By JAMILA RIZVI
“We’ve been offered an interview with Kim Kardashian when she’s in Sydney” says Mia with absolutely no excitement in her voice.
I immediately jump on my pseudo-intellectual high horse: “Who is this woman anyway? I don’t get why she’s even famous. I know there is a TV show about her life and she endorses just about every diet product on the planet but WHY does she do these things? What did she ever do that means I am supposed to care about her in the first place!”
“Great. You can ask her yourself. Interview is all yours,” responds my boss.
I don’t want to mislead; I am in no way a reality television snob. America’s Next Top Model is my ultimate guilty pleasure viewing (Tyra Banks be fierce y’all) but the Kardashians have somehow failed to register on my interest radar.
So I cannot describe to you how much I was dreading this interview. After moaning audibly to anyone who would listen, several of our interns provided me with Kim Kardashian Cheat Sheets. And on reflection, actually reading one of those may have proved useful…
Alas. Here is how it all went down:
I was instructed to arrive at the Sheraton on the Park at 3.40pm. My interview would be at 3.55pm but “you need to arrive early to make sure everything stays on schedule”. Kim is very busy. I will not be allowed to film the interview. I will not be allowed to take photographs during the interview.
There is even a sentence that I am ‘strongly encouraged’ to include in my article: The new season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians premieres every Tuesday night at 8:30pm AEST only on E! channel 121 on FOXTEL.
Tick that one off the list.
I have been allotted 8 minutes in Ms Kardashian’s presence and was permitted to ask her about: “the current season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E!, as well as her relationship with Quick Trim and the other product lines and endorsements that have made her not only one of the world’s most recognised women, but also a respected businesswomen.”
Righto. So ‘why exactly are you famous?’ is probably not on the list of permitted questions. I also shouldn’t ask about her famous boyfriend Kanye West. It really is a very Fawlty Towers-esque ‘don’t mention the war’ scenario.
GQ magazine shoot
When I arrive at the Sheraton, I am greeted and ushered upstairs by the world’s happiest women. No joke. You know those girls on Carefree advertisements who dance around in their underwear, stop to smell the flowers and are all smiley and glowing because their period is due? Them.
They’re thrilled to have Kim here in Sydney because she is Just. So. Nice. They inform me that Kim has had an utterly exhausting 19-hour flight but is the consummate professional and required no rest before her afternoon of answering questions about E! Television and diet shakes.
Now that is actually quite impressive. Perhaps this is why Kim is famous? The amazing jet-lag-less woman?
The PR types and I are making casual chit-chat about my awesome boots when Kim herself appears. Kim is casually agreeable “yeah, they’re nice” she says. To which I respond “I KNOW, only $25 at Rubi shoes, everyone in our whole office bought them…” before trailing off, realising that this multimillionaire might not actually care about my bargain buy.
My first thought is that Kim is teensy-tiny. I feel a like a giant standing next to her even though I’m a fairly average height of 5 ft 6. Then Kim holds out her hand for me to shake. And I pause – wracked with fear.
There have been rumours (well, I’ve seen it in movies) about these famous types having strict no touching policies. I wonder, will I get kicked out if I shake that finely manicured and carefully moisturised hand? Is this a test? The pressure is immense but: I do it. No alarms, no guns, the bodyguard doesn’t burst in. I am safe.
My second thought is that Kim has phenomenal eye contact. She has these absolutely gorgeous big brown eyes and she doesn’t shift them from mine as we sit down and begin our chat.
My third thought is that her eyelashes are longer than my legs and I really want to ask her what sort of mascara she is using. My fourth thought is that she is STILL making unbroken and UNBLINKING eye contact.
It was weird, man. She seriously didn’t blink. Not at all. Not once. My sister and I used to play this game as kids and compete for how long we could last. Kim has obviously cheated by starting the competition without telling me. So I go for the sabotage and blink rapidly back at her. But still – nothing. The woman is unflappable. (Perhaps this is why she’s famous? Guinness Book of World Records record holder for longest period of not blinking?)
We get to chatting. There is something very unnatural about sitting in a room and being told to talk to somebody on command. Especially when there are silent spectators. But Kim is totes cool with it, so I follow her (blink-less) lead.
I ask about the next season of Keeping up With The Kardasians. What can we expect?
“This season, I think I’m probably most excited about the birth of Penelope, my niece. And you see you know, there is a lot of talk with Khloe and her struggle with trying to get pregnant. It’s a really emotional season…
“I think she just didn’t want to go to a fertility specialist to find out if there was something wrong and so I kind of, I tell her, I’ll go with her and I’ll get checked and we’ll do it all together. And I think that encouraged her to go and she was able to see that there was a problem. And now she’s in the process of just trying to fix that problem.”
I am immediately confused. I knew she had a sister (hence Kardashians – plural – being in the title of her show) but only yesterday on Mamamia we’d run pictures of her sister giving birth. I didn’t know she’d previously had fertility problems. Poor girl, I’m thrilled that it has all worked out for her. So, I ask more about it:
“She had a really easy labour, for both babies but I think that you know, she pulled the baby out of her… I don’t know if I would personally ever do that…. Kourtney finds it beautiful and fascinating because you know, it’s really easy for her.”
No wonder people watch this show. The sister has fertility problems and then pops out a child with her own hands and says it’s all really, really easy. Talk about a great plot line. I remark on how good it would be if all couples who struggled with conception could have this kind of happy ending.
This is followed by a slightly confused silence…
Oh these are two DIFFERENT sisters. Right. Check. Got it.
Really should have read that intern cheat sheet.
I ask Kim about what it’s like living life in front of the cameras. “Cameras are there 24/7 so you can’t help but be yourself.” Then I ask if she gets totally weirded out by the fact the whole world knows about her family’s disagreements. “We really pride ourselves on showing and sharing so much”.
Next I ask what makes their family so watchable: “People can relate to someone in the family. I mean, someone can relate to someone. Whether it is therapeutic or entertaining, I don’t know what it is. People have their own reasons.”
And then my time is up. Over. Gone. Just. Like. That.
I check the time and realise that I have spoken to Kim for 9 minutes and 43 seconds. I got a free minute and 43 second over my allotted period. WINNING! We’re practically BFFs.
I want to ask for a photograph but I know that’s not allowed. Not permitted. It’s not on the list. Don’t mention the war.
So instead I make my own. I’m basically Oprah now anyway.