The mother, and manager, of reality TV’s most famous clan has created a strange new form of family business — and changed the nature of celebrity.
Kris Jenner slowly descended one side of the curving double staircase in her home in Hidden Hills, Calif., like some sort of grande dame, like Elizabeth Taylor in a White Diamonds commercial, only dressed head to toe in black: Balmain blazer, Rag & Bone jeans and Chanel ankle boots. When she reached the foyer, she greeted the former ’N Sync member Lance Bass, kissing him on both cheeks, and then said hello to Tom, who was . . . Bass’s assistant? His producer? Everyone there was an assistant and everyone was a producer. Whatever Tom’s official job title was, his actual name was Bob, and he corrected Kris, who smiled and explained that they really were the same name. A production assistant in surgical shoe coverings handed out microphones, and people wired themselves up through the bottoms of their shirts while Kris invited them into the kitchen for coffeecake.
Bass, in a tight blue sweater that matched his eyes and blond highlights that matched Bob’s, had just returned from New York, where he was promoting an E! special featuring his wedding, which took place in December but was shown Feb. 5. Kris asked how the numbers were. Bass said he didn’t know yet. Kris cocked her head about 19 degrees, pursed her lips and told him confidentially (or in a confidential manner, because no one with two cameras on her could possibly have the illusion of secrecy), “They typically know the numbers in the morning the next day.” It was already a few days later.
But Bass was too exhausted to think about numbers. In New York, he and his husband, Michael Turchin, had made the talk-show rounds and done radio appearances to get people to watch the special. “It literally killed me,” Bass said, as he took an obliging bite of the cake.
Kris attended the wedding. “It was my first gay wedding,” she told Bass. He replied, “It was only my second.”
“It was fabulous,” she said. To Kris, everything is fabulous or amazing or incredible or cute or epic or a nightmare; everything she is even remotely interested in is something she is obsessed with.
Her face was the color of a Malibu sunset, her teeth as white and opaque as Michelangelo’s “David.” Her makeup was a masterpiece: even, perfectly blended foundation; precision-defined eyeliner; expertly contoured cheekbones; a heavy fringe of auxiliary eyelashes. Her hands were closer to the color of her teeth than that of her face, a stark contrast when she leaned her chin on them. She has her makeup and hair professionally done every day that “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is shooting. An assistant told me that she gets it done quickly because she’s so busy: It takes only an hour.