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BY JILL SIERACKI | June 1, 2010 | People
On Khloé: Verushka swimsuit, Eres ($445). Swim, Encore Las Vegas; eresparis.com. White-gold and diamond necklace, Bulgari (price on request). The Forum Shops at Caesars; bulgari.com. On Kim: Bathing suit, Vix (price on request). vixswimwear.com. Diamond and platinum long chains, Neil Lane ($120,000 each). neillanejewelry.com. On Kourtney: Bathing suit, Vix (price on request). Platinum earrings, Bulgari (price on request).
It’s early March, and every tabloid on the newsstand features the Kardashians. Big, bold headlines shout “Toxic Love!” and “Humiliated by Their Men,” citing “close, personal friends” and “inside sources” for scandalous nuggets on the personal lives of Kourtney, 31, Kim, 29, and Khloé Kardashian, 25—three California women who became pop-culture phenoms through their E! reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the subsequent spin-off, Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami, which kicks off its second season this June.
“[The tabloids] have been on Kourtney and Scott’s case for a while,” says Kim of her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, Scott Disick. “What’s so crazy is they started those stories when we aired an episode of us in Vegas where Kourtney and her boyfriend were about to break up. People don’t remember that was, like, seven months ago, that’s not current. I think obviously when you read stuff, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but at the end of the day, a lot of it’s made up. People want to feel like they have that ‘in.’ If it was true, why wouldn’t they just come out and name the source?”
“Normally the ‘friend’ is just some waiter at some restaurant,” echoes Khloé. “All these things on the covers of these magazines, they’re so false. But you do get frustrated and you want to defend yourself and tell people the real story. But people are going to believe what they want to believe.” Thankfully the sisters have the ultimate platform for a personal exposé—their two reality series, which follow the women from their Calabasas, California, family home base to their Miami clothing boutique as well as to every business meeting, Vegas vacation and birthday dinner in between. “There’s times where we definitely might feel uncomfortable about something, but then we turn it around and are able to tell our story our way,” says Kim. “You just choose your battles.”
One month later, all the Kardashians are in South Florida filming the second season of Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami. Camera crews record every moment of the women’s lives over a three-month period, usually seven days a week, 18 hours a day. Meetings are pre-arranged and filming permits are secured, but for the most part, whatever happens, happens. And that means both the good and the bad of life in the limelight are put right there on prime time for the entire world to see.
“I try to never regret anything [that appears on the show],” says Khloé, the most gregarious of the Kardashian clan. “My DUI obviously was something that is embarrassing—you feel stupid and it’s something you shouldn’t have done. But then I appreciate that I have a platform to teach people no one is exempt from this rule.”
“I didn’t want to film it—[what appeared on the season-four finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians] was a home video that [half-sister] Kylie [Jenner] and Scott filmed,” says Kourtney of the birth of her son, Mason Dash Disick, this past December. “I was hesitant about [airing] my birth because it was such a private moment—especially the part when I pulled him out. But then, after seeing the reaction… so many people that were really scared to give birth thought it was very empowering to women. I didn’t expect that.”
Even Kim’s recent breakup with New Orleans Saints’ Reggie Bush was out there for public fodder. However, being in the protective cocoon of Team Kardashian made the heartbreak substantially easier. “Being in Miami really helped me,” says Kim. “When you have a good support system, I think everything is as easy as it can be, as opposed to not having people around you that you can trust and really confide in. Having a big family makes everything in life a little bit easier.” (Big being somewhat of an understatement—in addition to the three sisters, the family includes mom Kris Jenner and stepfather Olympian Bruce Jenner, brother Robert Kardashian, two half-sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and step-siblings Burt, Casey, Brandon and Brody Jenner.)
While spending the better part of three months with a large, constantly in-your-biz family may be too close for comfort for many, the Kardashians appear to prefer it that way. “There is just this closeness that we have,” Kourtney says. “I would rather hang out with Kim or Khloé than any friends.”
This bond also keeps the sisters from getting too big for their designer britches. “We’re all pretty good, level-headed girls,” says Khloé. “If one of us does get a little out of control, we’re very honest with each other and we don’t let the other one go too far. A lot of people in Hollywood have so many friends around them that are friends for the wrong reasons, friends that don’t have their best interest at heart, but with your sisters, [you] obviously care.”
