“I’m Brandy’s stylist. I’m opening up a store called Dash with my two sisters. I go to my clients’ homes and I help them clean out their closets and we take whatever they don’t want and I sell it for them on eBay,” Kim Kardashian told E! back in 2006. Before she was a reality star landing Vogue covers, making big business deals and being Kanye West’s muse, Kim was raiding the closets of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Brandy, Serena Williams and Cindy Crawford. Fashion was her focus, but fame was on the horizon.

It’s hard to imagine a time when the world didn’t know Kim Kardashian. Back then, she occasionally appeared in tabloids as the daughter of Robert Kardashian, the lawyer who famously helped defend friend O.J. Simpson, and BFF/assistant to socialite Paris Hilton. If you were a fan of Fox’s truly revolutionary Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie reality show The Simple Life, you probably caught a glimpse of Kim on various episodes of the series during the ‘00s. But other than that, the public knew Kim as a stylist and Paris’ BFF, and later, the first woman Nick Lachey went on a date with following his split with Jessica Simpson (Lachey claims that Kim supposedly alerted the media about it). She was far from a household name.

While many of the Kardashian family’s media moves have been carefully calculated, the one that seemingly wasn’t was the release of Kim Kardashian’s sex tape with Ray J 10 years ago this month. In fact, if you think about it, what introduced Kim to the world was a sex crime. At 22 years old, Kim was living her life as a young adult exploring her sexuality with her then boyfriend, Ray J, an R&B singer and Brandy’s little brother. In a private moment, the couple made a sex tape—something for their eyes only. Today, it’s impossible to go anywhere without hearing about Kim or the Kardashian/Jenner clan. But while the tape was Kim’s first taste of real fame, it’s not what has sustained her in the public eye. It isn’t representative of the business she’s built. She worked hard to get people to see beyond the tape. And 10 years later, it’s obvious she’s succeeded. 

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