Hi, I’m Ellie, and I’ve been in a committed relationship with makeup since the age of 15.
As a celebrity reporter, I’ve spent years staring at the perfectly made-up faces of the rich and famous, but there is no one who has made makeup their trademark quite like Kim Kardashian.
I wanted to discover whether this makeup routine was viable for an ordinary person in a normal 9–5 job.
I also wanted to discover how I would look as a Kardashian, using makeup techniques like contouring that I could never do myself. I decided to have a company come to my home to do my hair and makeup each morning before work, because that seemed like the most Kim Kardashian option.
Plus, it meant I could wear my pyjamas.
The nail technician arrives and asks which colour I’d like.
I’m instantly drawn to the bright pink shade but have to stop and think, “What would Kim choose?” and reluctantly choose the red instead. I like how my nails look and feel, but I can't help but think how I'd much rather be asleep.
An hour later, my makeup artist arrives. We decide to emulate Kim's Grammys 2015 look, with wavy hair and fairly understated eye makeup using bronze and browns.
My mind is swiftly changed when it comes to having my eye makeup done.
My eyes begin watering uncontrollably and it takes a good five minutes for the false lashes to stick. I realise that being good at having your makeup applied is an art in itself.
After my face is contoured and my hair is curled, I'm handed a mirror. I do a double take at my reflection.
My hair looks amazing and I instantly feel more glamorous, but the contouring is insane and my eyelashes look like they belong to Bambi. I feel like my face has been painted on.
My flatmate walks in and rather disappointedly tells me I’m not as orange as she was expecting but that my lips look nice (I never normally bother doing them), and agrees the eyelashes are out of control.
The lashes almost immediately begin digging into the corner of my eye and cause me pain every time I blink. How the fuck does Kim do this every day? is the only thought I have as I leave the house half an hour late.
Throughout the journey to work, I feel very self-conscious, and as I arrive in work and walk to my desk, I look down, willing people to not look at me. As I sit down, my boss tells me I look lovely. I'm then told that a colleague saw me walking in and said: “Ellie looks fit as fuck.”
I was expecting to be told I look ridiculous. But people are actually being complimentary. Maybe the Kardashian look is a good thing?
And when I catch sight of myself in the mirror, I notice that my skin, which is normally freckly, dry, and uneven, looks flawless. Maybe I, and those around me, are going to prefer the Kardashian Ellie to the actual Ellie. WHAT IF I CAN'T GO BACK TO NORMAL?
After work we head to the most unglamorous pub in the entirety of central London, where I order a warm glass of wine for six quid.
As we settle down with our drinks, my boyfriend looks at me and says, “You look hyperreal. Like, you look like you, but just more so.”
Within half an hour of arriving, I cave and take off my eyelashes. I can’t handle the pain or annoyance any more.
I continue blinking as though I still have them on, though. They’re so heavy and large that they make me blink abnormally slowly. And I realise that Kim, too, blinks this way – probably for the same reason.
This is why Kim Kardashian doesn't drink, I think when my alarm goes off and I heave myself out of bed. I'm so over this process already and it's only day two.
Today I decide to go for dramatic smoky eyes and bright red lips, with my hair poker-straight.
I feel traumatised by yesterday's eyelashes and physically recoil at the sight of new ones, but luckily today my eyes aren't streaming and they stick perfectly. My makeup artist then dutifully contours the shit out of me, applies the reddest of red lipsticks, and, an hour and a half later, I'm ready.
When I look in the mirror I’m struck by the most bizarre feeling: I don’t recognise myself.
I proceed to stand in front of my wardrobe for about 10 minutes, slowly realising I don’t own any clothes that can possibly match what’s going on on my face. I eventually decide on wet-look leggings, a black top, and a statement necklace, and head outside, wanting to yell at all passersby: "THIS IS FOR WORK I SWEAR TO GOD." I get visible stares on the tube and have never felt more self-conscious.
My eyes are so doll-like it's almost eerie, and as the day progresses, I come to understand what my boyfriend meant when he said I looked "hyperreal".
In the interview that accompanied her now infamous Paper magazine photo shoot, Kim Kardashian was described similarly:
Everything about her seems amplified, tumescent. Her black hair is thicker than any you have ever seen, her lips fuller, her giant Bambi-eyes larger, their whites whiter, If some of this is the result of artificial enhancement -- does anyone else have eyelashes that resemble miniature feather dusters? -- none of it seems obviously ersatz. But that's not to say it looks real, either. She is like a beautiful animé character come to life.
And that's how I feel right now. It's a very odd sensation – to recognise yourself somewhere within the makeup, but feel like an overly perfected, almost unreal version of yourself.
The second I get home I remove my eyelashes, and then, with the help of both sides of 10 cotton pads, remove the rest of the makeup with micellar water. The sense of relief is borderline arousing.
Later that evening, while flicking through the several hundred selfies I’ve taken over the past two days, I realise that even my ~selfie face~ has changed.
