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Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Defense of Kim Kardashian West

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Judge LaDoris Cordell interviews Kim Kardashian West at The Castro Theatre on June 30. - PHOTO BY SONYA ABRAMS
  • Photo by Sonya Abrams
  • Judge LaDoris Cordell interviews Kim Kardashian West at The Castro Theatre on June 30.

When InForum members first learned that the Commonwealth Club's Innovation Lab would host Kim Kardashian West Live! this month, they booed, hissed and headed to the organization’s Facebook page to protest.

True, on the surface, the reality star seems to share little with the career women who've graced the speaker series' stage before her: stuffy corporate leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, and Marissa Mayer. But Kardashian West is a successful businesswoman in her own right, heading her own formidable empire, which earned a respectable $28 million in 2014, according to Forbes

Judge LaDoris Cordell, the outgoing San Jose Independent Police Auditor, tasked with interviewing Kardashian West at the Castro Theatre on June 30, made a point of highlighting the reality star's many achievements outside the 10-season show (and its three spinoffs). She also boasts 94 million social media followers, two clothing lines, a beauty line, seven fragrances, four Dash stores, a number-one app, "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," and two books. The second, a 445-page book of selfies, entitled Kim Kardashian Selfish, was released last month.

"If there was an example of a young, successful woman, you are it," Cordell praised the reality star-turned-entrepreneur. "You make it realistic for young women today to believe that they too can be successful in a man's world."

The star attributed her immense successes to hard work and said that other women can achieve the same with effort.

"I absolutely think it's possible," she said. "I encourage people to find your passion and really be determined and have drive. I encourage people to put in the work."

But no matter how hard Kardashian West works, she knows that most people have a hard time seeing beyond her sexpot image.  

"I think that people see this persona of us on the show...so people see that and think it's the only side to me," she said. "It's harder when people want to put you in a certain box, like because I post so many selfies, I can't be good at some other business venture. But I do not pay too much attention to it. I am always focused and do what makes me happy and what I need to get done. I really don't care as much as I used to."

click to enlarge Kim Kardashian West has learned to fly above all the haters. - PHOTO BY SONYA ABRAMS
  • Photo by Sonya Abrams
  • Kim Kardashian West has learned to fly above all the haters.

But can you be seen as a power suit when you’re constantly posting selfies in bikinis?

“Absolutely," she declared. "I've taken them, I like them, and I'm proud of them. I think there's power in that, and I have the control to put out what I want. I feel proud of that."

While the selfie queen wouldn't call herself a feminist, she welcomes others seeing her that way.

"I really don't like to put labels on things, so I'm not really one to say, 'I'm a feminist, and this is what I believe in, so you have to believe in this,' like a 'free the nipple' kind of person. But I love supporting women in business and in life, so I guess you could call me one."

While Kardashian West's charitable work receives far less press than her latest selfies, that doesn't mean that she doesn't also work to improve the lives of people worldwide. After her sister Kylie recovered from a serious childhood illness, Kardashian West felt compelled to give back to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. She’s since worked with the Dream Foundation, a Make-A-Wish-style organization for adults, flew to post-earthquake Haiti three times to lend a helping hand, and executive-produced #RedFlag, a mental health documentary about cyber-bullying over social media — a topic that she knows a lot about.

“You have to stay focused," she advised. "You'll always face challenges, no matter what field you're in. But you just have to be calm, fight through them, stand up for what you believe in, have a goal and let nothing stop you from reaching that goal."

She flies above all the haters, as she made clear when asked about all the backlash around her InForum appearance.
"I really don't know, and I really don't care," she said.

This time, the crowd erupted in cheers. 


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Joshua Rotter

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