I get it. Writing a pro-Kardashian article is akin to career suicide. But I feel pretty strongly about Kim and co and their brazen need to be brutally honest. I realise that their penchant for contouring make-up makes the world think they’re like magicians, always hiding behind a false, glossy exterior, but their show is anything but, and if you’ve never seen it, let me tell you why you should start.
They may have accumulated ridiculous wealth, but the Kardashian-Jenner clan have been through some pretty heart-wrenching stuff. Sure, they’ve benefited from it financially, by having almost every moment of their lives filmed for TV, but the sort of honesty they offer comes at a high price. For instance, when Kim was having marital problems with Kris Humphries so quickly after their hugely publicised wedding, she cried in bed on national TV about it. Her uncontrollable mood swings, undoubtedly brought on by being married to a man who didn’t support her career or lifestyle, were caught on camera and subsequently broadcast. Anyone will tell you that no break-up is pretty (unless you buy into that whole conscious uncoupling mumbo-jumbo) and having that sort of realisation, that you’re either going to have to leave your marriage or live a life that isn’t true to yourself, is brutal. We’ve all been there and I for one wouldn’t have wanted someone to film me in sweat pants, eating Pot Noodles while crying profusely at Sex and the City re-runs.
Grief plays a big part in Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and despite being the world’s biggest cynic, I don’t believe their tears are just for TV. The Kardashian-Jenner family don’t have to broadcast their misery, even if it makes them money. They could just as easily pad out episodes with staged antics, but instead they choose to talk about the events in their lives which have dramatically changed them: the death of their father, Caitlyn Jenner’s journey of self-discovery, Khloe’s marriage to a man who cheated on her multiple times, Rob’s self-esteem issues, the criticism Kim received for putting on weight while she was pregnant, Scott’s struggle with drugs and alcohol. These are things even the strongest of us would find it difficult to deal with, but the K’s continue to share their stories with a mass audience.
There is no such thing as a perfect role model and, if there were, the Kardashians would most certainly not be it. But there’s something so endearing about celebrities as famous as they are being honest without polish or prep (though I’ve no doubt they work to a certain amount of script – be serious!), and sharing aspects of their lives they don’t really need to. Sure, the drama keeps the Kardashian machine moving, generating endless income, but there’s also bravery at play, in exposing the deepest darkest moments of their lives, which most of us wouldn’t want to live out in front of our barista at Starbucks, let alone millions of people worldwide. Both brave and vulnerable at once, the Kardashians have taught me what it means to be strong in the face of adversity. Plus they’ve got really great hair.
Amy Mackelden (a.k.a. July 2061) is a writer based on the Isle of Wight. Her writing has featured in places such as heat magazine, New Statesman online, Kinkly, Witty Bitches, xoJane and Hello Giggles. She won a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North in 2011 and a New Buds Award from New Writing South in 2015. She’s one of the co-founders of poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog, and has made two spoken word/theatre shows, The 8 Fatal Mistakes of Online Dating (& How To Avoid Them), & Retail, which is set in a closed-down Blockbuster & about a shared love of Woody Allen. She’s currently working on her next show, “MS is my boyfriend,” about life with multiple sclerosis.