I never really watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians or followed any of their careers closely. That is until the Kim K phenomenon became a bit like gum on my shoe – it kind of just followed me around everywhere until I could no longer ignore it. Also, I am in my twenties and enjoy popular culture. Reason enough to know a thing or two about the Kardashian clan, IMHO. Lately, I’ve been kind of fascinated with the matriarch ‘momager’ of the clan, Kris Jenner (née Haughton).
She's often dismissed by media as moaney, high-maintenance, a control freak, and sometimes even a bad parent, but her story is actually quite inspiring. She's been through two divorces, was involved in the OJ Simpson trial, and has established her own incredibly successful business, Jenner Communications. She’s got to be doing something right! Here’s what we know about Ms Jenner…
She likes to get what she wants – immediately. It’s no secret that Kris’ standards are sky-high. She’s used to the finer things in life, and isn’t afraid to ask for them, either. Ex-nanny to the Kardashians, Pamela Behan, wrote in her tell-all book Malibu Nanny about how Kris used to ask her to brew a pot of Starbucks breakfast blend each morning and leave it outside her bedroom door on a tray with mugs, hotel-style.
She’s well-versed in heartbreak and grief. Kris has been through a lot, there’s no doubt about that. At the age of 17, she met Robert Kardashian and at 21, was married to him. Years later in an interview with Giuliana Rancic, Kris revealed that the 1991 divorce is one of her biggest regrets, and that she was too young to understand that ‘marriage can take a lot of work.’
Even during this first marriage, there was headaches and heartbreak; The OJ Simpson trial would cause considerable strain. Robert Kardashian was OJ’s lawyer, but Nicole Simpson was a close friend of Kris. Later, she wrote: 'I instinctively knew that in some way O.J. had something to do with her death.'
Three weeks after splitting with Robert in 1991, Kris met Olympic star Bruce Jenner, with whom she would enjoy a long and relatively happy marriage. After their split last year, Kris asserted: ‘Even though we are separated, we will always remain best friends’.
She’s a steely businesswoman. On Facebook, Kris describes herself as ‘Mom, Manager, Momager, Lover Of Life, Lover Of Christ’. She’s multi-faceted alright, but she definitely downplays her corporate know-how. The Kardashian TV enterprise, which she is a producer of, reaches a total of 156 countries worldwide. She’s also in charge of the development of Kardashian Beauty, the Kim Kardashian fragrance range, a lifestyle line for Sears and her own line of apparel for QVC – and who knows what else.
Is what we see on E! really Jenner’s best version of herself? I doubt it – she’s too smart to show us. Accused of being narcissistic, self-centred, fake and ditsy, I think it’s safe to say that Jenner is actually the furthest possible thing from that. Having built her own business network by exploiting people’s curiosity, she knows what makes people tick.
Moral of the story? There’s a lot we can learn from even the most seemingly vapid of characters. Kris is putting on an act, and making a pretty penny for doing so. Of course, this is all by strategic choice, but it’d be nice to hear a little more wisdom on her business acumen. Who’s with me?