“Kim Kardashian West looks like she might be the 20-something nanny or assistant of Kim Kardashian West,” wrote Molly Young. It was for ELLE’s April cover story in 2018, and guess what? Yesterday in Bel-Air, exactly a year later, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Kim Kardashian West wears a Mugler jacket with pierced metal sleeves, python Gucci pants, tightrope-high Louboutin heels, and an Hermès bag. Her hair falls in long, gleaming waves. Her face is perfectly symmetrical, seemingly ageless, but somehow quite adult. Kim Kardashian West looks unmistakably like The Queen of Everything. Which, let’s face it, she basically is—at least when it comes to capitalism.
Accordingly, she’s being worshipped—and carefully studied—by a pack of “super-influencers” at the launch of her new sunglasses line for Carolina Lemke, and model-slash-moguls like Larsen Thompson have come to kiss the ring. (Wearing KKW lipstick, obviously.)
After gifting each girl with a pair of her shades and posing next to floating models of her own head (Return to Oz, anyone?), the Most Famous Person Ever™ sat down for a surprisingly deep discussion on power, parenting, and rap star church.
At this point in your career, you can make anything you want. Why sunglasses?
It started with a friend of mine, Bar Rafaeli, who I’ve known for years…We have sleepovers with the jeweler Lorraine Schwartz, who’s also our friend, where we wear pajamas and eat ice cream and try on jewelry and talk about our babies. And at one of them, Bar said, “Hey, I’m making sunglasses. Can you check them out and tell me what you think?” And I was so impressed… When I saw how well they turned out, I was like, “Can I do this, too?” The bonus is, nobody in the US knows who they are, which to me, was a big plus. It meant I could shape the brand however I wanted, without any preconceived notions about who the customers already are or what the vibe already is. That was really important to me. And the truth is, I liked working with them so much, it was only supposed to be six styles. Now it’s over 20, because I asked if I could be a partner, and I got really into the design process, the campaign, everything. They let me do all of it.
Speaking of the campaign, you have a box with three life-sized replicas of your face in it, wearing the sunglasses. Please explain.
All the girls in the campaign wear masks of my face. Every single model—they’re not my exact measurements but we wanted them to be as close as possible. But first, we did a full body scan of me digitally and made mannequins of my body. Then we decided to make [facial] masks, also. They brought me a picture of a hundred masks in a row, not as a campaign image but just to see how the masks were coming along. And I said, “No, that’s it. That’s the image. Three masks in a row.” Sometimes it just all clicks for me—the images I want, how everything should look.
What did you learn about your face from seeing your clones?
That my face looks really weird without eyelashes! I was like, “No, please add these.” Also, I kept changing the lip color. It was darker, but on a mask, that wasn’t great. We went back and forth a lot to pick the right lip color so it looked cool instead of creepy.
Sometimes kids are really scared of masks. Are yours?
Actually, I’ve gotta take a picture of it—they’re obsessed with the masks! North and Saint keep putting the masks on and wearing them all over the house trying to scare people. They think they’re the funniest things. They think they’re in on some amazing prank.
You mention on your show that you’re worried about them getting along. But just so you know, my brother and I are North and Saint’s age, and we fought so much as kids. We really love each other now.
I love stories like that. And yeah, I do worry about them getting along, because for my sisters and I, we were just so close growing up and obviously still are. And I want them to be, too! But they’re starting to get closer now that she can include him in her jokes. She roped him into an April Fool’s prank yesterday that was ridiculous. She took ketchup into my bathroom, and she begged me to let her spread it on me, and on the bathroom, as if it was like a bad scary movie. Then she asked me to lie down. I thought she was just playing, maybe that she was going to say I was hurt. No. She taught Saint how to fake-cry—she showed him how to do it!—and then she told him to scream “Mommy’s dead!” Kanye ran upstairs and he was like, “Kids, this is not funny. This is not a good prank.” I completely understand and I agree. But it did make me a little impressed that they planned something together, and they were getting along and having fun as a team.
Can we talk about sunglass etiquette? It drives me nuts when dudes wear shades in their dating profile.
I understand. I get that maybe they can show your personality? Like, if the guys have really cool sunglasses, you can see their personal style a bit. But wearing sunglasses in your main profile photo? No. I want to see your eyes.
What about sunglasses indoors?
I think it can look very cool, and I also think if someone’s doing it, more often than not, it’s because they need to wear them. I remember a few years ago, my mom had something wrong with her eye. It was really swollen, she was obviously uncomfortable, and she couldn’t put makeup on because it might make it worse. At the same time, she had a lot of commitments. I think Kendall was walking Victoria’s Secret for the first time, so she had to go. I was like, “Mom, sunglass it up.” So she wore her shades everywhere she went for a week. Some people commented, “Omigod, Kris Jenner is such a diva!” I remember thinking that was really uncalled for, and really unfair. You never know what’s going on under the surface with someone’s life. In my mom’s case, she had an issue with her eye, she wasn’t going to make it worse with makeup, and she looked just as amazing with the sunglasses! They were a total vibe. And I will never be mad at sunglasses inside, because they look incredible.
Did you know today is Equal Pay Day?
You’re incredibly successful. Can you give some advice on how to negotiate for equal salaries and treatment in our careers?
I am very fortunate that my mom and I have worked together from the very beginning of my career. She is the best negotiator, and that’s always been her role. I didn’t have that loud personality in the beginning that allowed me to negotiate for myself. I was really insecure about how to negotiate for myself, and so I would always look to her to show me how to do that for myself. Now I think I’d be very confident in doing that for myself, but it’s always a learning curve. So what I would suggest to someone at the beginning of their career is to start off by saying yes to everything. I felt like there was power in learning from everything and trying it all… Now of course I look back, and although I love that phase of my life and I learned so much going through it, I wish I’d had the confidence to say “no” to things I didn’t believe in. I would love to teach that my kids, and my friends, and my younger sisters. Just stay true to who you are in your career and stand up for what you believe in when negotiating.
In terms of where I am now, I feel like everyone’s time is just as important, whether it’s a makeup artist or a photographer and whether they’re a man or a woman. Everyone’s up at the same hours; everyone’s up doing the same thing; everyone’s working so hard. So in my companies and in my household, I have so many women employees, and everyone is completely paid equally. I think it’s so important and it sets the tone. There’s not one person with the same job, female versus male, that’s paid any less by any means. That’s not how I would ever run my company or my life.
Can we talk about church?
KIM’S PUBLICIST: No.
KIM: Yeah! It’s fine! I’m really excited for Kanye to perform Coachella. I’ve never been.
I know! my friends are like, “How…?” But yeah, this will be my first time ever going to Coachella, and I’m so excited to be a part of it for the first time. And [the church], it’s honestly more like a healing experience for my husband. It’s just music; there’s no sermon. It’s definitely something he believes in—Jesus—and there’s a Christian vibe. But there’s no preaching. It’s just a very spiritual Christian experience.
Can all faiths participate?
Absolutely! Kourtney’s best friends comes all the time and they’re Muslim. All my Jewish friends came on Sunday; they loved it. Everyone that comes understands it’s just a really healing experience with an amazing choir, and amazing messages about love to start off your week.
Can anyone with a Coachella wristband come to the Easter Sunday service?
I’m not sure! Everyone’s asking, even my mom. She asked, “How many people can I bring?” I was like, “Mom, I don’t know the set-up; I don’t even know where it’s going to be. I’ve never even been to Coachella—I have no idea. All I know, it’s going to be 9am. I’m sure half the people who come will be up from the night before. But I do hope everyone can experience it—everyone—because it’s going to be really special and so cool.
Can we wear sunglasses to the service?