x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood's princess bride

Kardashian's main goal with her wedding this weekend is to make it number one news.

Bride-to-be Kim Kardashian's biggest challenge wasn't finding the right flowers, or the right venue, or the perfect Vera Wang dress. Those come easily enough when you're a reality television mogul whose network is funding and broadcasting your wedding extravaganza.

Instead, Kardashian's apparent goal is to make her nuptials in California this Saturday the summer's number one headline. Even as global markets plunge, people are still talking about how her engagement party boasted miniature horses, covered in glitter.

The 30-year-old American-Armenian reality star is best known as the bombshell middle sister on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and its spin-off, Kourtney and Kim Take New York. There have been two other sisterly spin-offs from the Kardashians: Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami and Khloe and Lamar (the other sister who is married). At any given time, new editions and repeat versions of at least three of the shows are in heavy rotation on E! through OSN in the UAE. The new season of Keeping Up will be broadcast next month and, in October, Kim and her mother are due in Dubai to open the first Millions of Milkshakes outlet outside the US.

Pre-reality show empire, the family can trace its fame back to 1994, when the late patriarch, Robert Kardashian, served as OJ Simpson's defence lawyer at his murder trial.

This summer, Kardashian is better known as Hollywood's most lavish bride-to-be. As a woman whose multi-million-dollar annual income depends on hogging the spotlight, she'd like to keep it that way. But trouble began brewing in April, when a real-life prince named William married Kate Middleton and the happy couple scooped the "wedding of the century" title. At the time, Kardashian wasn't even engaged. She had been dating Kris Humphries, a 26-year-old professional basketball player for the New Jersey Nets, for just five months. This means the two had known each other for as long as Will and Kate were engaged.

Nevertheless, on May 18, Kris got down on one knee with a US$2 million (Dh7.34m), 20.5-carat ring, and the wheels for a summer blockbuster were set in motion. The couple sold their engagement story to People magazine and negotiated a deal for wedding coverage as well.

There's a simple rule in Hollywood, and Kardashian knows it well. More is more. All summer long, the wedding plans have grown increasingly dishy: the $10 million price tag; the star-studded guest list, including Will Smith, Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan; the pre-wedding neck-lift reportedly to help Kim's mum and manager, Kris Jenner, look her best; the 10-tier wedding cake modelled on the one served to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And just yesterday it was reported that Kardashian had asked guests to wear either black or white to the wedding.

Kardashian doesn't seem bothered by the fact that the US President Barack Obama is currently preaching belt-tightening, or that the country came dangerously close to defaulting on its swelling debt. In fact, she amplified the more-of-everything principle with her wedding registry, which includes a $375 candy bowl, $880 serving spoon and $6,500 black vase.

The recent unrest in the UK did manage to briefly catch Kardashian's attention. She interrupted her usual Twitter chatter about wedding preparations and workouts to issue this plea: "What is going on in London??!!?? These riots have to stop! I just hope everyone is ok!"

Rather than an abbey, the Hollywood royals will say "I do" at a private estate in Montecito, California. The E! network will broadcast the event in October as a two-part series called Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event. There is no mention of Kris in the title, perhaps because both her fiancé and her mother are named Kris, which is rather confusing. Which begs the question: what will their inevitable reality spin-off be called? Kim and Current Husband?

This is all the stuff of little Hollywood girls' dreams. And as her younger sister Khloe told OK magazine, Kim "has thought of her wedding from the day she was born". (Khloe's comment is presumably about this wedding, and not Kim's first wedding in 2000 to the music producer Damon Thomas.)

Not part of the dream? Kardashian's bridal shower - the exclusive details of which had been sold to OK magazine - was completely overshadowed in entertainment news by Amy Winehouse's death.

But Kardashian soldiered on, with her eye on the prize. When the US was downgraded from its top-tier AAA credit rating on August 5, she took to Twitter and squeaked: "OK guys please help!" Did she want her followers to write to a congressman about getting the country's financial house in order? Nope.

"We still haven't chosen our 1st dance song! Any suggestions? So many good songs!"

No matter which tune Kim and Kris slow-dance to, celebrity watchers believe that all the hoopla will be ratings gold. The broadcast is expected to draw more viewers than the 3.2 million who tuned in for her sister Khloe's 2009 wedding to Lamar Odom - also a professional basketball player.

Sure, the British can identify this charade as a cheap knock-off brand from a mile away. And there's nothing standing in Kardashian's way from giving it a try again in a few years. The Hollywood royals have signed a prenuptial agreement that ensures Kardashian keeps all her earnings from before, during and after the marriage, in the event that she and Humphries don't end up living happily ever after.