The pop culture phenomenon that is The Kardashians — sassy-sexy socialite sisters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and their entire brash and bawdy Hollywood clan — continues to grow. Last week, the season premiere of their E! reality series Keeping Up With The Kardashians set ratings records for the network, attracting 4.7 million viewers. In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands beginning today, we go behind the scenes of Kardashian chaos (or Kardashian Khaos, to use the name of their new Las Vegas superstore launching this fall) and get the scoop from the ladies themselves — plus mom and manager Kris Jenner and her Olympic legend husband Bruce Jenner — about how they’re leveraging their fame to build a fashion and retail empire. Currently, Kim and her sisters are attached to diet products, fitness videos, fragrances and skin creams. Coming soon: a line of clothes, a line of watches, a Kardashian debit card, and the proverbial more more more.
The editors at EW, in their considerable wisdom, asked yours truly — the Lost theory guy — to write the story. I knew little to nothing about the sisters. I knew Kim had dated NFL star Reggie Bush and was involved in some kinda sex tape thing. I had also heard talk of a certain shapely body part. I knew Khloe was married to NBA star Lamar Odom (yes, I’m a sci-fi and sports geek) and that Kourtney was… dating a jerk? I didn’t know much, but in my interviews with them — including a lunch chat with Kim during a photo shoot for one of the many companies she owns or endorses, ShoeDazzle — I was impressed by their business savvy and their self-deprecating self-awareness. Fun Fact About Kim! Even though she’s the Playboy pin-up in the family, she and her sisters say she’s actually pretty buttoned-up about sex. She can’t even joke about it. “I’m the most reserved one when it comes to that,” she says. “At first, people probably assumed that I was the wild one, and my sisters were the boring ones. So not true.” Adds Khloe: “Kim is like a little angel. She’s very calm, cool, collected, sophisticated and sweet. No one ever thinks that when looking at her. She looks like this vixen and this bombshell and her image is a little more sexual, but she will never talk about sex. No, no, no, never. So we like to screw with Kim because she hates it.”
Kim and her sisters are also pretty serious when it comes to business, too. They say they got their dollars-and-cents sense from their mother, Kris, and father, the late Robert Kardashian, best known for being one OJ Simpson’s defense lawyers. “We grew up in a life of privilege in Beverly Hills, but my parents’ mentality was like, ‘Okay, at 18, you’re going to get cut off. If you want to maintain this lifestyle, you’ll have to work at it,’” says Kim. ”I always felt like I was lazy if I wasn’t working.” In high school and college, the fashion-forward Kim made money by selling trendy clothes on Ebay at a considerable mark-up. Kim asked her father for $5600 to buy eight pairs of Manolo Blahnik boots—not for her closet, but so she could sell them on Ebay. He drew up a contract for her that required that she repay the loan, plus interest, within two weeks. “I sold each pair for $2500—more than triple what they were worth,” she says proudly. “I paid him back, plus his interest.”
Naturally, we took some pictures of the girls for our story, and the photos bring together the themes of their pop culture ascendancy: sex, fashion and business. In between camera snaps, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney took a few minutes to talk about the new season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (which airs on Sunday nights on E!) and their wild only-in-Hollywood made-for-reality TV lives. Enjoy!