June 9, 2021
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Kim Kardashian is one of the most popular celebrities in the world. The reporters follow every step of her personal and professional life to satisfy the insatiable public appetite for gaining more and more information on the views, opinions, hobbies, acquaintances, friends, and family of this person. This research paper focuses on Kim Kardashians media, social, entrepreneurial, and political achievements. We analyze her biography giving a particular attention to her Armenian roots and to the contribution to the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. We examine Kardashians charitable activity highlighting the examples from her life.
Kimberly Kardashian West is a well-known media personality, actress, model, and entrepreneur. She is famous for her active involvement in social media. In fact, she is a perfect example of the American dream. She has become the national and international star that originated from the family where every member worked hard in order to achieve recognition and success. The contribution of Kardashian to the wide variety of spheres is significant not only in the United States but also in Armenia and worldwide. She could be regarded as a role model for those who strive to be successful in the modern world.
Family Life and Early Years
Kim Kardashian (full name Kim Noel Kardashian West) was born in the family of Armenian origin in 1980 in Los Angeles. Her father Robert Kardashian was a well-known businessman and attorney. Her mother Kristen Mary Jenner is a public person. The more detailed family tree of the Kardashian family is presented below in figure 1. She went to Marymount High School, a Roman Catholic school for girls in Los Angeles (Rockefeller). During her childhood, Kim together with her sisters Khloe and Kortney visited her Armenian grandparents every weekend. That family tradition introduced Kim to the Armenian culture. The grandparents extolled its virtues fostering respect for grandchildrens origin. They cooked the meals from Armenian cuisine and celebrated different Armenian holidays together (Mattern 20). Moreover, the children were encouraged to speak their minds. They had to express their opinion and to develop convincing arguments. It contributed greatly to the girls growth into the successful and confident women. The Kardashian family resembled a close-knit Armenian community where every member maintained traditions and customs of ancestors to preserve unique atmosphere (Mattern 20).
Fig 1. The Family Tree of Kim Kardashian
Professional Life, Charitable Activities, and Views on Life
Initially, she was known as a personal stylist of media personality, model, and actress Paris Hilton. She gained a massive popularity thanks to her reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The show documents in details the personal and professional life of the Kardashian-Jenner family. Kims mother Kristen Jenner, stepfather Bruce Jenner, as well as her siblings, have become the part of the show. Despite controversial reviews, Keeping Up with the Kardashians has become a real success. It has achieved the highest quality rating compared to other reality shows of that time. With such a huge popularity, the show continues to attract the audience with new episodes.
Kim Kardashian has been participating in other projects which have anchored her strong presence in the media. For example, in 2007 Kim appeared on the cover of Playboy. In 2008 she became the new face of the Bongo Jeans Company (The Famous People n.p.). Kim also made her name after starring in different films (Disaster Movie (2008), Deep in the Valley (2009), Temptation (2013)), television series and shows (American Dad (2014), Dancing with the Stars (2011), Brothers (2009), How I Met Your Mom (2009), WrestleMania XXIV, Americas Next Top Model (2009) and many others), and music videos for Fall Out Boy (2007), Kanye West (2013 and 2016), and Fergie (2016). In all these roles, Kim Kardashian managed to show herself only from the most positive sides as a talented actress and model (The Famous People n.p.).
Not only is Kim Kardashian is known for her achievements in media and cinema, but she is also famous for being a successful entrepreneur. In particular, she launched different perfumes lines. For example, she produces special perfumes for women: Kim Kardashian in 2009, Gold in 2011, Kim Kardashian Love in 2011, True Reflection in 2012, Glam in 2012, Pure Honey in 2013, Fleur Fatale in 2014. In addition, she established an online shoe company called Shoe Dazzle and founded DASH and Pretty Little Things boutiques together with her sisters. Judging from her experience, we could understand the meaning of her interview to Cosmopolitan when she commented on her skills of the entrepreneur in the following way: I am an entrepreneur and ambitious is my middle name (Young Money). These words describe her vision of the professional life in the best way. In other words, Kim and her family have multiple businesses. Moreover, the family members often endorse various products and services, including the weight loss pills and the Va-Va-Vanilla cupcake mix flavor of the Famous Cupcakes bakery (The Famous People ). Continuing the topic of Kim Kardashians success as an entrepreneur, it is important to state that the book Kardashian Konfidential, which was published in 2010 by Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khlo? Kardashian, was a huge success as nearly 13,000 copies were sold during the first week after publishing. The book had been topping the reading lists for several months (Robehmed). Three sisters share their childhood memories, beauty tips, and success stories in the book. The estimated earnings of the Kardashian-Jenners family from endorsements between June 2015 and June 2016 are presented in the figures two and three below.
Fig 2. Estimated Earnings of the Kardashian Family from Endorsements Robehmed, Natalie. Inside The Business of Kardashian-Jenner Instagram Endorsements. Forbes Magazine, 16 Nov.
