Kylie Jenner isn’t the first American to hit up Montreal on her 18th birthday, and she won’t be the last. In the province of Quebec, where the legal drinking age is 18, it’s not uncommon to hear those distinctive New England and New York accents littering the nightlife areas of Canada’s sin city on any given weekend.
Of course, Kylie Jenner isn’t some UVM bro getting a too turnt on Crescent Street. For her 18th birthday party (technically six days late) at waterslide park-adjacent Beachclub, which is actually a 45-minute drive from the big city, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner brood was paid between $100,000 and $200,000 to be there and generate hype for the newly rebranded open-air EDM club most Montrealers didn’t even know existed. The mere presence of Jenner was enough to fill up a VIP area at $150 Canadian a pop, as well as a general grazing area for penny pinchers.
The tacky Beachclub—imagine a childhood summer camp with a dance floor and hookah lounge—might seem somewhat glamorous by Pointe-Calumet, Quebec standards, but the so-called “biggest outdoor club in North America” was seriously punching above its weight when it signed with Jenner. The cordoned-off VIP section, which implied closer proximity to the reality television star and a free Red Bull upon entrance, was essentially a pool surrounded by cozy cabanas. Nevertheless, celeb-starved Quebecers paid top Canadian dollar for a rare chance to keep up with a Kardashian in the flesh.
Local media had been notified that Jenner’s helicopter—yes, organizers got her a chopper—would be landing sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., but unsurprisingly she kept us waiting. Those who came early staked their places next to Jenner’s private section, where an oversized bottle of Moët & Chandon with “Happy Birthday Kylie” written on it rested on white upholstery.
It was unbearably hot and humid, and overhearing impatient Jenner fans lash out while succumbing to heat stroke was like having a Twitter feed being read aloud. “Kylie’s such a bitch,” yelled one. “Kylie’s too cute for words,” exclaimed another, before another interjected with, “I can’t fucking deal right now.” Standing around waiting to catch a glimpse of Kylie Jenner will invariably include some soul searching.
And then, Jenner arrived. Well, sort of. A helicopter flew overhead, resulting in enough screams to distract from the generic “CoCo” and “Trap Queen” loving DJ bro. Then another chopper emerged, and suddenly it became apparent that Jenner had been trolling us for the last two hours and wasn’t done delaying her grand entrance. At long last, she came out for real, only to zip past the media throng and into hiding again. Rumors of a Caitlyn Jenner appearance proved unfounded.
By now the pool was looking mighty inviting, but no one wanted to lose their spots within spitting distance of the star. A trio of girls who drove out from nearby Cornwall, Ontario began grinding on each other in a heat-stricken fugue state. Two smooth-talking American dudes from New York, aspiring paparazzi based on their chatter, bemoaned the dwindling battery life on their phones. Jenner once again came out, this time to field softballs from media, only to disappear again. Those who got clear pictures had to settle for deliberate poses in front of a backdrop full of sponsor logos.
Following a costume change, Jenner made her way up to her private section in a white outfit so clean her handlers forgot to remove the sticker tags from the bottom of her heels. Even though she was only a few feet away, capturing a pic or any sort of acknowledgment proved difficult. Jenner and her team were masterful at preventing the VIPers from getting a candid photo even though we were only a few feet away: either she would be looking away or some crony would jump in and block the view as if they were taking a bullet.
Just as the shouts from the VIP started to become vaguely threatening, Jenner looked up at us for a split-second and gave a partial pursing of her weaponized lips. The few dozen people or so who got close enough to see it temporarily lost their shit, only to quickly resume screaming for her attention. We ultimately got our money shots when Jenner slowly walked over and took a selfie of herself with some random VIPer’s phone, but that was it. For the rest of her less-than-two hours at Beachclub, she kept her movements to a minimum as her section filled with Beachclub lackeys. Even worse, she only took a sip or two of her cocktail. So much for taking advantage of Quebec’s drinking laws!
In a weird way, Kylie Jenner gave us bumpkins in the VIP exactly what we wanted and paid $150 for, even if she did the absolute, bare minimum. She made us wait for hours in the scorching heat, all because she's a solipsistic celebrity who runs on her own time. When she was finally there, just a few feet away from our camera phones, she was so professionally aloof, it infuriated everyone even further. But every bit of it—the helicopter, the giant bubbly, the cake smashing, the tiny sips—was all part of some horribly compelling trainwreck of a performance. She was terrible to us, but she was supposed to be. Had Jenner leaned over from her balcony, which was in all honesty only a few feet above our poolside platform, and high-fived us, then she wouldn't have been the infantile, terrible 18-year-old we were all expecting. The whole point of this was to get close to someone who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead partying with the dull normals of Pointe-Calumet. It was the perfect confluence of Trashy Quebec and Trashy Hollywood that only comes once in a blue moon
For a club at a family waterpark out in the Quebec countryside to pay her over $100,000 to attend was a bold move, but ultimately bloodless. They got the free worldwide publicity they wanted, but it's doubtful anyone who went along with this week's con will make the trip out next week, when Justin Bieber is scheduled to be the famous party guest. Montreal is used to celebrity appearances at clubs during F1 weekend and the X-Men cast just won't seem to leave, but no one comes away from something as utterly insipid as this feeling like they put their money and time to good use. The shame is part of the allure, strangely enough, because people haven't stopped asking me about it.
The only humanizing story to emerge from this brush with celebrity was the $3,000 birthday cake, which saved a local baker’s pastry business. In the end, Jenner and her crew didn’t even eat it, but instead playfully lobbed the multiple-storied cake into the crowd. Most of it landed on the ground, but I did see one poor woman stumbling around afterwards with her face covered in icing. Minutes after dessert, an SUV with tinted windows drove away from the beach, spelling the end of Pointe-Calumet’s short-lived, overpriced, utterly pointless encounter with a Jenner. All I got was this blurry picture (and a free Red Bull):
Erik Leijon is a freelance writer and music critic based out of Montreal, Canada.