Although it’s hard to remember a time when an enormous, shiny Kardashian butt wasn’t beaming at us from a magazine cover; or a dead-eyed Jenner wasn’t trying to sell us cosmetics, there was one — and it was a mere decade ago.
At that time, we were in the very midst of a Paris Hilton epidemic, and we can thank the heiress for many of the questionable things that entered our collective consciousness sometime around the mid-2000s.
The idea that velour tracksuits were an appropriate — nay — coveted ensemble for every occasion from court dates to dinner dates is one. Wardrobes full of jeans slung so low you couldn’t wear them without a Brazilian is another. Narcissism-as-career-option is a third.
I’ve been able to forgive her these sins — she was young and stupid and knew not what she did. There is, however, one thing Hilton introduced to the world for which I am unable to casually brush away her culpability.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the very first time we saw Hilton and Kardashian on the red carpet together.
Kardashian, now 35, attended the Lakers Casino Night in Santa Monica, California by the side of her boss/idol/bestie Paris Hilton, now 34, and she liked it. She liked it very, very much.
At the time, Hilton was in need of a new BFF, since Nicole Richie had abdicated the role, and always bringing your little sister to events is lame.
Hilton and Kardashian appear dressed down, with enormous, tacky bags slung over their arms, flip phones in hands. How could Hilton have known that she had sown the seeds of her own demise?
Kardashian already knew how to play the system.
"We’d go anywhere and everywhere just to be seen," Kardashian told Rolling Stone in July last year.
"We knew exactly where to go, where to be seen, how to have something written about you. All you had to do is go to this restaurant, or this party, talk about whatever you want to talk about, and it would be in the paper the next day."
The year after these photos were taken, the final episode of Paris Hilton's The Simple Life aired. Months later, the very first episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians screened, and the world has never been the same.
Like a maggot feeding on the rotting corpse of a dead horse, Kim Kardashian swelled in fame even as Paris Hilton diminished.
She followed a similar method of fame procurement: before the launch of KUWTK, Kardashian's sex tape leaked, just as Paris Hilton's had before the launch of A Simple Life.
Kim Kardashian told us when she was 13 that she wanted to be famous. Post continues below...
Now, Kardashian's face, breasts, and bum bear little resemblance to those pictured 10 years ago. We know all her sisters, half-sisters and step-siblings and that poor, lone brother. Her mother coined a term in "momager". Her step-father is now a woman. The family is ubiquitous.
After Kardashian embarked upon her ascent to reality stardom, Hilton suffered a bad case of sour grapes, bad-mouthing her former friend anywhere she could.
In 2008, she said she wouldn't want her modest bum to look like Kardashian's because "It reminds me of cottage cheese inside a trash bag." STING!
Kardashian has refrained from any major swipes at Hilton, and often posts on throwbacks of their time together.
It's very clear who the victor here is. It's Kim Kardashian's world, and Paris Hilton is just living in it.