I first met KIM KARDASHIAN WEST 10 years ago and since then, everything about her LIFE has changed.
She’s achieved enormous SUCCESS in business (with books, products, shows, a video game and, this fall, a new website launch), become a FASHION ICON, married a music industry magnate, and is now pregnant with their second child.
Miraculously, though, she is the same in many ways—no small task, considering she has 43 million Instagram followers watching her every move.
For all of the polarized perceptions about her, she is, at the core, a woman living her CALIFORNIA dream to the fullest extent.
You’re so multifaceted; if you could summarize your job title in one word, what would it be?
Kim Kardashian West: I would say “entrepreneur” if I had to say one word. When I’m traveling and they ask what my occupation is I never know what to say—I always switch it. Sometimes I’ll say perfumer, sometimes author. Sometimes I’ll just say [retail] sales.
How do you find the time to manage all of your business ventures?
Working with my sisters makes it easy because we really know what each other is best at. Every week we have a meeting where we sit down to go through whatever we’re working on, whether it’s our haircare, kids’ or clothing lines, shoes or handbags, we try to schedule three or four hours into one day to go through approvals, fittings and casting. If I’m working on an individual project, like my fragrance, I will only work on it if I’m 100 percent passionate about it, because that takes me away from my family. I base my whole schedule around my daughter and my husband—that’s how life is now.
It sounds like you always stay focused on putting your family first, and then the rest works out.
When I was pregnant with [North], I thought, My life is so hectic—how am I gonna take her to ballet classes and soccer? I had these visions of all the things I did growing up, and I was really freaked out. And when it happens, you just instinctively know how to do it.
“I used to do anything and everything. When a brand would come to me and it sounded like a good deal, I would do it. But I see how my husband doesn’t do anything unless he is in control and believes in it.”
Has motherhood affected your career?
A lot. It has taught me how to prioritize. And I was forced to take a break for awhile. I never liked downtime, but I decided I enjoy it—that’s when the fun ideas come about. I felt like I was, I don’t want to say overexposed, but I had too many different projects. When I was brainstorming on my maternity leave, that’s when one of my greatest projects, the video game, came about. And that’s also when the book concept came—I was sitting there going through old photos, organizing my desktop.
I remember when you told me you were gonna try for another one, and I was like, “Oh my God, already?” And then boom, you were pregnant…
It doesn’t seem like that to me, though. It was over a year of trying, and I had so many complications. I had this condition called placenta accreta. There were a couple of little operations to fix all that, so that created a little hole in my uterus, which I think made it really tough to get pregnant again. It was a long road. I would go to the doctor in Beverly Hills every day at five in the morning to get tested to see if I was ovulating. I was trying everything: I did acupuncture and got a nutritionist to eat healthier, thinking that was an issue.
I did the same thing. We’d have ovulation parties, for over a year while my husband [Nick Valensi] was on tour. I would show up in the weirdest cities. The band would be like, “Oh, she’s ovulating.”
Yes, it takes the fun out of it. I’m like, “I’m ovulating, get home now!” He’d be like, “Wait, I’m in the studio.”
Will you stop at two kids then?
Well, they think I’ll have placenta accreta again, so if the placenta grows a little bit deeper than it did last time, then they are prepared to have my uterus removed, which is a little scary for me. I think we’re just gonna go day by day, see how overwhelming it is, and see how the delivery goes.
What is it like to be so scrutinized during a pregnancy, when your body is changing so much?
The first time I was pregnant, Kanye and I were dating and I was just being introduced to the world of fashion. I wanted to work with a bunch of different stylists, and when you work with a new stylist, everyone wants to possess your look. They wanted me in really outrageous things, and really fashion-y things. It probably wasn’t the time to be experimenting. After that, Kanye and I were just like, “Let’s do it ourselves.” It was mainly him figuring it out; what my look was and what I was comfortable in. So now I’ve had two years to really come into my own and have my own style. For this pregnancy, I’m definitely more simple. I figured out a formula of what works. And I also feel lucky that as of right now, I don’t feel like I’m gonna get preeclampsia again, which last time [contributed to] not only the weight, but also the swelling that everyone would make fun of, not understanding that I had this condition.
Was that hurtful?
