When it comes to celebrities, it’s hard to get bigger than Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. When you put those two together as a couple, then add in four children, you’re getting close to super nova levels of star power.
But, even with constant paparazzi and social media coverage, Kanye and Kim strive to keep elements of their personal lives under wraps — like how they raise their kids. So when the details of North West’s upbringing did finally emerge, parents everywhere were completely floored.
The birth of a child, especially a first child, is supposed to be a happy occasion. North West’s birth in June 2013, however, was almost the darkest moment of Kim’s and Kanye’s lives.
She was born at 35 weeks — five weeks earlier than expected — and only weighed five pounds. And while we now know that everything worked out for the best, in that moment, fear overshadowed the moment for her family.
Once the baby arrived and the panic settled, Kim and Kanye could make her name official. Surely there’s a good story behind an unconventional name like North, right? Well, there are two you might not know about.
Kris Jenner, North’s grandma, explained that the name is symbolic: “Kim and Kanye said North is the highest power, so naming (her) North is the highest point between the two of them,” she told Jimmy Fallon. The inspiration came from elsewhere, too.
Rob Kardashian/ Instagram
Kim revealed she got some help from Anna Wintour. The iconic journalist asked Kardashian if the rumors about the name North were true and mentioned she thought the idea was “genius,” which helped the parents officially decide.
From the second North left the hospital, Kim and Kanye set out to spoil her. You know, for instance, Kanye’s first daughter wasn’t going to be rolling around in an ugly plastic stroller from Target. They had to find a stroller with a bit more swag.
On an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim revealed how she picked out North’s stroller. It had to be color coordinated to compliment the baby’s skin tone and ended up costing nearly $1,000. Talk about a pimped out (baby) ride.
Roughly a year after North’s birth, her parents officially tied the knot in a Florence, Italy, destination wedding. Of course, North West influenced the nuptials location, too. In a way.
See, Kanye was inspired by both romance and fine art when picking the perfect spot…he also revealed that North was probably conceived on a previous visit to the city, which added extra significance to his choice.
“I think that our daughter North was conceived here among the Renaissance masterpieces,” he told Italian newspaper La Nazione. Things came full circle when North participated in her parent’s wedding.
Once they returned to the States, North was beginning to grow up and develop a personality. And getting raised a West-Kardashian means embracing your celebrity. Young North was receiving guidance, however, from a special source.
Kris Jenner/ Twitter
She quickly started spending days with grandma Kris Jenner, shopping and going on other outings. Through all the fun, there’s one unbreakable rule that North has to follow during their time together.
Kris can’t stand the thought of being called grandma! So, North calls her “Lovey” instead, and the pair love their girl time together. Despite Kris’s star power, North wasn’t about to be overshadowed, so she adopted an unlikely interest…
Kris Jenner/ Instagram
Celebrity requires being on the cutting edge of fashion — you can’t get caught by the paparazzi wearing sweatpants and a grubby T-shirt, after all. North — probably thanks to mom and dad — knows this. So she gets pampered with special gifts.
Thanks to dad, North is always outfitted in the latest Yeezys. But the retail model isn’t good enough for her. She’s even added her own artwork to some of her pairs! Kim, too, makes sure North’s up-to-date in the fashion world.
Remember when Kanye had Kim get rid of all the outfits he didn’t like? Well, it turns out she’s saving them for when her daughter can fit into them. Incredibly, North still gets more over-the-top fashion perks.
To make sure every look is on point, North has her own personal wardrobe stylist, hair stylist, and manicurist. Most toddlers are happy enough playing in the dirt, but that doesn’t fly with Yeezy-wearing North.
But that expensive taste is already causing problems. In fact, North once threw a tantrum because she wasn’t allowed to wear a pair of Kim’s pink snakeskin Balenciaga boots out of the house!
Kim Kardashian/ Instagram
When North was two years old, her life took a major turn. Her brother Saint was born and, as anyone with siblings can tell you, that changes everything. And with the Kardashians, any moment can turn into a family drama.
North didn’t take too kindly to the change. “North just beats [Saint] up all day long,” Kim told People. “She is so jealous, and I thought it was a phase — it’s not going away.”
Even if her parents get sick of her behavior, it’s still easy for North to work her way out of trouble, however. She’s Kanye’s daughter after all and she definitely inherited some of his untouchable self-assurance and favorite moves.
“She knows how to outsmart us — or she thinks she does,” Kim explained to People. “But she is Kanye’s twin. Same personality.” As North continues to grow up, she’s looking more and more at home in the spotlight.
