, I do an eBay auction once every three months, and my whole family gets involved. If we're photographed wearing something, we don't typically like to wear it again, so we do these auctions and I give the proceeds to The Dream Foundation, which is kind of like Make-A-Wish, but it grants wishes to terminally ill adults."
KIM ON...NATURAL DISASTERS:
"I spend a lot of time in New Orleans—my boyfriend lives there half the year. My sisters and I met a family there who brought us to the Ninth Ward, which is the place where the most damage happened. They were living in a FEMA trailer, four people in a tiny one-bedroom for almost three years. So we surprised them with all new furniture since insurance didn't cover furniture."
KIM ON...GIVING BACK:
"When I was a kid and everyone would say what they wanted to be when they grew up, I was like, 'I wanna have my own charity.' I grew up with my mom taking us to the Special Olympics with my stepdad [Bruce Jenner] and with us volunteering at shelters for abused kids; those were just our weekends growing up. When my father passed away, I just wanted to do so much more—and there's so many easy things that people can do, even sitting home on their computer."
WATCH THE BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO FROM KIM'S SHOOT:
Styling by Monica Rose and Angela Fink; Hair by Frankie Payne for Bumble & Bumble at opusbeauty.com; Makeup by Mario Dedivanovic at theartistloft.com using M.A.C. products; Shot at Siren Studios, Hollywood, CA
Opening Image: Earrings by CC Skye; Top by French Connection; Leggings by American Apparel; Ring by Le Vian; Bracelet by Amrapali; Bracelet by Landver; Boots by Givenchy
Second Image: Earrings by Vanessa Montiel; Jacket by Yeojin Bae; Swimsuit by American Apparel; Belt by American Apparel; Bracelets by Amrapali; Bracelets by Landver; Shoes by Burberry
Third, Seventh and Cover Image: Earrings By Vanessa Montiel; Bodysuit and Leggings by American Apparel; Belt by BCBG; Shoes by Balenciaga
Fourth and Eigth Image: Jewelry by CC Skye; Bodysuit and skirt by American Apparel; Shoes by L.A.M.B.
Fifth Image: Top by Dolce and Gabbana; Shorts by American Apparel
Sixth Image: Necklace by Ben Amun; Bodysuit and Leggings by American Apparel; Belt by BCBG; Shoes by Davis By Ruthie Davis