In this four-part series called That’s Hollywood, we’ll be examining the cultural phenomenon otherwise known as Tinsel Town.Since practically the turn of the last century, Hollywood has been the entertainment Mecca of the world, epitomizing everything that is glamorous, famous and related to the entertainment industry.A huge part of Tinsel Town’s allure is its idolization of celebrity and fame.Today, we examine the strange concept of “famous for being famous”.
The reference source, Wikipedia, defines the phrase “famous for being famous” as a pejorative pop cultural term that refers to someone who attains celeb status for no particular identifiable reason (as opposed to fame based on tangible achievements, skill and/or talent; think Paris and Nicky Hilton, Nicole Richie, the Kardashians) or someone who achieves fame through association with an actual celebrity (think Kimberly Stewart, Rod Stewart’s daughter or Kelly and Jack Osbourne, Ozzy and Sharon’s offspring or Kevin Federline, back up dancer who married Britney Spears).In most cases, there’s a formula for this pop culture term that goes like this:Controversial Lifestyle + Inherited Wealth = Famous for Being Famous.However, as most will agree – especially those who once had achieved the lofty title of being “famous” – fame is fleeting and it’s one thing to achieve any measure of fame and a helluva different ballgame to maintain it.Of course, not everyone who achieves fame wants it but for those select few who have been smart and ambitious enough to parlay that so-called fame into something significant, they will do whatever it takes to hang on to it at all costs.Just ask one of the most well-known women the world, Kim Kardashian West.Yes, that Kardashian.
Born Kimberly Noel Kardashian, she’s the second child of Robert and Kris Kardashian.The surname “Kardashian” reached public consciousness when Kim’s father, an attorney, was on the legal team defending O.J. Simpson, the disgraced football hero accused of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, back in the early nineties (who can forget the high-speed car chase televised the world over between the police and the accused after Simpson left the Kardashian family home?).At the time, Kim Kardashian was just 14 years old.
Much has happened since O.J.’s fateful car chase.Robert Kardashian died in 2003 and his wife, Kris, subsequently married Bruce Jenner, a famous Olympian, while Kim grew up in the same social circles as hotel heiress, Paris Hilton and was much photographed with Paris during the height of her friend’s fame.However, it wasn’t until a sex tape that Kim had made with her then-boyfriend, Ray J., had leaked into the press that young Kim was catapulted head-on into fame.Apparently, having a sex tape if you run in the same social circles as Kim and Paris is pretty much de rigueur and while most of us would have hidden our heads in the sand and died of mortification at such a personal thing becoming public fodder – this didn’t happen in Kim’s case.The media frenzy was soon harnessed and handled and since then, Kim Kardashian has single-mindedly become a modern-day mogul and a brand, licensing her name to fragrances and fashions.She’s made cameos in films, graced the covers of some legitimate fashion magazines, released a popular game called Kim Kardashian Hollywood (pulling in an astounding $43.4 million in revenue by the third quarter of 2014) and most recently, released an art book containing a collection of “selfies” called Selfish.As of late, good old Kim is also splashed across the Internet in various stages of undress (okay, buck naked in most cases) with her generous curves slathered in what looks suspiciously like cooking/automotive oil.All this, and she can now add wife to singer, Kanye West, and mother to a daughter, North West (who in their right mind would name their kid after a compass direction is beyond me) to her resume as well.
And while there’s some truth to the old adage that “less is more”, this certainly doesn’t seem to apply in Kim Kardashian’s case.Kim Kardashian has positioned herself everywhere in the media and by all accounts, her adoring public can’t get enough of her.Her Instagram photos are among the most viewed with a photo of her kissing her husband at their wedding garnering 1.95 million “likes” in three days while a cover of the magazine Paper, featuring a naked Kardashian (think naked butt slathered in gobs of cooking oil), was headlined “Break the Internet”.While the pics of Kim and her butt didn’t exactly break the Internet, they probably circumnavigated the World Wide Web several times over.Writer Haley Mlotek probably put it better than anyone as she tried to explain Kardashian’s appeal:“As a public figure, Kardashian West has made herself one of the only commodities on Earth with a value that increases the more available it becomes.Her worth is not about scarcity.It’s about access.”
And rightly so.With her personal net worth estimated at $65 million, Kardashian was smart enough to recognize her “fame” as a potential commodity and ambitious enough to single-handedly capitalize that fame into a tidy fortune.Atta girl, Kimye!Give the world another boob shot just because…you’re famous for being famous.