Here comes an obvious statement: Kim Kardashian is a very famous person. There’s the Instagram followers (102 million, for those counting), the television show, the emoji line, the merch line, the beauty line—you get the point. But perhaps the most famous part about Kim Kardashian is Kim Kardashian, the image. There is perhaps no one else quite as recognizable in the world at this point—her tan complexion, flawless contour, waist-length hair, and, yes, butt are as ingrained in the minds of most of America as the thirteen stripes on the flag. But for some reason, lately it seems that Kardashian is more interested in taking on the image of other famous women that have come before her than her own much-copied look; this month alone, she stars in a whopping three editorials dressed up as Lil’ Kim and Pamela Anderson, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Cher, in Love, Interview, and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, respectively. As it turns out, the reality star has a long history of cosplaying as history’s most famous women. Here, a guide to some of those moments.
Kardashian first met now-husband Kanye West all the way back in 2008 when she guest starred on his sketch comedy show that unfortunately for all of us never got picked up (though did start one of the greatest love stories of our time). For her own turn at comedy, Kardashian appeared on the show dressed up as Princess Leia to West’s stormtrooper.
In 2011, Kardashian scored her first major fashion cover with the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar. In the spread, Kardashian dressed up as Cleopatra—don’t worry, the editorial was called “Cleopatra with a K” in a nod to one of her noted icons, Elizabeth Taylor. What’s more, Kardashian interviewed Taylor in the issue, during which she deemed herself “a huge Elizabeth Taylor nerd.”
Two years later, she would make that much evident, Instagramming a picture of herself remaking an iconic image of Taylor , which was taken by photographer Herb Ritts in Malibu in 1991, captioning the post “#MyIdol”
Like many celebrities before her, Kardashian starred in a seemingly off-brand product placement commercial—North West’s college tuition isn’t going to pay for itself—in 2015 for Hype Energy USA, a Red Bull-esque energy drink. The video clip opens on Kardashian riding a bike and dressed up like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, complete with clip-in bangs, before she falls over and seemingly slips into a brief coma, in which she imagines herself as Marie Antoinette. Drinking an energy drink. Obviously.
With every Audrey, most come a Marilyn. Just a month after her energy drink moment, Kardashian went on the opposite end of the spectrum to channel Marilyn Monroe for the cover of Vogue Brazil, as lensed by Ellen von Unwerth. The shoot wouldn’t be the first time Kardashian drew Monroe comparisons—the year prior, then-Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci called her “the Monroe of our age” in an interview with London’s Sunday Times.
2015 was apparently a big year of transformation for Kardashian; in August, she teamed with makeup artist Pat McGrath for a beauty story for Violet Grey, where the beauty maestro recreated and updated Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra—lest you forget Kardashian is a Taylor fanatic.
Cut to the present, and Kardashian is still playing dress-up. For the most recent issue of CR, she transformed into two icons of the ’90s: Lil’ Kim and Pamela Anderson, as photographed by someone who was actually born in that decade, Petra Collins.
Also this month, Kardashian debuted her September cover for Interview, which she transforms into Jackie O., with daughter North West joining her for the editorial. In case you didn’t get the concept, the headline declares her “America’s Next First Lady.”
And today, Kardashian completed her September issue hat trick, appearing as Cher on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. That’s a lot of wigs.
Bonus round: in case there was any confusion about who the most iconic person Kim Kardashian can dress up as, never forget Halloween 2015, when she dressed up as herself.
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