Whenever the topic of what I do for a living comes up in casual conversation, invariably Kim Kardashian’s name gets mentioned, usually in the context of frustration and condescension — which is also the case in the comments section of pretty much any post we do about her. People get very angry because she receives so much attention, yet has no “talent.” And then, of course, there is the hater crutch of the Ray J sex tape. “She’s only famous because she had a sex tape!” people exclaim and then shake their damn heads.
I will concede that Kim Kardashian’s sex tape served as the first stage in her multistage rocket to fame, doing the lion share of work lifting Kim from near obscurity as Paris Hilton’s assistant to national headlines. But, this first stage happens for people all the time, especially in this day and age of internet virality.
The real trick (and yes I will even go so far as to call it “talent”) is once you have jettisoned that first stage booster, you have to figure out how to keep from falling back to Earth (and obscurity), and ideally, continue to elevate and reach a level of fame where a sustainable orbit is possible. (I’m beginning to realize this rocketship metaphor is pretty amazing because we’ve all seen famous people who have obtained orbit get knocked out of it and then burn up on reentry before crashing back down in a shower of burning debris. The phenomenon is currently happening to Bill Cosby, for example, as his protective coating of thermo-resistant tiles begin to fail under the immense heat of all the sexual assault allegations that are dragging him back down through the stratosphere.)
Let me put it this way: Paris Hilton’s former assistant who had a sex tape with Ray J more than a decade ago is without question one of the planet’s most famous people. That doesn’t happen by accident, or even just luck.
I know the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app is kind of a fun joke, but for anyone who has played it and expressed frustration at the constant photo shoots, appearances, ass kissing, and personal sacrifices it takes to build up fame, I think you are getting at least a partial glimpse at what the fame game is really like for someone like Kim Kardashian. I’ve had some pretty hard jobs in my day (at a marina scraping barnacles, construction, t-shirt screen printing, house painter, retail management), but I know for a fact I couldn’t do what Kim does week to week — it would just be too exhausting. And that doesn’t even take into account having to deal with the tidal wave of hatred every second of every day seven days a week three hundred and sixty-five days a year!
But plenty of people work as hard as Kim at the fame game, right? And hell, some of them might even be better at it than she is, yet they don’t have 26 million Twitter followers and they’re also not the most followed human being on instagram. What’s the reason for that? I scroll through thousands of celebrity photos every week and the answer to that question is answered for me on an almost daily basis. For instance, here was what the thumbnailed galleries at WENN looked like today:
I’m sure it’s shallow, but there is no denying that Kim Kardashian is just damned compelling to look at. A huge part of that is genetics, but there’s also a sizable part that is effort on her part. Kim Kardashian looking remarkable walking down the street (in this particular case, going to the Epione Cosmetic Laser Center) is her business, and you can hate on her all you want, but Kim Kardashian works damned hard (with the help of an amazing team I’m sure) and runs one hell of a business!
So does Kim Kardashian have a talent? I would say absolutely. She is unbelievably talented at the fame game. And remember, a lot of the time talent doesn’t even require awareness necessarily — it is just natural talent. And also remember that having millions of people who hate you is nothing but great for business!
I rarely get riled up when wading through Kim Kardashian negativity, but I do distinctly remember getting irate when the topic of Kim Kardashian potentially getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame made headlines a couple of years ago after a rep for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said, “She is a reality star. We don’t do reality stars. She needs to get a real acting job then come to us.”
It seems RIDICULOUS to me that Kim Kardashian would not be eligible for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! And for a rep to act so high-minded about it when there are already stars for Judge Judy, the Victoria’s Secret Angels, Disneyland, John Tesh, Michael Bolton, and even Vanna White for goodness sake! I loooove Vanna White, but as far as deserving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she’s pretty far down on the list under Kim Kardashian in my (and reality’s) book!
But, in the end, my words don’t really count for much. My entire argument can be summed up with this photo of Kim Kardashian just walking around in California yesterday:
Of course, then again, maybe it’s just dat ass…
BONUS – A behind-the-scenes shot at the making of yesterday’s Kim Kardashian paparazzi photo shoot:
yesterday…trying to pick out an outfit struggle pic.twitter.com/gt5kvkqu7a
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 20, 2014
The struggle is real. Seriously.