I haven’t slept in months. Not since Kim Kardashian told me to hire Simon and Maria. I know they mean well, but their total commitment to making me the biggest star in Hollywood (after Kim, obvi) means that I have no time to think or read or sleep. Definitely no time to sleep. Not when there’s a magazine cover shoot in New York and a billboard advertisement shoot in Punta Mita, Mexico, and a Bollywood movie cameo shoot in New Delhi and a new club opening in London and a mall appearance in Dubai and a runway show in Paris. I’ve bought condos and apartments all over the world, each one filled with expensive, default furnishings and a shiny new car in the garage, but do you think I’ve had a chance to sit in my recliner? When would I have the time to swim in my pool? The only purchase that I’ve actually been able to put to use is my private jet. My husband, A-list model Cooper Davis, occasionally suggests we host parties on the jet, but who has the time? And who would I invite? I have spent so many hours – and so much of my money – taking Cooper on dates all over the world, doing as my publicist Maria says and making sure our pictures appear in the right magazines at the right time, and now all he wants to do is bring his friends along to fly on my jet. If I don’t take him out often enough he calls me and demands a divorce unless I pay for ANOTHER meal at Chateau Nuit. This is all Kim Kardashian’s fault.
In the time since ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’, a smartphone game designed by Glu Games, was released, I’ve clocked up dozens (possibly hundreds) of hours of mindless screen tapping in my quest to land at the top of the A-List. The game gives you the chance to recreate Kim’s real-life career and become the most popular star of an alternate reality version of Los Angeles. In this world, the Hollywood sign reads ‘KARDASHIAN’ and Australia is a short flight away. One thing in the game is just as it is in reality, though: everyone wants to be like Kim.
When you begin the game a whole aesthetic buffet is laid out before you. You select your avatar’s gender, then set about choosing their hair and skin colour, the style of their hair and the clothes they wear. Aside from gender, any of these things can be switched up during the game. I began playing the game three different times, with a new avatar each time. The first time was as a woman called Kanye because I wanted to know what it was like to be the object of Kim’s affection. In the game, Kim is already married, so my ‘Kanye’ was friendzoned and I decided to delete the game for this reason alone. (Also because I spent a significant amount of my own money buying digital money/K-stars, which you use in the game to buy special clothes, haircuts, dates, cars and pets.)
I couldn’t resist the kall of Kim, though, so I soon reinstalled the game and created Harry Styles, a female brunette who, thanks to a well-publicised hack in the game that allows users unlimited money and K-stars, never wears anything but the best lace dresses and has a car to match each one. This is Kim’s world; we’re just staring at our fingernails and flipping our hair in it! Here, I look at life and the consequences of fame from Harry’s perspective.
If only I had said no to her, that day she asked me to open So Chic and give her a dress, but refusing Kim is not an option; this is Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood and here you play by her rules. Now that I own So Chic and only visit once a month to collect the earnings, things are a little different, but back then, I was riding the bus from the boutique to my home, which, now that I mention it – where did I even live before I met Kim?
I wasn’t even on the E-list then; I was just a hot nobody, scraping together change for a drink at the Brew Palms, too broke to adopt a cat or shell out $70 for a plane trip from LAX to Sydney. But then Kim appeared. I was like Harry Potter, So Chic was my cupboard under the stairs and Kim Kardashian was a chic, thick-hipped Hagrid, offering me a shortcut into a new world full of promises. All it took was Kim’s invitation to this alternate reality of mix-n-match noses and novelty wardrobe options for me to realise I could actually have anything I wanted. She just opened the door to the Gringott’s vault filled with my inheritance, and I was set free to spend it – on dresses! And cars! And dates with people who insulted my clothes! Money might not be able to buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy you attention and relationships.
But the initial shine has worn off and this new life is starting to get me down. Now I’m trapped in this cycle of working, earning money, spending money, working, being thrust unwillingly into situations and scandals of which I want no part, working to clean up my reputation. Repeat ad infinitum.
And it is work, this job. I read enough headlines and see enough Twitter mentions to know that there are thousands of people who think Kim and I are mindless, that what we do is meaningless, and we are vapid drama queens who don’t know what it means to work a day in our lives. But this is not a game. This is not some make-believe, two-dimensional, cartoon version of Hollywood. This is my real life, and it is filled with phone calls and meetings with designers whose work I need to represent, advertisers whose products I need to invest in, charities whose causes I need to champion, directors whose visions I am responsible for, and occasionally legit members of royal families whose egos I need to stroke. It’s not a job I take lightly.
Looking cute on camera might not look like it takes a lot of work on my part, but with each click of the photographer’s shutter, I’m throwing away my energy (four bolts’ worth, to be precise) just to take a break for one goddamned second. I don’t know how Kim first became famous – she’s never mentioned it to me – but I know from watching her that it’s a job that requires more effort than just pouting her lips and popping her hips (two things she’s really good at. I’ve asked her to show me how, but she won’t reveal her technique).
And it’s Kim that this is for, really. She by no means invented the job, but if it weren’t for her example, looking hot on camera wouldn’t earn me nearly as much money and attention as it does now. And if it weren’t for her fateful trip to So Chic that day, I’d still be trapped in that boutique, folding shirts while Luther scowls at me.
No matter how often she tells me we’re besties, or offers me her tiny limb for a ‘hand hug’, I can never shake the feeling that I’m still operating on an IOU system with Kim. When will all this work be enough for her? Will she ever give me an actual hug? Will I ever have paid my dues? Kim herself is setting new precedents for stardom everyday – no other self-made, walking, talking, personal brand has managed the staying power she can claim – and while following in her footsteps is cool and all, I don’t know where it leads, or if it will ever end. How many levels do I need to clear before I can just retire and nap?
I really don’t want to sound ungrateful; I know the reason I’m at the top of the A-list is because I’m more pleasant and agreeable than other tabloid stars (like, say, Willow Pape) and I am not about to jeopardise all that goodwill I’ve built up. Just because I’m mainlining K-Stars to make it through the goddamn day and can’t remember the last time I washed my face doesn’t give me any reason to complain.
I’ll do whatever I’m told to get to the top! I’ll pose in lingerie for a creepy photographer with a five o’clock shadow even though it makes me feel uncomfortable. I’ll let a judgmental journalist trail me on jobs and eat all the free food if it means he’ll write nice things about me. I’ll tolerate the company of that guy who’s opening a bar that only accepts Bitcoin if it puts me in the good books of nerd bloggers (a demographic Maria insists I need to appeal to).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Kim’s good example (and Willow’s bad one), it’s that speaking your mind and criticising any element of this industry equals a one-way ticket to irrelevant-ville. Kim knows not to speak about political issues or her own emotions (I thought people were nasty when they thought she was just a brainless fame-whore, but those mean comments had nothing on the ones she got when she tried to commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian genocide or express the concerns she has over the world’s treatment of her mixed-race child). No, I know that it’s easier to tolerate the lack of sleep and put up with pushy assistants and drooling bodyguards and manipulative media personalities like Ray Powers, no matter how small they make me feel. Because Kim’s taught me that it’s easier to be silent and successful than opinionated and on the E-List.
Oh wait, hold that thought: Simon’s calling and I’m late to the opening of a movie studio in New Delhi!
Image courtesy the author.