And that makes sense, given that she’s been on TV for virtually her whole life! She even took an interest in making videos of her own, following in her parents onto the screen. But no one expected her to make a splash with another star.
The tot recently starred in a YouTube with JoJo Siwa, raking in over 18 million views in just three months. But soon, even the celeb breeding ground of YouTube wasn’t enough, and North made a splash somewhere else.
JoJo Siwa/ Youtube
Following in the Kardashian family footsteps, North made her runway debut at the L.O.L Surprise fashion show in fall 2018. She wore a Thriller-inspired outfit, ignoring that the music video is nearly 30 years older than she is!
Kim Kardashian/ Instagram
But life as a celebrity child isn’t all runway shows and private jets. In fact, Kim has one strict way to keep her children in line — and you DO NOT want to cross Kim Kardashian, even if you’re her daughter.
Despite their wealth, the family doesn’t go overboard on presents for special occasions. On the contrary, Kim and Kanye try to keep their kids from getting too many gifts around the holidays to help them “be as grounded and well-rounded as possible.”
Kim Kardashian/ Twitter
Despite all the perks, being a celebrity child can be tough. But, even when you’re at your worst moment, dad is still there to pick you up. That was a lesson Kim learned when she was growing up.
It turns out that Kimmy has always glimpsed the limelight. If you don’t “keep up” with the Kardashians, you may be surprised to find out that Kim is the daughter of the late famed lawyer, Robert Kardashian. This defined so much of her early life.
Robert Kardashian was on O.J. Simpson’s defense team during the murder trial that had America enthralled circa 1995. O.J., the former NFL star, also happens to be Kim’s godfather. Kim’s always been connected to the rich and famous.
She enjoyed a childhood in a charming neighborhood in Beverly Hills, living near celebs Lionel Richie and Sugar Ray Leonard. Yeah, and owning a private tennis court, pool, and bar must’ve made the property a not too shabby hangout.
But just because she was born to wealthy parents didn’t mean Kim never had to work. Her mother, Kris Jenner, and her father stopped supporting Kim the day she turned 18.
In fact, Kim said she was working since she was 16 years old, and her first job was at a trendy clothing store in Encino, California called Body. This wasn’t her only job, either. Kim knew how to hustle even then.
She worked in her father’s office and skillfully bought and sold items on eBay, making a nice profit. Robert taught her everything he knew about balancing and saving money, which made what happened to him that much more tragic.
Sadly, her beloved financial adviser and father passed when she was just 23 years old after losing his battle to esophageal cancer. Kim was devastated, but she kept her nose to the grindstone.
She eventually moved on, working as a personal shopper and stylist for the familiar faces of Hollywood — R&B singer Brandy being one of her clients.
Soon enough, her work sparked the interest of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. This was a turning point for the humble Kardashian, whose personal life was now on the rise.
Soon enough, Kim was essentially a sidekick to the super rich and spoiled BFF duo, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. At the time, Paris and Nicole were the hottest reality stars in town, and Kim became more well-known by association. But she wanted more.
In 2006, she landed a cameo on The N’s scripted surfing drama series Beyond The Break, was featured in several episodes of Fox’s The Simple Life, and opened up a clothing store called DASH with her sisters Kourtney and Khloé. Soon, Kim would no longer be anyone’s sidekick.
Things began to change in 2007. The Simple Life ended, paparazzi continuously nabbed messy photos of Paris’ incessant partying, and she went to prison after violating her probation. Kim was no longer the sideshow.
E!’s reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which put most of the Kardashian/Jenner clan’s names in the media, was announced in August of 2007, and a few months later, Kim’s name was in the news again…
What’s New On Netflix
A home sex tape featuring Kim herself and her then-boyfriend, singer Ray J, leaked online. Some people think the now-infamous sex tape scandal helped skyrocket her career further.
In October of 2007, Keeping Up With The Kardashians aired, and America fell in love with the ridiculous family. Nothing was off the table, and that bred a show that broke the synthetic mold of what reality television was at the time.
The Kardashians’ former agent, Brian Dow, had told The Hollywood Reporter that “If you look at the rest of the marketplace at the time, other reality stars were showing you their ‘character’ and were more guarded.” Kim now seemed to be as real as real gets.
Meanwhile, Kim’s fame grew because of her use of social media. Before YouTubers were making millions in their bedrooms, Kim was setting the standard for how to use the internet to connect with a fanbase.
Then, in 2014, Kim married Kanye West. They had been dating since 2012, while she was still technically married to basketball star Kris Humphries. While her marriage to Humphries was seen as laughable, Kim seemed to mature through her intense relationship with Kanye.
