“Unfollow and unsubscribe!” “I’m disgusted!” “Your credibility just went to shit!” “Downfall of humanity!”
Suddenly we understood for ourselves why the word “polarizing” is so often used to describe her life.
But that’s actually exactly what Kardashian West and interviewer Kara Swisher discussed onstage at Code/Mobile. Swisher asked, “Why do people not take you seriously?” Kardashian West explained how and why she takes the heat about oversharing, because her business is this glamorized version of what everyone does every day. It was a window into the melded real and virtual worlds of reality entertainment’s biggest star.
In fact, she said, a big breakthrough moment for the hit mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood came when the game’s storyline started to mimic her life in real time, taking the character on a trip to Mexico and clothing her in the very bikini Kardashian West was wearing — even before the paparazzi had discovered that her secret vacation getaway that week was, in fact, Mexico. The real-world version of it.
Why does the reality-entertainment star translate so well on social media? Because she shares her life through her phone (mostly her iPhone; she said her beloved, outdated BlackBerry Bold is for typing emails and texts) as it happens, in the moment.
Behind the scenes, Kardashian West is making her own rules of the game — for instance, she told Swisher that she doesn’t share more than three shots of herself from a single location, for fear of boring the audience. She goes back and forth with gamemaker Glu Mobile to tweak virtual clothing choices and her own avatar in the game. And then, on the Code/Mobile stage in an all-white outfit with her strong features and glowing skin, Kardashian West in real life really does look like a drawn cartoon, even a Disney princess.
All the while that she’s sharing on the small screen, cameras for her TV show follow her around — and there they were, in the usually off-limits green room of our conference. As one of the producers of the conference, sitting back there myself with the room taken over by her entourage and equipment capturing her eating lunch, I felt a giddiness in the spectacle, but her utter lack of privacy really hit home. It’s not a life I would like to live.
Yes, other people work at actual work, but she works at this sharing game, both real and virtual.
And some people — a lot of people, millions of them who watch her shows and follow her on social media and buy her in-app purchases — actually do like that. Her currency is her life, and she gives it to them.
What does she think is behind her mass appeal?
“I think that no matter what, even though some of the things we go through seem pretty crazy and intensified, we’re real and somewhat normal, and at least you feel you can relate,” Kardashian West told Swisher onstage. “Or maybe want to vicariously live through what they see the lives to be. And then they feel this strong closeness. We’re so open — so I think there’s some kind of connection.”
In the end, the most impressive thing about Kardashian West? This woman has incredible endurance, to deflect the hate and continue to do this thing that she chooses to do every day: Share her life.
Here’s the full video of the session:
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.