It was the worst! I couldn’t help it, and everyone would say, “She can’t stop eating.” I delivered at 180, and they were like, “She’s 210 pounds. She’s getting dumped because she’s too fat” and all these ridiculous stories. It really took a toll after the fact, when I was losing weight. I gained 50 pounds, and it’s tough to get it off. I was dedicated, but also, it changed the way I viewed wanting my picture taken. Before I was always smiling, and so into being out and about. After I had the baby, I was like, these are the same people that made fun of me, and posted the stories that were so awful, calling me fat for something I couldn’t control. I don’t want to smile for them. I don’t want to be out. Even if I was more confident, I just didn’t feel like being that girl who was going to be smiling for every photo. It changed my mood; it changed who I was; it changed my personality a lot.
How do you feel about your daughter being scrutinized?
Luckily, the paparazzi have been really respectful, especially overseas.
That’s great, I’ve never heard anyone else say that.
Yeah, that’s probably why I can take her to ballet and things that she enjoys, because I feel like there has been a boundary that we’ve set. Kourtney and I talk about it all the time, that it’s about teaching our kids that it’s a different world: there’s social media where you can be scrutinized. Our kids are too young, but [for] our sisters Kendall and Kylie—they’re teenagers, and they love to share their lives, that’s just what teenagers do. But it can be hard on your soul when you are so scrutinized. So it’s just about raising strong children. I would pray that whoever we bring into this life could handle this lifestyle, and I really believe they can. They chose us because they can. I look a lot at how my parents raised me, and I hear amazing stories of how my husband was raised, so you just have to try to live the most normal life within this craziness.
How involved are you with strategy? Your mom is your “momager”…
Everyone thinks of my mom as this puppet master, but no one can tell any of us what to do. She makes the best decisions and she makes the business deals happen. But, as far as strategizing, I would say that I’m a bit more involved in the strategy side. When our show first came out, I was like, “It’s got to be the family. If anyone thinks that I’m wild and crazy and gonna make a good show, they’re wrong. I’m probably the most boring and conservative out of the sisters, so we’ve got to show Khloe, we’ve got to show Kourt, everyone has to be on.” Khloe texted me last night and said, “You really are the Wizard of Oz behind the curtains.” But as far as an overall strategy, people ask me all the time if I have a social media strategy—do I post at certain times—and I don’t have a real strategy for any of that.
How selective are you with your projects?
I used to do anything and everything. When a brand would come to me and it sounded like a good deal, I would do it. But I see how my husband doesn’t do anything unless he is in control and believes in it—I was doing anything just to do it, and I had to take a step back.
What did you say you wanted to be when you were younger?
When I was 12 or 13 I would tell my best friend that we had to be on The Real World. It had just come out and I was like, “When we are 18 we have to make audition tapes.” And I remember she said, “We’re not going to make tapes, we are going to have my dad call,” because her dad was a manager in the business. Then she said, “I don’t want to be on a show but I’ll be your manager.” And now she is in the management business and I’m working on a reality show with the same production company that does The Real World.
How has your own show evolved?
Being on a reality show doesn’t get the respect I feel it should. But I love doing it, and if you think about the issues we are really passionate about, the things we bring to light, I’m proud of that. Whether it’s a transgender issue or things that we are dealing with: divorce or breakups or happy relationships. We show the fun stuff and the crazy stuff, but we try to show a good message.
Since your show is everyone’s guilty pleasure, what’s yours?
I love to watch the forensic shows like Dateline NBC. I either watch that or Family Feud—it’s one or the other.
Let’s talk about your upcoming website launch, KimKardashianWest.com.
We’re launching the site in the beginning of September. I’ve been spending months and months doing makeup tutorials, fashion editorials and all these things exclusively for the site, with all of my fashion tips and styles and what I’m wearing. It will all be posted on there in fun blog posts…and I’ll be live streaming. It’s really a place where my fans can connect.
You and each of your sisters have your own websites with your own personal style and interests. Do you all help each other with them?
They’re individual projects. I don’t really know what they’re doing. I love to give suggestions to my sisters—I guess I’m just a little nosy because they haven’t even asked about mine.
Where do you see your career in five, 10 years?
I probably won’t be as much in front of the camera, but a bit more behind the scenes as far as our clothing line and our stores. We have some big ideas and are kind of spacing it out. With our beauty line I just see that being more of a brand, having tons of products and having it be super successful. And I don’t know about in five years, but definitely in 10 years, I don’t see us filming the show day to day. But you never know—we never thought it would go this long.
You’ve really helped to shift the concept of a traditional blond and beachy California girl, and opened the door to create space for what that really means. Do you consider yourself a California girl?
Oh my God, totally! I really couldn’t imagine life—being born and raised here—anywhere else. I feel so blessed to have been able to travel the world, but my heart is always in Cali. Like, 100 percent.
By Amanda de Cadenet.
Photography by Kesler Tran.