The first ever episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered on October 14, 2007. Now, almost 10 years later, the show and the family have become a cultural phenomenon, taking the reality series to new heights with nine spin-offs and making Kardashians one of the most well-known families in America.
To honor the reality show’s upcoming 10th anniversary, the stars and producers of the series spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the ins and outs of creating a brand and era. Despite the obvious success the family has garnered over the past decade, there were definite struggles that they faced along the way.
During the interview, “Momager” Kris Jenner recalled when she sat everyone down to discuss how they would make the show. It was during this conversation when she realized that the only way to truly make the series successful was to include everyone in the family.
“I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we have to be all in. We have to really be who we are.'”
Executive producer Ryan Seacrest also agreed with Jenner’s statement, and further elaborated on the show’s portrayal of the family. He said:
“I remember Kris saying, ‘In order for this to work, yes, there’s a glitz and glamour, but there’s got to be honesty and vulnerability. We need to make a pact that the show won’t just be pretty pictures.’ There was a deliberate intent to be vulnerable and capture that from the beginning.”
Although everyone seemed to be on-board with the idea, Kris’ daughter Kourtney was the only daughter who showed resistance. Kris explained that her daughter Kourtney was “sort of skeptical” about the series due to the extremely limited amount of privacy she got as a reality star.
One moment that Kourtney talked about was her break-up with former ex, Scott Disick. The process of constantly having to reopen old wounds took a toll on Kourtney’s emotional stability.
“The hardest episode to film was my break-up with Scott. I had a lot of anxiety about it, and finally said let’s just get this over with. I sat down and started crying. You go through something, and then you move past it. Then you do your interview, and get all riled up again. And then you see the episode, and start seeing all these comments.”
Kim Kardashian also faced similar feelings, especially during her 2011 wedding to Kris Humphries. Kim was facing extreme anxiety about the entire event, and had unsure feelings of going through with the wedding.
“The night before, my mom pulled me aside, off camera, and was like, ‘This isn’t it for you. Why don’t you go away and I’ll handle it?’ I felt like, if I pulled out now, everyone’s going to think I just did it for the show. Then afterwards, people were saying, ‘You have to stay married for a year,’ but I physically couldn’t do it. When I made the decision [to divorce], everyone said it was made up for the show. Everyone really wanted to take me down.”
However, Kim is happily married to rap artist Kanye West and share two children. During her pregnancy saga, Kim wasn’t ecstatic about how the show covered it – mainly due to aesthetic reasons.
“I looked like such a cow and I can’t stand to see those episodes. I would say, ‘Try to film me more from chest up, so it looks better,’ but I look like a blob. I would have rather seen my belly and shot farther away.”
Khloé Kardashian touched on learning from past mistakes, and trying to make thing as authentic as possible for viewers. Khloé mentioned that these things are especially important while trying to create a brand.
“At first, you are bright-eyed and people want to pay you to do the craziest things. Me and my sisters have all done it, but we’ve learned from those mistakes. I think viewers could see through when things are unauthentic, even with a social media platform. People need to really be aware of their authenticity and doing thing out of passion not just to make a dollar. I will say there has been a learning curve.”
Good American "Cancer – the Brave Crab Sent to this Earth by something they believe in, only to mess with someone bigger than they are. Fighting for someone else's cause, as if others can become their higher power. The Crab knows where they're going, but this is often in a wrong direction, at least until they learn their lessons and start relying solely on themselves."
Kendall Jenner also touched on this, explaining how grateful she was to have older sisters to learn from, also adding that she sees herself as “the most private one.”
Kendall was in hot water earlier this year for her controversial Pepsi ad, and was accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement. Although she remained silent on the issue, according to Kim, she was definitely struggling behind closed doors.
“We’re not perfect, but you see these things in the media, like Kendall and [her Pepsi ad], where I see her at home crying, but in the media she looks another way because she’s not addressing it. I’m just like, ‘This is wrong. You need to speak up.’ She was like, ‘I don’t ever want to show that footage of me crying.’ She was trying to not make excuses or be dramatic, but that was what she was going through at the time.”
The youngest sister, Kylie, touched on how being in the public eye can be a huge struggle since “everyone has an opinion.” Her struggle with dealing with this issue has definitely strained her in the past few years.
“It’s not the healthiest. That part of your life should remain sacred.”
Significant moments for the family in the past decade include both Kim’s gunpoint robbery in Paris, as well as Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. Beginning with the robbery, Kim discussed how she wanted to talk about the incident on her show rather than being interviewed by the media.
“Everyone was calling for a sit-down interview and I was like why would I do an interview about something I was just traumatized from? But I felt really comfortable to tell my story on my show, because it wasn’t going to get twisted. I needed time off, but I was going to talk about it.”
In regards to Caitlyn’s transition, the family knew they needed to make the event as detailed as possible to make sure every moment was captured accurately. Khloé, who was extremely upset about the event, explained how she needed to make sure everyone’s voice was heard, even if the reactions aren’t always pretty.
If I act a certain way, I act a certain way, but I just knew in my head this needed to be a four-hour episode. This is so real, and I want to ask every question I have, but also I want honest answers.”
It doesn’t look like anything is going to stop the Kardashian’s any time soon. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians 10th anniversary special premieres September 24, and the show’s 14th season is set to premiere October 1 – both at 9 p.m. ET on E!