Kim Kardashian West: ‘Life Becomes A Little Bit Less About You Than It Used To Be’

As she fails her 'baby bar' exam, Grazia traces Kim Kardashian's pursuit of justice and her legal career so far...

hayu

by Grazia |

This week, it has been reported that Kim Kardashian has failed the 'baby bar' exam, the first examination she was required to pass as part of her ongoing legal career. She will retake the exam 'soon', saying she won't give up on her dreams. This is no surprise: last year, she spoke to Grazia about her passion for pursuing justice...

It is not easy getting to speak to Kim Kardashian West at the best of times. It’s harder during a global pandemic. We were originally due to meet in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest Festival premiere of her new documentary, The Justice Project, but the event was cancelled. Time in LA was mooted, before being withdrawn when travel became difficult. Then, last Monday, an offer via e-mail: 10 minutes on the phone.

A publicist connects us, two minutes ahead of schedule, and stays on the line. This is a Kardashian we’re dealing with, after all. Kim is speaking from the expansive California home she shares with her husband, Kanye West, and their four children. A few days earlier, she expressed her sadness at being away from a family that, by operating as a pack, have taken over the world. ‘We are all social distancing and staying away from each other, all separately self-quarantined,’ she wrote on Instagram. ‘It’s hard, but we have to do this for our safety and for everyone else’s.’ I ask how she and Kanye are handling so much enforced downtime at home. ‘There’s a lot of bonding time with the kids,’ she explains. ‘So I’ve snuck out to get on the treadmill, to do the phone call in the gym.’

When I thank her for taking the time, she is earnest. ‘It’s no problem,’ she says. ‘I hope you’re healthy and safe.’ She is well-mannered, but focused on the brief: the jewel in her recently undertaken mission toward US prison reform.

In 2018, Kim launched one of the most surprising side hustles in showbusiness, as her campaign for the release of Alice Johnson – a woman jailed for life for being a key intermediary in a Memphis drug ring –

took her all the way to the White House. Intrigued by the processes, Kim decided to turn her attention to other cases. The Justice Project, released on hayu next Monday, explores some of the cases she has got behind.

Alice was freed following Kim’s efforts, after 21 years in jail. Kim had the privilege of telling her she was about to leave prison, with the moment caught on camera: Kim, on one end of the phone (in lipstick and diamonds), eyes welling. Alice, in prison, screaming in delight.

‘I didn’t know I was delivering it,’ Kim says of the moment she told Alice the news. ‘I was on set at a photo shoot, and thought she had heard the news already from her attorney. But she hadn’t. To hear her cry, it just made me so happy for her. She is getting her life back: she missed the birth of all of her grandkids and the death of her parents. But she still has some life with her children.’ (Side note: if Kim is still on the treadmill, she is not out of breath.)

The project opened her eyes, expanded her horizons and changed her mind. ‘When I started with Alice, who had a low-level drug offence, I thought, “I can handle that,”’ she says. ‘But I didn’t think I could really get behind anything that was violent,’ she explains. ‘Until I started to meet with people and visit prisons. Really, my whole heart opened. I wanted to show different cases of people that have done serious, serious crimes, but to stop and take a second to understand what they’ve done, why they’ve done it, how they got there.’

She credits motherhood – North, her eldest, is six – with putting her on this surprising new path. ‘Becoming a mom has really opened up my heart, and it’s changed me,’ she says. ‘I don’t know if this journey would have happened for me before I was a mom. I will do what I can to help keep on shouting the stories of these people I’ve met.’

It’s for this reason that she is determined to finish law school, she says. ‘So I can help more people, and so I don’t always have to bring my attorneys to tell me the answer to every question. I want to be able to do it on my own.’ It puts her in the footsteps of her late father, Robert Kardashian, most famous for defending OJ Simpson at his 1995 murder trial.

‘This year, I take the bar,’ she explains. ‘Or a small version of it. The baby bar. Then I have three more years of studying, and then I take the real bar. So I’ve finished the first year of law school, and I’m in study mode.’

Kim is a divisive figure. She has been slut-shamed and pilloried, criticised for cultural appropriation, for peddling weight-loss teas and breaking bread with Donald Trump. But her harshest critics would be hard-pressed not to concede some admiration for a woman battling to help fix an undoubtedly flawed penal system. Does this make her proud?

‘Really, I’m more proud – prideful – that I get to be this example for my kids,’ she says. ‘I love that my kids ask me questions, and I tell them about the work that I’m doing. Yeah, I’ll be 42 or 43 by the time I finish law school and become a lawyer. It took me a little bit longer to figure out that path than I wanted. And I’m still running my beauty business, and Skims [her shapewear brand]. I want to show my kids that, whatever you want to do, you can do, and a big part of everyone’s life should be giving back. You know, at some point, whether it’s after I became Mom or just through my own evolution, life becomes a little bit less about you than it used to be. So I love showing them that message: that they can really be in a business to help people, and that should be a big part of their lives.’

And with that, our 10 minutes are up. Kim says thank you, you’re welcome, and goodbye, politely, with warmth. Once lockdown ceases, she’ll go back to class, freeing more prisoners along the way

and showing that keeping up with this Kardashian means something very different these days.

‘Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project’ is available to stream and download on hayu from Monday 6 April

Don’t forget, you can watch the new season of Keeping Up With Kardashians - plus every old episode - on Hayu now.

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian’s Style Evolution

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