Monday 26 February 2018

Kim Kardashian's selfie book Selfish review: 'a surprisingly moving autobiography'

Mrs Kanye West has created a surprisingly moving autobiography that is more than just an advert for bikinis

2006: "Baby hairs on fleek. LOL." (Kim Kardashian West)
Mexico, 2009: "I had work a week later. It was so hard to cover this up." (Kim Kardashian West)
2010: "Rocky!!! How original, a boxer named Rocky." (Kim Kardashian West)
2010: With sister Kourtney and nephew Mase: "Filming in New York. Mase was so little!" (Kim Kardashian West)
Thailand, 2014: "How cool is this outdoor shower?" (Kim Kardashian West)

Kat Brown

Before selfies were even called selfies, everyone did them: arguably just as much as they do today, now that the word has been enshrined in the OED.

They mark moments when you're having fun with friends, or looking particularly good ("on fleek", as Kardashian, 34, writes here, in a slang I am too out of touch to understand.)

The daughter of OJ Simpson's lawyer, Robert Kardashian, Kim made her name in a reality TV show alongside her wealthy family, and is now the superstar wife of rapper Kanye West.

Through her self-portraits she has built up a 31.1 million-strong following on the photography app Instagram. Last May, a picture she posted of her wedding to West gained 1.92 million likes, making it the most popular photo ever posted on the site.

Selfish book cover, 2014:
Selfish book cover, 2014: "How many pics does it take to get the perfect selfie?" (Kim Kardashian West)

It makes sense for Kardashian, undisputed queen of the selfie and all that that entails, to publish an autobiography, out on Tuesday, made up entirely of photographs she has taken of herself, and of her friends.

It should be dreadful, but it isn't. Surprisingly, it's a rather enchanting document of someone having a jetset life (sample caption: "I was in Africa in a diamond mine") and not being overly protective about her image (one page is devoted entirely to photographs of her with sunburn after she fell asleep wearing sunglasses).

It's become rather easy to think of Kardashian as a sort of human Barbie doll that exists in a cloud of contouring and carefully flat facial expressions, and indeed, if it's photographs of her looking vacant in a thong you are interested in, there's plenty for you here.

But Selfish is also oddly moving. By the time you get to her photobombing another friend mid-selfie (2009) or making faces with her family (2010), you think that she'd actually be quite a laugh to go out with.

Mexico, 2009:
Mexico, 2009: "I had work a week later. It was so hard to cover this up." (Kim Kardashian West)

After 2012, however, the fun disappears. Kardashian's professional selfie face kicks in, the friends feature less frequently - replaced by grainy solo shots and Instagram posts ("it got 1,124,315 likes!").

Coupled with Kardashian's inexpressive expression, the "sexy" photographs are anything but. She also includes a number of the naked photos that were leaked online during last year's iCloud hack, but points out that BlackBerry isn't on iCloud so isn't sure how they got online. Of the things that Kim Kardashian worries about, you don't imagine that revealing photographs of her popping up on the internet is high on the list.

Selfish by Kim Kardashian is released on May 5

Thailand, 2014:
Thailand, 2014: "How cool is this outdoor shower?" (Kim Kardashian West)

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