Earlier this month, Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who, since 1996, has been in prison in Alabama serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction, in part because of an effort propelled by Kim Kardashian West. Kardashian took up the cause after seeing a viral video about Johnson’s case, and proceeded to take it directly to the president.
But even though Kardashian might hold sway over politics when the president is also a tabloid celebrity, at home, she’s just a regular mom. All this was context for a recent interview she gave to the British network ITV’s program This Morning. The anchor Sam Rubin attributed the commuting to her level of fame—“She’s able to get people pardoned, in part, because she’s so famous,” he said. “But not famous everywhere,” he added, transitioning from a discussion of Kardashian’s politics (she reiterates that she’s “not political,” for the record, which is a privilege afforded to few but bears out in how long it took her to speak out about the Trump administration immigration policy) to a discussion her family’s relationship to the spotlight. It turns out, despite the armada of paparazzi that constantly pursues the Kardashians and everyone in their orbit, her children with Kanye West—5-year-old North, 2-year-old Saint, and infant Chicago—“have no idea what’s going on” when it comes to their parents’ extraordinary level of fame.
“It’s pretty intense,” Kardashian said of the constant scrutiny, “but at home, I’m not known,” she added. “So I don’t really feel it. I spend most of my time at home. So, I mean, obviously, I get it, I know it, but I don’t really feel it.” She echoed a similar sentiment in a previous interview, denying her level of visibility in response to commenters on social media who wondered why she hadn’t criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families at the border: “I don’t have access to everything,” she said. “I don’t have influence.”
Of course, she does have influence, and when they go out, North, at least, seems all too aware of the attention her family garners, as evidenced by her refrain “No pictures, please!” (or its more emphatic cousin, a simple “No pictures!”) when confronted with photographers outside her ballet class, en route to get an ice cream cone, or in any other seemingly mundane scenario (it’s technically illegal, but that’s rarely stopped the paparazzi). It appears, despite her occasional forays into social justice, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star can still be willfully blinkered to her own power as a celebrity.