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Re­al­ity TV roy­alty and busi­ness­woman Khloé Kar­dashian on self-be­lief, body im­age and why fam­ily al­ways comes first

She may be one of the world’s most fa­mous re­al­ity-TV brood, but it’s KHLOE KAR­DASHIAN’s un­der­stand­ing of what ‘nor­mal’ women want, plus old-fashioned busi­ness sense, that have seen her denim brand hit a mul­ti­mil­lion- dol­lar bot­tom line

The Kar­dashi­ans are fam­ily by blood, but we’re friends by choice

K hloé Kar­dashian is known as the most re­lat­able mem­ber of her fa­mous fam­ily – and the re­al­ity TV star, best­selling au­thor and en­tre­pre­neur lives up to that rep­u­ta­tion in per­son. I’ve met her be­fore and when I ar­rive at her house (which used to be­long to Justin Bieber), hid­den away in an ex­clu­sive gated com­mu­nity out­side Los An­ge­les, she bounds over to greet me, all smiles and hugs. Her bright kitchen over­looks a beau­ti­fully man­i­cured lawn with kumquat trees and a swim­ming pool. Her black labrador Gab­bana is lolling in the sun­shine, and amid the lux­ury there are homely touches, such as col­lages by her nieces and neph­ews dec­o­rat­ing the fridge.

It’s 9am and Khloé has been up since 4.30, driv­ing 25 miles to a Bev­erly Hills gym to film a dawn ex­er­cise ses­sion for the up­com­ing 14th sea­son of Keep­ing Up With the Kar­dashi­ans, the phe­nom­e­nally suc­cess­ful show chron­i­cling the lives of the en­tire clan: Khloé, her el­der sis­ters Kim and Kourt­ney, her brother Rob and her half-sis­ters Kylie and Ken­dall.

‘Peo­ple prob­a­bly think we sleep all day,’ laughs Khloé, but she in­her­ited a rig­or­ous work ethic from her late fa­ther, busi­ness­man and lawyer Robert Kar­dashian (who was on O J Simp­son’s de­fence team in his mur­der trial), and her in­dus­tri­ous mother, the Kar­dashian clan’s man­ager Kris Jen­ner. Her par­ents di­vorced when she was six and Kris went on to marry Olympic ath­lete Bruce – now Cait­lyn – Jen­ner.

Khloé, once the tar­get of cruel on­line at­tacks about her weight, looks su­per sleek, flaunt­ing those fa­mous Kar­dashian curves in black Nike leg­gings. She lost 40lb af­ter split­ting up with her hus­band, the trou­bled for­mer bas­ket­ball player La­mar Odom, in 2013 (for the past year she has been dat­ing 26-year- old Cana­dian bas­ket­ball player Tris­tan Thompson) and now has 68.5 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers and her own TV show Revenge Body.

For her lat­est ven­ture, she has cre­ated a denim line with busi­ness­woman Emma Grede.

Good Amer­i­can jeans are mar­keted as a ‘revo­lu­tion’ be­cause they come in sizes from dou­ble zero to 24. When the brand launched in the US last au­tumn, it made $1 mil­lion on the first day (a record for a denim la­bel). This month Khloé and Emma are ex­pand­ing their range with a new line of Good Amer­i­can Sweats track­suits.

Here, Khloé dis­cusses ev­ery­thing from body im­age to why fam­ily al­ways comes first.

When I was younger I never wore jeans be­cause I was too em­bar­rassed.

I would go shop­ping with my sis­ters and the [sales as­sis­tants] would say, ‘Oh, we don’t stock your size here.’ It was mor­ti­fy­ing. Just be­cause you’re big­ger or curvier, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to be stylish.

Good Amer­i­can jeans are all about em­pow­er­ment.

We cut them to fit a fuller fig­ure, rather than straight up and down. We de­cided we would not sell in a depart­ment store un­less they took the col­lec­tion in all sizes. We hope to break down bar­ri­ers.

I ex­pe­ri­enced body sham­ing in high school.

My sis­ters and I went to a girls’ pri­vate school and when I started, aged 13, the teacher read out my name and said ‘Khloé Kar­dashian… Are you re­lated to Kourt­ney and Kim?’ I said, ‘Yes, they’re my sis­ters.’ She said, ‘Are you sure?’ She never said I was fat, but I knew she was re­fer­ring to my size. Words are the best weapon we have; they cut the deep­est and they last for ever.

I don’t like the term plus size.

Why point out that some­one is big­ger than some­one else? I’m a [Bri­tish] size 8 to 10 now, and at my big­gest I was a 16 to 18, but I never con­sid­ered my­self fat. I don’t mean you should be 400lb [28½st], eat­ing bags of crisps and say­ing, ‘Oh, I’m just big,’ but you could be size 24, work out and be healthy.

My sis­ters wear Good Amer­i­can jeans and my mum loves them, which makes me feel good be­cause they’re hard to please.

