When it comes to Kim Kardashian, it was love at first series. The first series coincided with my Fresher’s year of university, and I would rush home from lectures to illegally stream episodes on Putlocker (a pastime that eventually totalled my laptop). I loved that she was unapologetic about her vanity (“Kim your sister is going to jail, stop taking selfies”), I loved how she was playful and sassy but still hard-working (those Dash shelves didn’t stock themselves) and I admired her family-first attitude to life. I loved the words and phrases she used and soon was starting every other sentence with “Bible”. I based by entire aesthetic around her. I had hair extensions, eyelash extensions, nail extensions and I bought Kardashian Konfidential, the book she compiled with her sisters, which offered beauty advice and makeup tips among anecdotes from their childhoods.
As I’ve grown older, my priorities and tastes have changed but my love for Kim has always remained the same. When I say this out loud, people often look at me with disdain, or else confusion, but I refuse to be apologetic. Ok, so she came to fame for dubious reasons (namely, her leaked sex tape with then boyfriend rapper Ray J) and she broke the internet posing naked on the front cover of Paper magazine. But that doesn’t diminish her ability to ulitise her platform to raise awareness of pertinent social issues and make impressive charitable efforts. Throughout all 17 seasons of the reality TV show, the family have continued to support homeless charities, visiting shelters and volunteering at soup kitchens. Kim has donated millions of dollars to charities that provide vital services to the homeless as well as to women’s shelters across LA. She is an advocate of Black Lives Matter, attending rallies and speaking out publicly on police brutality. She works with charity Everytown for gun safety and support gun control legislation and last year, she donated $500,000 to relief efforts in the midst of the California wildfires. While many critics were quick to dismiss her efforts as mere PR stunts during the early years, her continued support suggests a level of authenticity that deserves acknowledgement.
In the past couple of years, Kim has focused her efforts on the justice system, tirelessly campaigning and using her enormous influence to secure clemency for Alice Marie Johnson, who had been sentenced to life in prison for a non-violent drug offence and had displayed model behaviour including becoming an ordained minister while incarcerated.
Alongside her multiple multi-million dollar businesses including KKW Beauty and her latest venture Skims (a shapewear brand offering innovative solutions for people all sizes) and being a mother to four children under the age of six, Kim is training to become a lawyer and spends 18 hours a week studying for the bar exam. To say she’s a role model as far as work ethic goes would be an understatement.
In this age of influencers, where a selfie and a #spon dominate our feeds, it’s refreshing to see an influencer (perhaps the ultimate influencer), using their platform for positive change and meaningful progress, and not solely for personal gain. Personally, I think we should all be a bit more Kim.