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As Kim Kardashian hits back at the haters who have slated her baby body, we get a glimpse into the crazy world of her mega-famous family
Keeping up with the Kardashians, as it were, is a terribly exhausting business.
By the time our whirlwind day with formidable trio of sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé is over, the universal reaction from Team Fabulous is to collapse in a heap, wearing thousand-yard stares and clutching medicinal white wines.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been hugely entertaining. The girls arrive at the crack of dawn, with a cast of thousands in tow. At least three publicists, two film crews, assorted hair, make-up and styling teams and a nanny for Kourtney’s baby, Penelope, are just a fraction of what is quite a staggering entourage.
It’s a meticulously coordinated monster of an operation and fascinating to watch. Throughout our exclusive shoot, whispered instructions from the top filter down the chain of command. And whatever the job is, it gets done in seconds. It’s a system that means the sisters themselves never once look flustered or stressed.
It’s been nearly six years since the Kardashian family launched themselves into the public consciousness and set about their now largely achieved quest for global domination. They capitalised initially on Kim’s notoriety as Paris Hilton’s (former) BFF and her starring role in the sex tape, which now must never be spoken of.
Kim’s wily matriarch-turned-“momager” Kris Jenner, 57, spied an opportunity and the hilarious, no-holds-barred reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians – where there’s never a dull moment, although plenty of preposterous ones – was born.
Today, Kourtney, 34, Kim, 32, and Khloé, 28, are promoting the second drop of their clothing range, the Kardashian Kollection, exclusively for Dorothy Perkins. But while we’re supposed to be talking clothes, there’s one thing we are more than obsessed with – the arrival of the Kardashians’ newest member.
By the time seven-month-pregnant Kim gives birth in July, you wouldn’t be blamed if you felt like reaching for the gas and air along with her. Gosh, it has been a long incubation.
Since rap-star boyfriend Kanye West publicly announced Kim as his “baby mama” on New Year’s Eve, we’ve been treated to every spit and cough of said pregnancy. We’ve lived and breathed the dramas, the bump watching, the potential names and, of course, the thrice-daily fashion updates from the media: “Kim gets it wrong!” “Kim gets it right!” ”Whoops, Kim gets it wrong! Again!”
Poor, pregnant Kim. As if being a mum to be wasn’t tough enough, she’s had to put up with those commentators judging her every outfit on the basis of how big it makes her backside appear, while chastising her for daring to actually look pregnant, as opposed to sporting the regulation barely there celebrity bump.
“I used to Google myself, but not any more,” she says, resignedly. “I haven’t in a while. The internet is very informational [sic] and you can find whatever you’re looking for on any subject. But people take advantage of it and use it to do something negative.
“I just think, why surround yourself with negative things when you don’t have to? I definitely avoid certain things, like looking at the comments. It’s just not worth my while.”
Kim’s been criticised for her pregnancy style
For the record, Kim looks exactly as she should – healthy and glowing – although the way she tugs awkwardly at her blazer throughout the interview suggests she’s not entirely at ease with her blooming figure.
“I think I was trying to hide it for a while, but I’m still at the stage where nothing looks good, so I’ve found it really difficult to get dressed,” she says.
“I’m learning that stretchy is everything. Blazers and stretchy fabrics are going to be my new thing. Right now, there’s not much that will fit me.”
Elder sister Kourtney chips in supportively: “But that’s how your body is when you’re pregnant. At first it looks better with loose clothes, then you get to the point where it looks better in tight.”
Kim sighs. “Kourtney is so tiny that when she was nine months pregnant it was like my regular size.”
“Oh. Shut. Up,” snorts former US X Factor host Khloé.
Mother-of-two Kourtney has been a constant source of support to Kim through the last few hormone-fuelled months.
Kim says: “She sees people come up to me and try to give me every single bit of information. I get overwhelmed, then she steps in and says: ‘OK, we need to go to the bathroom now,’ and she pulls me away. When it comes to pregnancy, everyone has an opinion.”
Khloé, whose fertility problems have been well documented on the family’s various reality shows (seriously, nothing is off-limits), adds: “It would freak me out. How do you remember it all? All the rules!”
Lest we forget, there is another celebrity baby due in July – the one belonging to Kate and Wills. Does Kim feel any goldfish-bowl-type affinity with the duchess?
“I try not to pay attention to the comparisons,” she replies. “I just hope that anyone who is having a baby has a healthy pregnancy and enjoys it.”
“But Kate and William are so cute together!” adds Khloé.
Any semblance of anonymity for the family has long gone. Half-sisters Kendall, 17, and Kylie, 15 (from Kris’ second marriage to former Olympian Bruce Jenner, 63), have never really known life outside of the limelight. Kourtney’s three-year-old son, Mason, and daughter Penelope, 10 months, have been followed by the cameras since birth.
And what, pray, will become of baby Kimye?
“It does worry me when I think about it,” says Kim. “But, at the same time, my little sisters have grown up so amazingly, with really good heads on their shoulders.”
Kanye, 35, has made a couple of rather stony-faced cameos on Keeping Up With The Kardashians but, although not exactly the shy-and-retiring type himself, he’s made it clear he won’t become a regular cast member, like Khloé’s basketball-player husband Lamar Odom, 33, and Kourtney’s partner Scott Disick, 29. Has her pregnancy made Kim reassess and think about possibly holding back from the spotlight a bit?
“I’m definitely more of a recluse since I was pregnant,” she says. “But I haven’t necessarily decided to hold myself back, it’s just preparing myself for respecting the privacy of my child and my boyfriend.