Fig 3. Estimated Earnings of the Kardashian Family from Endorsements Robehmed, Natalie. Inside The Business of Kardashian-Jenner Instagram Endorsements. Forbes Magazine, 16 Nov. 2016
The above-mentioned statistical data clearly demonstrates that currently, the Kardashian-Jenners family is one of the richest and most successful in the world. The data also demonstrates why Kim Kardashian was included in the Celebrity 100 list by Forbes (occupying the 80th place and having the $28 million annual income) (Rockefeller).
It is important to mention that Kim pays attention not only to business but also to charitable activities in numerous domains. For instance, she is the ambassador of the Dream Foundation, an organization that makes the last wishes of terminally ill people come true. She also sales different goods and products on eBay regularly to generate funds for the charity. Throughout different campaigns, she also contributed to the Breast Cancer Awareness Programs and to the eradication of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through the promotion of the Until There is a Cure bracelets. In 2009, Kim Kardashian helped to raise money for the Etchmiadzin Childrens Fund. Thanks to the effective cooperation, they collected nearly $90,000 (Kalandjuan n.p.). The main goal of the project was to build an orphanage for the Armenian children in need. Kim Kardashian commented on her charity actions in the following manner: Anything we can do to lend our support to our heritage we gladly do (Kalandjian).
Even though she has achieved so much in her professional career, she does not consider herself to be a feminist (Watson). However, it does not mean that she does not advocate for the equal opportunities, especially in terms of education and employment, for all people, regardless of their gender. Moreover, she claims that she does not like to label people: I feel that being grouped or labeled can create separation between people who do (or don’t) fall into certain categories, when they may actually share many of the same beliefs and goals (Watson).
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Strong Relations between the Kardashian family and Armenia
Talking about the correlation between the Kardashian family and Armenia, it is important to mention that Kardashian is a typical Armenian surname. There are two known meanings of this surname. The first one in the Armenian language means stone cutter (Kar is stone and dashogh means carver). Another meaning comes from the Turkish kardesh, and it can be translated as brother. Moreover, the surname Kardashian has a typical Armenian ending ian that can be translated as the son of or belonging to that family. Numerous interviews demonstrate that Kim Kardashian is really proud of her surname and its rich ethnic background.
She states that her great-grandparents (Tatos Tomas Kardashian and Hanna Shakarian) came to the United States in 1914, just before the beginning of the genocide. During that troubled times, Armenian people were afraid of holding own surnames. In fact, the majority of them took away the ending ian as they thought that they could be killed for it. However, the family of Kardashians saved their surname because they wanted to preserve their traditions. However, while being proud of her ancestors courage, Kim Kardashian recognizes that many families were not as lucky as their family. Consequently, it is their duty not to let their names and stories should be forgotten. The main idea on how to remember the genocide that took place in the Ottoman Republic during 1914-1923 is to make sure that it will not happen again. The celebrity claims that her father, grandparents, and great grandparents wanted to return to Armenia, but none of them was able to do that. Thus, she was really happy to visit Armenia in 2015 with her husband, daughter, and sister and to fulfill a dream of her relatives. Being conscious of the power she has as a star, Kim visited Armenia not only as a tourist but also as a person with Armenian roots as she came to the country to commemorate the horrible events that took place in 1915. During her visit (2015), it was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Kims visit to Armenia in 2015 turned the spotlight to that event. It received a really powerful PR campaign from the global media. It is believed that in order to make a similar informational campaign about the Armenian Genocide, the government of Armenia would have needed to contribute millions of dollars.
The trip of the Kardashian family to the Republic of Armenia helped significantly to awaken the attention of the global community to the problem of the Armenian Holocaust by sharing with people the important historical information and demonstrating the need for the establishment of justice for the crime committed against millions of people all over the world. The representative of the Armenian National Committee of America Elizabeth Chouldjian commented on the visit of the Kardashian family: The Kardashians have helped strike a powerful blow at Turkey’s campaign of genocide denial. At the same time, the Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan responded to the visit of the Kardashian family in the following way: Their visit to their historical homeland helped bring international recognition to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and remembering the lives lost (Gander). Moreover, a huge number of people, especially her followers in the social media, saw a vast array of photos from Armenia. Thus, those who had never even heard of such state received a chance to learn about it and to see its beauty. In addition, the videos that she made in Yerevan are highly valuable in describing the cultural and the historical heritage of the country. The manner in which Kim Kardashian filmed her stories also demonstrated the considerable respect for the country and the people that live there. By her personal example, she encouraged everyone to value the dignity of Armenian heritage.
Being raised in the atmosphere of increased awareness of her heritage, Kim Kardashian does not miss a chance to remind her audience about Armenian Genocide and the role of the Ottoman Empire in it. For example, in one of the interviews, she stated that it’s time for Turkey to recognize it …To not do so is an act of disrespect. In her essay written in Time, she stressed again the responsibility of Turkey: A million-and-a-half people were brutally massacred, and a country can just pretend like it never happened? I dont think thats right (Kardashian West). In addition, Kardashian wrote an essay for Time in order to describe her family background and her connection to Armenia. She proved that a person always remembers his/her roots. Moreover, Kim encouraged people to pay more attention to the unheralded event of Armenian Genocide. Actually, the fact that she decided to write an essay and to share her family history is very positive as it shows the importance of the topic for the successful Armenian Americans. Kim Kardashian conveyed the message about the importance of roots. She mentioned a will to follow in her fathers footsteps and to foster a pride in her children: I’m half Armenian, but I grew up with such a strong sense of my Armenian identity, and I want my daughter to have the same (Kardashian West). In the essay, she also provided information about her father. In particular, she stated that he had really liked to talk about the Armenian heritage of the family. Moreover, they not only talked but also cherished Armenian traditions and customs: Wed eat Armenian food, we would listen to storiesmy dad was really outspoken about our history.
