Caitlin McBride: Why Kim Kardashian is proving she's a hell of a lot smarter than we all thought
I’m always wary when someone tells you how smart they are.
So when Kim Kardashian said in January that she’s the real brains behind the family’s success, I approached it with the same eye roll I would an acquaintance telling me how successful/rich/funny they are.
"It's so funny, because I'll hear stories like, 'Kris Jenner is the puppet master, having all of her kids do this and that," she told Editorialist magazine in January.
"And I'm like, 'If they only knew.' I'm the one that will be like, ‘Kylie, do this. Kendall, you should do this.’”
But if this past week’s drama with Taylor Swift is anything to go by, maybe she was on to something.
There have been a few moments during her career where I’ve sat up and thought maybe there’s more to Kim Kardashian than meets the eye –the foresight to establish a hugely successful mobile game (bringing in $40m at last count), a beauty range with her sisters and a reality show franchise which shows no signs of slowing down.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Kardashians – I’ve seen every episode of the show, but I don’t own a Kylie kit. I can tell you all about their various romances, but I had to unfollow Khloe on Snapchat.
It was during Caitlyn Jenner’s transition that we saw a different side to the self-described “puppet master” – she had by far the most mature, sensitive and stable approach and it was the first time we might have been seeing the puppet master at work.
She was the first person in the family to see her stepfather, but during an episode of I Am Cait, I was genuinely taken with how calmly and clearly defended her mother whom Caitlyn had been lambasting at every opportunity.
“You said, ‘Kris mistreated me.’ It sounded like she beat the s**t out of you. You got the fame, but you’re losing your family. It’s your time, but you don’t have to bash us on your way up.”
Let’s get back to 2016 and talk about the takedown of Taylor Swift.
In an interview with GQ in June; Kim, one of the revered and reviled celebrities in equal measure began her takedown of one of the most influential people on the planet. Not only did she accuse Swift of lying about knowing she would feature in the Famous lyrics, she said she had a video recording to prove it.
But this was over a month ago, the controversy around the alleged video had died down, Taylor Swift had taken control of her “narrative” once again, this time, putting all her energy into her relationship with new boyfriend Tom Hiddleston.
So why now?
To coincide with the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians of course. The mother-of-two waited for the penultimate episode of series 12 to dole it out against Swift - on her terms.
"I never talk s**t about anyone publicly, especially in interviews. But I was just like I had so had it. And you know just another way to play the victim. It definitely got her a lot of attention the first time."
She managed to get her message out there first, wait in the wings while gathering the evidence she needed to support her claims and then strike in such a manner that her E! reality show was the main beneficiary with an (assumed) boost in ratings.
Since sharing the video of the recording on Snapchat, her name has been trending for all the right reasons around the world.
The #KimExposedTaylorParty hashtag has been trending since she first released the video. The word ‘exposed’ implies the vast majority of people have been feeling what us cynical media types have thought for awhile – nobody can be as nice as Taylor Swift.
Kim spotted a celebrity whose reputation was at its lowest point and exploited it for personal gain; which not only cleared her husband’s name, but also made her look like the dutiful doting wife who couldn’t stand by for one second longer and watch her husband’s name be sullied by a “liar” who, she claims, just “wanted to play the victim again.”
We’re currently in the middle of Kim Kardashian: The Next Chapter. After a tacky start in the industry in 2007 she’s upgraded her circle (she parties with Karl Lagerfeld), her wardrobe (before-it-hits-the-runway Balmain); her show (slick new production values haven’t gone unnoticed) and her greatest accessory of all – her husband of two years, Kanye West.
“I love when people underestimate me and then become pleasantly surprised,” she told Rolling Stone in 2015. And she might have a point.