She focused more on business, including her wildly profitable iPhone and Android video game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, her 2015 New York Times bestselling book Selfish, and her iOS emoji pack adorably named “Kimojis.”
Kim had everything she needed until a horrific incident in October of 2016 shook her world. She was robbed of her atrociously pricey jewelry at gunpoint in a Parisian hotel room. After all, tracking the Instagram goddess wasn’t rocket science.
But according to her, the incident, which she said she wouldn’t wish upon anyone, changed the media mogul. She removed herself from social media and the public eye for about six months, making this another, more purposeful, turning point for Kim.
These days, among her many projects, a more down-to-earth Kim enjoys spending time with her family, including her four kids. She’s even reconnected with Paris, having recently starred in her 2019 music video. As glamorous as Kim still is, she definitely wears a bit less jewelry now.
But the transition from bold-and-brash reality star to worldly businesswoman extraordinaire isn’t without its hiccups. She’s no stranger to controversy, after all, but in 2019, fans wondered if a certain move had gone too far.
See, in April of 2019, Kim and her family went on vacation to Bali. Along with her sisters, husband, and children, the TV personality tried to have a lavish but relaxing vacation. After sharing some images online, though, it quickly became a PR nightmare.
See, one of the chief reasons people go to Bali is to commune with the wildlife. Kim planned to visit the island’s temples and indulge in some time at the beach, sure; but she wasn’t going to miss out on the animals, either.
That’s what led her to seek out an elephant tour. She and her family visited Mason Adventures in the hopes of getting up close and personal with some of these gentle giants.
And that’s exactly what happened! When Kim and her husband Kanye West arrived at the sanctuary with their kids, they snapped pics of themselves getting up close and personal with the elephants. They had no clue what they were getting themselves into…
The photos Kim shared revealed the elephants at this so-called sanctuary weren’t being treated very well. In one shot, a man actually sat on an elephant’s head to prod him with a stick! Kim didn’t seem to notice the less-than-kosher behavior.
For those who follow the Kardashian scandals, this may not come as a surprise. Kim’s entire family has been spotted wearing real fur coats, something that’s already got them on animal rights activists’ radars.
To make matters worse, it seems the whole elephant tour was part of a publicity stunt, or for Keeping Up With The Kardashians. In the shots, Kim is even riding the elephant herself — and it’s not looking good for her.
In addition to using the live animal as a prop, she brought her kids along for the experience. As a result, thousands of Instagram and Twitter users claimed that she was setting a terrible example for her children.
Horrified responses included “Those elephants should be free and shouldn’t have to drive you and your family around!” and “Why am I not surprised that Kim K is riding elephants and further promoting animal exploitation tourism. ”
Of course, animal rights organization PETA had something to say about the photos as well: “All over the world, tourist traps offer the chance to climb up on an elephant’s back without divulging what these animals endure,” said Rachel Matthews, deputy director at PETA in the US.
Kim’s photos hit a real sore spot because they came just weeks after a baby elephant died in the zoo of Phuket, Thailand. The zoo was famous for being careless with its animals but was still visited by tourists who didn’t research it beforehand.
According to an animal activist group, the elephant had to perform “rave dances” and jump over people every day, which eventually led to serious damage to its legs. The activists were trying to free the elephant, but he didn’t live to see the results.
Sadly, this isn’t uncommon for elephants. For decades, they’ve been used in circuses, where they’re stabbed with hooks until they do all sorts of tricks. These elephants never live long. New trends with show elephants seem harmless — but they aren’t.
As of late, another trend has emerged: watching elephants paint. When a YouTube video of one elephant drawing himself went viral, people assumed he was just highly intelligent, but just like the circus acts, this trick does not happen without some grueling training.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Another popular activity is swimming with elephants, and while this may seem harmless, it still isn’t ideal. Swimming is supposed to be downtime for these animals; when people involve themselves, they never get a break.
Lastly, even just riding on elephants’ backs can do great harm to their health, especially when there are multiple people involved. Opt to ride in a car through an elephant sanctuary instead, or simply admire them from afar.
If you can’t resist a little ele-fun, there are plenty of sanctuaries that only allow gentle interactions with the animals, such as spraying them with water while they have plenty of space to roam. You’ll still get your photo op, but this time with a clear conscience!
If we all follow these guidelines on how to treat domesticated elephants, we can make a real change in their happiness and well-being. It also helps to go the extra mile, such as donating to their care or finding another way to make them happy.