They’re sup­port­ive, but they wouldn’t wear them if they didn’t like them.

My fa­ther was in­cred­i­bly wealthy. We had a man­sion in Bev­erly Hills and Rolls-Royces.

My par­ents would have ex­trav­a­gant par­ties. We had ponies and Fer­ris wheels. It was a beau­ti­ful life. My dad had grown up poor; he was self-made and proud of that, as he should have been. He was a smart man. But he was also strict: we would go to feed the home­less on Skid Row, and he didn’t be­lieve in giv­ing us money. None of us had credit cards when we were teenagers, even though all our friends did.

My dad believed you have to work for ev­ery dol­lar.

So from 14 we had to get summer jobs. I worked in his of­fice as an as­sis­tant and in a cloth­ing store, but be­cause I was only 14, I wasn’t al­lowed to be on the cash reg­is­ter and I had to clean the back rooms and the toi­lets in­stead. My dad was also strict about us be­ing close as a fam­ily and in­still­ing strong val­ues. We had din­ner to­gether ev­ery night; those tra­di­tions make you who you are later in life.

I was 19 when my fa­ther died

[of oe­sophageal cancer, aged 59]. It was very stress­ful, ev­ery­one was fig­ur­ing out their grief and we were lost. I think I was in de­nial. A lot of my hair fell out – I think it was be­cause I in­ter­nalised my emo­tions. It was hard not to have him there. I was re­ally angry. It helped when I started talk­ing about it, but it took me three years just to un­der­stand and ac­cept it.

We didn’t get one dol­lar when he died.

We got no in­her­i­tance, not his home or his cars or any­thing. I was work­ing for him at the time and his com­pany got taken away so I didn’t have a job, and it was a lot to process at one time. I don’t think peo­ple re­alise that none of us had trust funds. I got evicted from my apart­ment be­cause I couldn’t pay my rent, so I moved in with Kourt­ney and we started Dash [a chain of bou­tiques] to­gether. Fi­nan­cially, that was a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for a 19-year- old – to know that when you’re get­ting a pay cheque, you can’t just spend it all!

My sis­ters bossed me around when I was younger.

I was the only em­ployee in our store

➤ for three years, so when they got asked to go some­where cool, I was the one stuck be­hind. When we were younger we were jeal­ous of one an­other, but not in a ma­li­cious way.

There is no ri­valry be­tween us now.

We all have our own iden­ti­ties. Ken­dall and I were ex­er­cis­ing this morn­ing, and I asked, ‘When was the last time you worked out?’ And she said, ‘A few weeks ago.’ And I’m, like, ‘Ugh, it’s not fair!’ be­cause she is a su­per­model with a per­fect body! But [the ban­ter] is play­ful and we come from a place of two heads are bet­ter than one, and three are bet­ter than two. Why would I not want to share my suc­cess with my fam­ily?

My mum was 22 when she mar­ried my dad, who was 12 years older than her.

She didn’t have to work and she was with us all the time, but she learned so much from my dad. When she di­vorced him and mar­ried Bruce [now Cait­lyn] Jen­ner, she re­vi­talised Bruce’s ca­reer. My mum is so con­fi­dent and pow­er­ful.

We’re suc­cess­ful as a fam­ily be­cause my mother has al­ways believed in us.

She would sit in meet­ings in front of the high­est ex­ec­u­tives and say, ‘My chil­dren can do X, Y and Z.’ Peo­ple ask, ‘Is it hard hav­ing your mother as a man­ager?’ And I say, ‘Of course it is.’ We are con­stantly to­gether and some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to dif­fer­en­ti­ate a busi­ness deal from a fam­ily thing. But no other man­ager would be­lieve in us like our mother does.

My boyfriend is very pro­tec­tive of me. Feel­ing loved and val­i­dated and se­cure is a huge thing.

Tris­tan is pro­tec­tive of my en­tire fam­ily, which is beau­ti­ful. And I love that ev­ery­thing we do is as a union. When he speaks, it’s ‘us’ and ‘we,’ and that’s im­por­tant be­cause it shows that you’re shar­ing life. The best thing is that we’re able to com­mu­ni­cate about any­thing, and I think a lot of re­la­tion­ships don’t flour­ish be­cause peo­ple are afraid to voice their opin­ion, not want­ing to rock the boat.

I love to cook, and Tris­tan loves ev­ery­thing I make.

But I don’t think men re­alise how long things take. I make dishes from scratch, and he’ll be, like, ‘Can you make me an ap­ple pie?’ I say, ‘Do you know how long it takes?’ He loves Cinnabons [cin­na­mon rolls], so I learned how to make them by watch­ing a YouTube video. I ended up teach­ing my mum to make them, too.

It’s good to find some­one who has the same be­lief sys­tem and morals as you be­cause it makes things easy.

Tris­tan and I are both Chris­tians; we go to church, we pray, we’re vo­cal about God and spir­i­tu­al­ity. A lot of my girl­friends get preg­nant with­out talk­ing about things such as re­li­gion with

their significant oth­ers and then find they have dif­fer­ent be­lief sys­tems to them.

