Arts & Entertainment

My Conversation With Kim Kardashian

By Bari Weiss

How the mogul turned her fame into real power. Plus: cancel culture and criminal justice reform; Trump and TikTok; beauty and breaking the rules.

In the middle of the 20th century, suddenly there was this new thing called an astronaut. And in the decades that followed the moon landing, when American kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, the answer was clear: astronaut. Now we’re in the 21st century. And in poll after poll, astronauts don’t top the list. What kids want to be are influencers.

So I wanted to talk to the Neil Armstrong of our generation: Kim Kardashian.

Unlike Armstrong, people have wildly different perceptions of Kardashian. She is a household name—arguably the most famous person in the world. But in every household and among every member of every household, there are conflicting ideas about who she is. And about what, exactly, it is that she does.

Is she a sex symbol or a doting mother of four or the ex-wife of a genius provocateur? Is she a reality TV star? Or a business mogul? Or a social media mastermind?

Here’s what I know: somewhere between 2007, when “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” first premiered, and now, Kim Kardashian mastered media in a way that has transformed it forever. She was in digital while we were all still in analog. You could make a strong case that she’s been living in the metaverse for years.

I know a lot about Kardashian—not just the tabloid stuff, which I eat up like everyone else, but also the fact that in the past few weeks she’s gotten a man off of death row and chartered a plane out of Afghanistan. Still, she surprised me. She told me about working with the Trump White House on criminal justice reform (“I really don’t care about the criticism. I mean, my reputation over someone’s life? Destroy me then.”)

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