Moreover, Kim also urged the Former President of the United States Barack Obama to describe the mass killings that took place in that territory with the word genocide. However, Barack Obama ignored the message. Donald J. Trump also declined to acknowledge the genocide, even though he described those events as a dark chapter in history full of horrible atrocities. That behavior can be explained by the fact that the United States seeks for the Turkish support in the war in Syria. Thus, the government prefers not to start the conflict. However, Kim Kardashian compared the refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide with the refusal to acknowledge the events of 9/11 and other issues related to conspiracy theories.
Kim Kardashian also made another important action to promote the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide performed by the Ottoman Empire during 1914-1923. In fact, to share the information about the genocide against Armenian citizens and to respond to the provocative publication made by Turkic Platform in Wall Street Journal, Kim Kardashian bought a full-page advertisement in The New York Times in order to spread an important message about the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, she inspired the readers to question the credibility of Wall Street Journal blaming the magazine for making shameful money on the theme of genocide. She emotionally stated: My family and I are no strangers to BS in the press. We’ve learned to brush it off. Lies make good headlines, good headlines make great covers, great covers sell magazines. But when I heard about this full-page ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal denying the Armenian genocide, I couldn’t just brush it off (Kardashian West). Kardashian attentively monitors the media trying to react quickly to wrong or misinterpreted information. In 2015, the authors of Cosmopolitan in Turkey included her image in the front page of the April issue. It insulted Kim Kardashian. She wrote on her blog that it was very painful to see her photo and story on their cover THIS month, considering Genocide Remembrance Day (Daily Mail n.p.). Undoubtedly, Kardashians efforts aim to encourage all the countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to force Turkey to apologize for their actions.
The power of Kardashians contribution towards acknowledgment of the genocide is visible through the reaction of the international community. For example, the ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States Elin Suleymanov attacked the star after her tweet in which she asked to pray for Armenia and for peace (Tomlinson). The man blamed Kardashian for interfering in the political matters as she is not a political analyst, especially in such complicated notions as war and peace: She’s very famous and beloved by her fans, but matters of war and peace are a little too serious for a reality TV star (Tomilson). However, his response encouraged the global community to deplore the violence in the name of peace.
She continues to introduce people to Armenia, its history, and traditions both on the Internet and in real life. Kim Kardashian West also devoted several posts on her website to the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Taking into account the number of people who follow her, it is a wise step to pass her message (The Armenian Genocide, 2017). Besides, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West baptized their child North West in the 12th century Saint James Cathedral decorated with white and blue tiles created in the 18th century by Armenian artists (Gander). That action was very symbolic as it shows the importance for the star to follow, to maintain, and to respect the traditions of her Armenian ancestors.
The television star also widely promotes Armenian culture. In numerous interviews, she states that she enjoys Armenian food: Armenian food is my absolute favorite food on the planet (Kalandjian). Kardashian also stated that she often visits Armenian restaurant Carousel in Hollywood. Consequently, she endorses food, culture, and places related to Armenia. Moreover, she decided to celebrate her 37th birthday in that restaurant. She also helps Armenian people to develop. For example, when she bought the shoes by an Armenian designer, she talked about them for free in her Snapchat (Carballo). Undoubtedly, her followers became more aware of Armenia fashion due to that post.
Another important fact that demonstrates that Armenia is important to Kim Kardashian is the fact that she promoted the film about Armenian genocide The Promise (2016), starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale. She came to the premiere of the film, despite the flu, and invited her family and friends (Cher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sylvester Stallone, and others). The plotline of the film was mentioned in several episodes of Keeping Up With Kardashians. Kim tweeted about it four times. It is a good advertisement as 51.1 million people are following Kim Kardashian on Twitter (Kaufman). In other words, Kim Kardashian is the main marketing asset and A-list celebrity to support the film. In the attempt to support the film, she mentioned: The Armenian community just really wants to be heard. I think its so important that people just acknowledge that something happened… (Kaufman). All these facts demonstrate that Kim Kardashian not only acknowledges her Armenian heritage but also contributes significantly to the popularization of Armenia globally and to dealing with the countrys important historical problems.
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It is important to state that even though Kim Kardashian is American, she does not forget about her Armenian roots and contributes significantly to the development of the country and its culture. She also awakens the global community to the Armenian genocide. The star supports her position with concrete, effective, and meaningful actions that bring real change. Moreover, Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous supporters of the Armenian history in the world. Her success story as a model, mother, professional media person, entrepreneur, and social activist should serve as an inspiring example for the development of people from different backgrounds.