Kim Kardashian in Vogue

Jack Wardlaw

“In the end I do respond to my own instincts. Sometimes they’re successful, and obviously sometimes they’re not. But you have to, I think, remain true to what you believe in.” – Anna Wintour

Call them what you will, both publishable and not, but no one can deny that Kim Kardashian has done well for herself. She is currently estimated to be worth around $40 million, and standing at 5”8 without heels, that works out to around $253,164.56 per centimetre. Clearly she knows what she’s doing, even if the shelves of trashy gossip magazines would have you think differently.

After a fairly good year in which she bagged Kanye (rumoured to be worth upwards of $120 million) and gave birth to an admittedly adorable baby girl, despite the ridiculous name, she has now topped it off with appearing on the cover of Vogue, the most famous fashion magazine in the world.

Anna Wintour is frequently quoted as saying that “to be on the cover of Vogue has to mean something” and indeed, she is right. It does mean something, but in this case, that meaning is not necessarily positive. Upon the debut of the April cover, fashionistas took to social media in their millions to express a potent mixture of surprise, bemusement and downright disgust at the Nuclear Wintour’s choice.

People seemed to be up in arms because apparently Kim didn’t deserve to be there on her own merit. General speculation was that Kanye ‘bought’ the cover for her. Now, I’m not exactly Kim’s biggest fan. I’ll happily admit that I didn’t actually know what she did, or does, until actually researching this article. I must have been the only thirteen year old boy at the time who had no interest in watching a random woman have sex with a guy I’d never heard of, and I have yet to indulge in an evening’s mind-destroying tedium that is the process of watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians (I promise, I did try).

Despite this, however, I respect Kim, and Anna Wintour’s decision to put her on the cover was a bold and, actually, a brilliantly shrewd business move showing just how in tune with the pop-culture sphere she is. What was the last cover that generated this much publicity? Can anyone who isn’t a die hard Vogue devotee name a cover that has received so much attention in recent history?

At the end of the day, Vogue is a business and it needs to make money. If it doesn’t shake things up now and again, if it doesn’t cause controversy and ruffle a few feathers, what’s the point in it? But really, what’s the controversy? Vogue has always been about pushing boundaries right back to the 1960s when David Bailey, just starting out, insisted on using a brand new model, Jean Shrimpton with a completely different look from the models that had gone before. Today, Wintour is continuing that legacy.

Lots of people seem to have an issue with the fact that compared to other celebrity covers, Kim possess “no talent”. Admittedly, when past cover stars have included Emma Watson, Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, it is easy to see where these people are coming from. Kim is not a successful actress, she is not a singer and she is not a professional model. “What has she actually done? She’s famous for doing nothing – for having a T.V. show and a sex tape”. Actually, she does do stuff. After the commercial success of her T.V. show, she went on to design shoe lines, endorse a multitude of products, appear in films, engage in charity work and more recently, design a clothes range with her sisters for Bebe.

She’s kept busy, but clearly, these types of work haven’t exactly put her on the map in a professional capacity, seeing as most people love to point out that “she hasn’t actually got any talent, so why is she being put on the cover of Vogue?”. Clearly, to be on the cover of Vogue, it seems one must be famous for a specific talent, instead of being famous while doing smaller projects, the latter of which Kim falls into. I would argue that it is unfair to criticise her based on this. Does this mean she deserves a torrent of ignorant abuse?

As I said before, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of her myself, but I’d never go so far as to insult and dismiss her efforts to have a career just because of who she is. I respect anyone who tries to make a living in this world, and applaud her for her commitment to her work – she hasn’t amassed $40 million by sitting on the sofa all day (despite what her show would lead you to believe.) If we actually look at what makes a Vogue cover, we see a regular pattern emerge. The cover for the last several decades has always featured a beautiful woman in fabulous clothes – Kim is both beautiful and wearing a fabulous dress. If anything, isn’t it a good thing that Vogue is featuring a healthy curvaceous woman, beautifully presented, to its audience?

People frequently berate magazines for using unrealistically thin models for their features, so isn’t the use of Kim a breath of fresh air? Call me crazy, but having a beautiful, successful, independent mother on the cover of Vogue is something to be applauded instead of berated. It is not her fault that there is a huge market of people who want to know everything about her – that’s how celebrity status works – but she has cashed in on this interest to the best of her ability. Yes, she may be getting married to one of the most annoying people on the planet, and that’s unfortunate, but putting her on the cover of Vogue doesn’t warrant the abuse she’s received. Let her be.

About Jack Wardlaw

The first things you should know about me are the basics: I am 19, an English Literature student at Exeter University and love everything about fashion. Somehow I get to model as well, so I get a backstage view of the industry.