Being photographed from every angle, having to concentrate so much on my posture and my expressions before taking in how different I look, has begun to affect me. It's very clearly highlighting to me all the flaws I was aware of, as well as ones I never knew existed. And the weirdest part of all is something I hadn't even anticipated: I feel like Kim but nothing like me.
The makeup artist has done a phenomenal job in transforming me, and has done everything I asked. But I’m already looking forward to next week and having myself, and the face I know, back.
Today I decide I want big backcombed hair with heavy eyeliner, black eyeshadow, and enough foundation and contouring to cover the entire Kardashian family.
By now my makeup artist and I are in a groove, and the contouring isn't taking too long at all.
And as the finishing touches are finally made, I realise I actually really like this look.
But that's probably because the eye makeup is much closer to what I'd normally wear.
Minus the false eyelashes, obviously.
My hair feels amazing, and within minutes of arriving at work I receive an instant message from a colleague: “I love your hair today."
Later in the day, a male colleague notices the change in my appearance and compliments my hair too.
In the evening, my boyfriend and I go to the Dorchester Hotel, where Kim usually stays when she’s in London.
We were going to dine in the restaurant, but after seeing that prices begin at £100 I'm like, lol, let's just have a club sandwich at the bar.
I take a couple of selfies before our food arrives, despite feeling awkward and self-conscious. But then I tell myself, This is what Kim would do during dinner. By this stage, though, I’m so fed up of taking selfies I literally go through the motions, pouting and tilting my head without really feeling anything.
I once enjoyed taking selfies as much as Kim does – it became an ongoing joke between me and my friends – but now it feels like a chore and my camera roll literally consists only of my face. It feels incredibly vain, and yet I’m not getting any pleasure out of looking at myself. And, to be perfectly honest, I never want to take another selfie again.
I realise that I've lasted until 9 o'clock and I'm still wearing the false eyelashes – and what's more, they're not even annoying me. This is a breakthrough of epic proportions – so much so that my boyfriend high-fives the achievement.
Not only am I exhausted by this point, but today is the day I’ve been dreading, as you can tell from my extremely knackered, terrified face.
So, I sit feeling anxious as my hair is pulled tightly back into a bun. It doesn’t take long, but once it's finished I immediately feel self-conscious.
My makeup artist then contours the actual fuck out of my face, which I’m glad about because it goes some way to distracting people from my hair. This is by far the most Kim I’ve ever felt.
Luckily I have company on my commute today so I feel less self-conscious, but I do spot one girl staring at me for the entire journey. I don't blame her – I'm wearing enough makeup for the entire tube carriage, but it's still uncomfortable. Equally uncomfortable is attempting to explain a Wi-Fi issue I have in work to the new IT technician while looking as though I'm ready to go out clubbing rather than work.
Later, I watch an episode from Season 6 of KUWKT.
It's arguably the season where Kim's makeup is the heaviest, and as I watch, I can't help but think: "How can she be bothered?" The whole process takes an hour and a half, using highly intricate techniques to essentially transform her entire face. It seems like such an arduous process to produce something that isn't actually her face.
It's also the episode where she discovers she has psoriasis and freaks out, concerned that it could cost her her career. Which isn't unreasonable – her career is dependent on her looking flawless. During one scene she yells at Kris Jenner: "People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect." Previously I'd have laughed at the comment.
But I don't. Because now I really do understand the pressure.
Because a beauty regime like this makes you obsessed with how you look.
I've come to realise just why celebrities so readily resort to surgery even for the most minor of flaws, like Kim Kardashian having a tiny scar on her toe lasered off. Because having your photo taken all the time means it's easy to become fixated by something that can be surgically changed.
More than anything else though, this amount of makeup leads you to spend your entire day thinking about how you look. I've never scrutinised my face as heavily as I have this week. It's exhausting.
I can see now why Kim readily accepts being called "vain". Because there's no way of going through this process without becoming vain. And it's bizarre.
I won't lie: Prior to this week, I was secretly looking forward to being professionally made up.
I’ve never been so happy to hear my alarm go off at 7.30am.
Today I'm going for the modern-day Kim look, taking inspiration from Paris Fashion Week, where she wore her newly dyed platinum hair in an extreme side parting with loose waves. Her face was minimally made up, with just a slick of perfectly applied eyeliner on her top lid and a nude lipgloss.
I feel far less self-conscious, but as I walk through the doors in work one of my colleagues says, “WHOA, your face looks so different.”
Later, another tells me that I look "great", which lifts my spirits. But I'm brought right back down to earth by two male colleagues in the evening. They tell me that the red lipstick on day two was "way too much" and that the contouring looks "strange". It hurts my feelings a bit – I've spent the last week feeling so insecure and self-conscious and I don't want people to think I've been swanning around thinking I look amazing when I know that I don't.
Because that's the point – I've realised that my makeup suits me better than Kim's. And you know what? That's OK.