It’s that family dynamic that started the whole Keeping Up with the Kardashians carnival. Producer Ryan Seacrest (yes, that Ryan Seacrest) recognized the zany clan was ripe for a reality show and quickly moved the concept from pitch to prime time. “I was definitely the one who wanted to do it the least,” says Kourtney, the most soft-spoken of the sisters. “It was just a scary thought having the cameras with you all the time.”
“There are so many perceptions of how we are, [I felt like] let’s do it and be 100 percent authentic, and we’ll show people who we really are,” Kim explains. “At first people thought, ‘There are too many of you guys that people won’t be able to connect to just one character.’ If anything, there are so many of us that everyone can relate to someone in the family.”
Over the past year, the clan has continued to expand with Khloé’s whirlwind wedding to Lamar Odom, a star forward on the Los Angeles Lakers. “You just feel when someone isn’t bullshitting you,” the youngest sister explains. “When someone wants you to be in their life, they make it so clear. Everything I would want out of my husband, [Lamar] made possible without me even asking for it.”
And that includes meeting President Barack Obama. “It was such an honor,” gushes Khloé, who met the commander in chief at a special White House ceremony honoring the Lakers’ 2009 NBA Championship. “He has this presence about him. He is so nice and knows all about pop culture, things that you wouldn’t think the president would know. He gave this huge speech in front of all these people and he quoted Lamar, and I felt like a proud parent at that moment.”
Of course, the Kardashian wild child made sure to bring home a little souvenir. “No one else would steal with me!” she says. “I stole these napkins in the bathroom—they’re embossed with a White House symbol; they’re so thick, they’re like a little blanket.”
Now, with the addition of Kourtney’s tot Mason, the sisters are not only having baby fever, they’re also experiencing a kind of culture shock over just how much their family has changed in the past year. “When we were filming season three, we were like, ‘What the hell are we going to do for season four?’” Kim recalls. “We are so boring, everyone already knows us; we don’t want to be that show that makes up all of these scenarios. All of a sudden Khloé gets married, Kourtney gets pregnant, and we are like, ‘OK, we definitely have a few more seasons.’”
FROM SECOND IMAGE DOWN: On Khloé: Bathing suit, Dolce & Gabbana ($375). The Forum Shops at Caesars; dolceandgabbana.it. Flat gold earrings (price on request) and diamond and gold bangles ($27,000 each), Neil Lane. neillanejewelry.com. Ulona heels, Christian Louboutin ($1,695). Barneys New York, The Shoppes at The Palazzo; barneys.com. On Kim: Bathing suit, Red Carter ($181). shopbop.com. Three-tier earrings with diamond detail, Amrapali ($3,430). amrapalijewels.com. Gold pavé diamond ring, Neil Lane ($20,000). neillanejewelry.com. Cousins booties, Christian Louboutin ($1,595). Barneys New York,Barneys New York, The Shoppes at The Palazzo; barneys.com.
Cut-out twist one-piece, Victoria’s Secret ($51). victoriassecret.com. Earrings, Neil Lane ($6,200). neillanejewelry.com. Aztec ring, Gregg Ruth ($5,705). Venetzia Fine Jewelry, The Shoppes at The Palazzo; 702-734-5100. Percy heels, Report Signature ($225). Nordstrom, Fashion Show mall; nordstrom.com. Love bracelet, Cartier. Kourtney’s own.
On Kourtney: White cut-out bathing suit, Vix (price on request). vixswimwear.com. Rainbow-colored ankle-strap wedges, Giuseppe Zanotti Design (price on request). The Forum Shops at Caesars; giuseppezanottidesign.com. On Kim: White one-piece bathing suit, Vix (price on request). vixswimwear.com. Diamond cuff, Gregg Ruth ($125,288). Vicci Fine Jewelry, The Forum Shops at Caesars; 702-734-3008. Diamond and platinum long chains, Neil Lane ($120,000). neillanejewelry.com. Caesar heels, Jimmy Choo ($825). TheShoppes at The Palazzo; jimmychoo.com. On Khloé: Verushka swimsuit, Eres ($445). Swim, Encore Las Vegas; eresparis.com. White-gold and diamond necklace, Bulgari (price on request). The Forum Shops at Caesars; bulgari.com. Cartier Love bracelet, Cartier. Khloé’s own. Paillette heels, Pierre Hardy. Stylist’s own
Photographs by Jack Guy; Styling by Annie Jagger for MargaretMaldonado.com; Assistant stylist: Natalie Saidi; Hair by Frank Galasso for margaret maldonado.com and Frankie Payne for Bumble and Bumble at opusbeauty.com; Makeup by Mario Dedivanovic