I def­i­nitely want a fam­ily, but I don’t feel any pressure.

Tris­tan is a great dad [he has an eight-month- old son with his previous part­ner] and he def­i­nitely wants more chil­dren, but we both feel that it will happen when the time is right. We’re still in a new re­la­tion­ship and I love us hav­ing time to­gether. Once you have kids you can’t get back your non-kid years. My sis­ters and I bother my mum all the time, so I know it’s not, like, ‘When they’re 18, you don’t worry about them again.’ You worry about your chil­dren for the rest of your life. The con­cern I have is rais­ing lit­tle hu­man be­ings in a world that’s filled with such hate and ter­ror. That seems very scary.

I’m in the best re­la­tion­ship I’ve ever been in and it doesn’t take a ring for me to feel that way.

I be­lieve in mar­riage and I want to be mar­ried again one day but I don’t have a time frame. Why do peo­ple think that mar­riage equates to hap­pi­ness? There are a lot of peo­ple in un­healthy mar­riages.

My house is the fun house for my nieces and neph­ews.

We do arts and crafts and bake a lot. We like to play out­side and in the pool, just be­ing goofy. I have wa­ter bal­loons and we have wa­ter fights. I’m like a big kid my­self. At night when I babysit them we have dance par­ties. I love to give their mums the evening off.

The worst thing that hap­pened to us in the past year was Kim’s rob­bery

[in a gun­point hold-up at her pri­vate ho­tel in Paris last Oc­to­ber, Kim was robbed of jew­ellery]. But I’m also grate­ful that she wasn’t phys­i­cally hurt. I’m a firm be­liever that ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son and it was al­most like God’s way of say­ing, ‘We need to teach you guys to be more aware of se­cu­rity’ and also, ‘ This can all be gone in an instant so al­ways tell one an­other you love them – no mat­ter what.’ The rob­bery was a huge wake-up call for our en­tire fam­ily. I re­ally hate it when peo­ple say, ‘Oh, it was Kim’s fault. She was too flashy.’ I could show you hun­dreds of peo­ple on In­sta­gram who show off wads of cash and di­a­monds.

The best thing that has hap­pened this year was meet­ing my niece Dream,

my brother Rob’s baby [with Blac Chyna]. She looks ex­actly like him. I melt when I see him with her be­cause he’s a phe­nom­e­nal fa­ther, just like my dad was.

I think the show has kept our fam­ily close.

When peo­ple get older, most go their sep­a­rate ways, they’re busy with their own fam­i­lies. I see my fam­ily al­most ev­ery day. Will I be sad when the show ends? Yes, be­cause it will be the end of an era – not be­cause I won’t be on TV. I have so many other busi­nesses that I would love to in­dulge in that I don’t have enough time for now. But it will be bit­ter­sweet. I’m be­yond grate­ful for ev­ery­thing the show has given me, but mostly for the bond with my fam­ily.

I have a fas­ci­na­tion with the Kennedy fam­ily.

I’m in­trigued by their dy­namic and their unity. Even af­ter John F Kennedy was as­sas­si­nated, I love how Jackie was still so con­nected to her in-laws. What I re­spect is their love and loy­alty to one an­other – it’s some­thing I re­late to. It re­minds me of the bond we have in our fam­ily. Also, they re­ceived a lot of un­fair me­dia re­ports, but they have al­ways held their heads high.

When you have money, it’s easy to buy things for peo­ple, but that doesn’t mean you’re there for them.

I’ve helped peo­ple pay off their mort­gages, paid for their chil­dren’s schools, their med­i­cal bills… But as corny as it sounds, the nicest thing you can give is your time, like be­ing with friends who are go­ing through di­vorce, lis­ten­ing to them. I’ve sat in hos­pi­tal rooms with peo­ple for end­less hours. I be­lieve the kind­est thing I can give is my em­pa­thy and my love.

I wouldn’t change my fam­ily for any­thing.

Peo­ple might look at us and be, like, ‘Oh God. There are so many of them and there’s al­ways drama!’ But there’s drama within any fam­ily. I know peo­ple who only have one brother and they don’t talk to each other. I’m so blessed. I talk to my broth­ers and sis­ters ev­ery sin­gle day. We are fam­ily by blood, but we’re friends by choice. It’s not a re­quire­ment. My fam­ily is the best. n Good Amer­i­can Sweats is avail­able world­wide now from goodamer­i­

From top: the Kar­dashian chil­dren (from left) Rob, Kourt­ney, Khloé and Kim with their par­ents Kris and Robert in 1987; Khloé with her boyfriend Tris­tan Thompson (left), Kim and brother-in-law Kanye West; the klan (from left) Kris, Khloé, Ken­dall,...

Elaine Lip­worth IN­TER­VIEW Erik Torstens­son PHOTOGRAPHS

Khloé as a child with her fa­ther Robert

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