“We live different lives, but I love being open. That’s who I’ve always been and sharing so much of myself – I love that. That’ll never change because that is who I am. It’s more about gearing up to protect other people.”
Will they sell the first pictures of the newborn?
“That’s nothing I’ve really thought about yet.”
That wasn’t a no.
Masters of the art of self-promotion, the Kardashians may epitomise the “fame for fame’s sake” phenomenon, but they’ve also been remarkably astute – there have been no drugs scandals, no vomiting episodes outside of nightclubs. And here’s the thing: at the heart of all the nonsense is a family who really do love each other and know how to have fun together.
It’s perhaps little wonder, then, that they’ve been so successful. The fly-on-the-wall series is now shown worldwide, there have been several lucrative spin-offs and a booming business empire has emerged, exploiting the hell out of every last possible gap in the market (Kardashian water, anyone?). There are perfumes and swimwear lines, cosmetics and books.
Between them, the sisters have over 34 million Twitter followers and the family is reported to have a collective worth of £50million (half of which is said to come from Kim alone). Kim also hogs the majority of the headlines, thanks to her astonishing looks, a marriage to NBA star Kris Humphries that lasted only 72 days and, most recently, her pregnancy and relationship with Kanye.
Ironically, considering she ended up giving birth in front of the E! cameras last July, it was Kourtney who was the most hesitant to sign up for the show that was to take over their lives.
“Yeah, I was reluctant at first. I think I was just being a protective older sibling. I didn’t know how things would be edited,” she says.
Khloé was happy to go along with what began as an idea cooked up between Kim and mum Kris, although she admits to not being fully aware of what it would entail: “Me and Kourt were kind of blind-sided. Mom and Kim knew what was going on and it all happened so fast.”
Kim thinks the fact that no one really understood what they were letting themselves in for is the secret to the show’s success.
“When my mom came with the idea I was like: ‘OK.’ Within a couple of days we were filming, so we didn’t really have time to digest it. That’s the beauty.”
Khloé continues: “I think if we’d had time to analyse it, we would have thought about it too much and wouldn’t have been able to be ourselves.
“I forget that I do these things. I go to the gynaecologist and they’re filming and I don’t even think about it. We’ve had the same camera crew since day one and we’re so comfortable with them, they’re like family.”
When you’re granted just 20 minutes interview time (sigh), it’s hard to make a fair assessment but – on the surface, at least – the girls are engaged and engaging. Kim and Kourtney are handed framed pictures of their previous Fabulous cover and gasp with what appears to be genuine gratitude. “I loved that shoot!” says Kim. “It was so much fun. It’s so cute.”
She adds that, actually, she already has a copy of it framed at home, in pride of place on her “glamour wall”.
Er, whatever that is, we want one.
Kim is dazzling, but Khloé is the most striking. Statuesque and stunning, she’s self-deprecating, quick-witted and takes charge of the interview. She’s the one you’d most like to share a bottle of Pinot with.
She’s also easily the most confident in front of the cameras, as the girls model their Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins – another dead-cert money-spinner.
“In this spring/summer collection, you can see there are pieces that are more individual,” says Khloé.
“There’s a shorts suit set, which is more towards Kourtney. Then there are the bodycon dresses, which are more suited to me and Kim. We’re all blazer girls, so while we might not wear the shorts suit, we can wear the blazer a million different ways.”
Kim’s curves, Khloé’s height and Kourtney’s petite shape are all catered for.
“We all have such different body shapes and so we have to incorporate that,” says Kim. “We got such a great response from that first launch and so Dorothy Perkins trusted us a little bit more second time. This time it’s more of a representation of our personalities.”
The first UK Kardashian Kollection launch last autumn saw 10,000 screaming fans descend on Westfield shopping centre in London’s Shepherd’s Bush.
Girls from mid-teens to early 20s adore them, as Fabulous found out in a recent Q&A session with a group of media students. Of all the questions the wannabe journos could have asked, it was our 2011 cover with Kim and Kourtney that attracted the most attention.
“What were they really like?” Perfectly pleasant.
“Is Kim as gorgeous in real life?” Probably more so.
Of the launch, Kim says: “We had no idea it would be that crazy in the UK. It was so insane and intense. It was Khloé’s first time in the UK and she was blown away.”
Khloé says: “I always get nervous, like, what if no one comes?”
“Yeah! Kourtney’s the opposite of me; she gets nervous that there’s going to be a stampede. It’s funny to see behind the scenes because Kim and I are always nervous that no one’s going to come and Kourtney’s like…”
“I’m like: ‘Please no one come!’” says Kourtney. “But then I love seeing everyone.”
Khloé says: “I think it’s because she’s so little she gets nervous. She’s only 5ft tall.”
Kim looks disdainful. “What does being little have to do with being nervous?”
Khloé: “Because when there’s too many people, it’s scary.”
ith so much already conquered, there can’t be much left on the Kardashian hit list. Music? Movies? Er… politics?
“I think Kim would be an amazing politician!” Khloé exclaims.
Kim’s not so sure. “Really? You think? I don’t know if it’s my thing. I’m interested sometimes. I try to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world. Sometimes when you’re travelling a lot it’s difficult, but I do try.”
Kim Kardashian running for office? Cough, splutter, cough! But hey, you don’t need to look any further than the Kardashian story itself to see that stranger things have happened.
● The Kardashian Kollection will be available online at Dorothyperkins.com and in selected stores from May 20.