With the birth of baby Kimye comes a new spotlight on the woman famous for being famous, with that fame coming from a sex tape, a boutique, a reality show, and then a succeeding line of business ventures and spin-offs that had Kim Kardashian capitalizing on what could have been 15 minutes of fame and creating a career.
As a culture — whether we like to admit it or not — we’ve been Keeping Up with the Kardashians since 2007, and with the antics of the three sexy Kardashian sisters long before that. But unlike the Nicole Ritchies and Paris Hiltons with reality TV celebrity that burned bright and faded quickly, the Kardashians have stayed a part of pop culture, even if it is for a punchline.
But these three sisters aren’t the first to infiltrate the mainstream with personal lives that seemed to overtake their careers. Their names: Zsa Zsa, Magda, and Eva.
So are the Kardashian clan just a reboot of an old classic?
1. Relationships dominate their fame
The Gabor sisters were infamous for their trysts, romances and marriages, much like the Kardashian sisters. Zsa Zsa married nine times — well, technically eight since one marriage was annulled — Magda was married six times and Eva was married five. In fact one of the husbands — George Saunders — first got hitched to Zsa Zsa before getting married to Magda. The men ranged from Barbie doll designers to Hilton hotel businessmen to Turkish intellectuals and, of course, actors.
Kim has been in several high-profile long term relationships to Ray J and Reggie Bush, and has been married twice, one a famed 72-day, multi-million dollar fiasco with a divorce that was finalized well into pregnancy with Kanye West’s child. Khloe, who some argue is the most level-headed sister, got married to current husband Lamar Odom after only a few months of dating after some publicized sports relationships of her own with Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Derrick Ward and Sacramento Kings basketball player Rashad McCants. Let’s not forget Kourtney, whose tumultuous relationship with Scott Disick has played out on the E! Network for as long as we all can remember.
2. Media perceptions which focus on beauty and sex appeal
Both of the famous trios of sisters were noted for beauty, flirtation and sex appeal, as well as bouts of self-indulgence expressed through their television appearances and choices in clothing and style. And both were born into successful families that afforded a level of privilege early on in their lives.
The Gabors were a glamorous trio that tended to be seen as beautiful socialites rather than actresses or media moguls. One-liners on chat shows like "I am a marvelous housekeeper, every time I leave a man I keep his house" and "I believe in large families: every woman should have at least three husbands" reinforced a more superficial view of the women.
The half-Armenian Kardashians are heralded for their dark locks and curves, an admitted breath of fresh air from stick skinny blondes of most hot Hollywood socialite stature. But the group of ladies' ventures into clothing lines and makeup and nail polish products continue to associate the women with outer beauty. Being reality television stars doesn't help that end much either.
3. No matter what, we're talking about them
No matter how much you want to say about the merits of their work, be it Green Acres or Temptation, the two trios of famous sisters in their times had weight and pull in the industry and had media attention and their fair share of the spotlight.
By the way, if you haven't seen Kim Kardashian act, maybe it's for the best. And if you haven't seen Green Acres, it's obviously because you weren't nearly as big a fan of Nick at Nite (read: a nerd) as I was growing up, and maybe that's for the best too.