entertainment

OPINION: In defence of the hardest working arse on the planet.

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By KATE LEAVER

Kim Kardashian is more than just a magnificent ass.

She’s a businesswoman, a tech mogul, and a branding visionary.

Sure, the 34-year-old reality TV star is one of the most sexualised women on the planet. She participates vigorously in her own objectification. She began her public life in a “leaked” sex tape with a rapper. And she makes money out of a crude, often brainless and shamelessly cosmetic industry.

But setting our intellectual snobbery aside, what she’s made out of herself in her decade-long rise to fame, is nothing short of sensational.

It’s the American Dream. Kim Kardashian has learned to play the media like a goddamn violin, manipulating the masses to her will and cashing in on it big time. Her most recent estimated worth is $65 million, but I’d say that’s conservative — now that we know she makes $30 million a year and her Kim Kardashian Hollywood game made $43 million in the past 3 months.

Because she exists through the lens of a camera (if the paparazzi aren’t there to see Kim Kardashian do something, did it really happen?), of course our first, visceral reaction to Kimmy Kardashian is to gawk at her body. She knows it and she plays up to it.

When this magazine cover went public yesterday, the world stopped. Kardashian’s curvaceous greased up bottom obliterated all other news stories.

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Name me one other person who manipulates the masses this successfully.

Kim Kardashian isn’t just a businesswoman; she’s a business.

In Kim Kardashian’s portfolio are: The ‘Dash’ boutiques she opened in 2006 in Miami and New York, the Kardashian Kollection for Sears that raked in $300 million in 2012, her perfume line, make-up collection, shoe business shoedazzle.com, line of high heels, product endorsements, $80,000 income per episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, $40 million contract with E!, and $600,000 public appearance rate for parties.

Kim is #80 on the Forbes influential celebrities list, #65 on the list of top earners and #21 on the ‘press’ list. She regularly makes the top most googled terms in the world, beating out Iraq, Afghanistan, Obama, Clinton and Putin.

However, the fact that Kim makes her money and earns her influence through her body (and let’s face it, by being her own not-particularly-remarkable self) means we don’t take her seriously despite her vast entrepreneurial achievements.

Kim Kardashian recently appeared at a tech conference in Silicon Valley, where she made some sensationally cogent points about the tech industry. She spoke about wanting to acquire Blackberry, how she developed the Kin Kardashian Hollywood app, and the future of online media.

She rocked that conference and provided some genuinely fascinating insights into the Kardashian brand. She spoke thoughtfully about the internet and the role it will play in global business moving forward. She let us all peek behind the curtain of her phenomenal financial success.

But this was the most prominent headline about her appearance:

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At the conference, Re/code co-editor Kara Swisher asked Kim Kardashian: “Why do people not take you seriously?”

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Kim Kardashian answered interestingly, though very few media outlets reported it:

“I don’t know. That is a question that sometimes I get frustrated with. I pride myself with my work ethic, and I work really hard. I think when people hear that I might have gotten success off of a ‘reality show,’ they take that as a negative. We’re in our tenth season. We have more episodes than ‘I Love Lucy.’ We have so many milestones that people don’t think about.”

She’s absolutely right.

Rightly or wrongly, if we use our modern measures of importance — money and fame — Kim Kardashian is one of the great contemporary success stories. She made a sprawling commercial empire out of absolutely nothing. Now I’m not asking you to feel sorry for Kimmy K; she’s not hard done by here. She’s wildly underestimated, but even that works to her advantage.

That’s the thing about the entire Kardashian family. We think they’re vapid players in our own distraction game, that they’re insipid television stars with nothing better to do than strip for attention. But this family, led by Kim and her husband Kanye West, powered by the evil genius of mother Kris Jenner, are now own the most recognisable brand on the planet. We may rant and rave about the world’s choices and the meaningless nature of fame but these women have legitimate influence and they’re causing in on it big time.

So, go head. Play the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game on your mobile and smirk at the nude photos; god knows the rest of the planet is too.

But also know this: We’re all being played by the Kardashians. For millions of dollars.

Do you respect Kim Kardashian? 

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