Kourtney Kardashian seems to be the most normal one in her family, or at least that’s the impression I’ve gotten from watching a grand total of three episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In reports of the long-running E! series and general gossip conversations, Kourtney, the eldest sibling, is described as the ‘down-to-earth’ one. She’s the family woman with three kids, the one who went to university and got a degree, and, to put it bluntly, the one whose face looks the most like the face she had ten years ago. That final point doesn’t seem unconnected to a recent comment her sister Kim made about her, wherein she declared Kourtney to be the least interesting sibling to look at. With Kourtney, even as a Kardashian novice and total outsider to that world, I always got the impression that, if the show were to end tomorrow and the endless sea of cameras disappeared, she’d be the most OK with that.
Of course, that could all be bullsh*t. It could just be the image she has carefully crafted for herself to differentiate herself from her sisters, all of whom have begun to look near identical to one another over the past decade since becoming mainstream celebrity figures. If there’s one thing that momager Kris Jenner is terrifyingly good at, it’s moulding her children for the most effective means of attracting attention and earning obscene amounts of money. Plenty of smarter and funnier people before me have dissected the Big K Brand, its allure, and why it pisses off so many people. Kim is the almighty maven who has more money than she’ll ever spend but still shills for detox teas on Instagram. Khloe was the relatable one whose weight loss and beauty transformation has made her unapproachably perfect for high fashion and the jeans she sells. Kendall’s one of the most in-demand supermodels on the planet but hardly through the years of hard graft put in by her colleagues who didn’t have famous parents. Kylie is the make-up guru of her generation who only had to drastically alter her face to sell the idealized image to her young fanbase. Kourtney, meanwhile… Well, she was the family woman, so what’s the next step for her?
Of course, it’s a lifestyle website.
Poosh launched this week after Kourtney greatly hyped it up on Instagram to her 75.7 million followers, mostly through admittedly gorgeous photographs of her wearing not very much. The Poosh Instagram account already has over 2.5 million follows, although that may simply be because the account is repurposed from an old one dedicated to Dash, the boutique clothing store the Kardashians used to run. And yes, the site is actually named Poosh. Makes you wonder if she’s seen Parks and Recreation and the episode with Bloosh.
According to Kourtney, the ethos of the site is about finding a healthy lifestyle that does not demand you rid yourself of all of life’s pleasures. ‘Living a healthy life’, the site’s About page says, ‘doesn’t mean you must forgo a sexy pair of stilettos (we’re not even telling you to abstain from leather), a kick-ass eyeshadow palette (we prefer non-toxic, but we won’t shun you if you’re not ready to toss your favorite Chanel), or a juicy burger (gluten bun and all).’ It’s not a bad ethos, especially in a world of Goops, but it’s still a pretty unclear concept, especially for a site looking for an identity. That lack of identity is all over Poosh, a collection of vague ideas with a professional sheen that is both easily digestible and utterly devoid of satisfaction.
Poosh looks and feels like every lifestyle website that has come before it, although, as expected with anything Kardashian related, the focus is primarily on beauty. Most of the advice, ‘secrets’ and products given the limelight can be found on any number of similar sites. One post hypes the joys of retinols, as if the skincare sphere hasn’t been through that cycle many times over this past decade. In a piece offering advice on how to look good naked — illustrated by a photo of Kourtney dramatically lounging around her bath — one suggestion is to do away with ‘harsh lighting’ and use candles instead, and Poosh happily offers links to some preferred products (none of the four candles listed are priced below $60). Images of other Kardashians and Jenners are present throughout, as are models like Gigi Hadid.
Other lifestyle elements on the site include health and fitness advice, interior design, advice on family life and motherhood, and how-to videos on a number of general wellness areas. The vast majority of the posts are credited to the site itself, with no other listed writer, although thankfully they aren’t trying to pass off Kourtney as the sole creator here as she is referenced in the third person throughout most of them. There are plenty of cute photos of her children and the sort of parenting guidance that seems to come from an earnest place, even if the execution is vague and out-of-touch. The food section is where my eyebrows were raised. Kourtney’s ‘signature salad’ is made up of four ingredients — hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado, and mozzarella — arranged artfully on a plate in a decidedly un-salad fashion. The caption informs us that ‘Kourt’ is dairy free so eats this array of foods without the cheese, but ensures readers that the meal will leave you full for hours. There is no seasoning.
So I'm reading Poosh (?!), Kourtney Kardashian's new lifestyle website, for a piece I'm writing, and I just need everyone to understand my feelings about her "signature salad."— Kayleigh Donaldson (@Ceilidhann) April 3, 2019
This is not a salad. Thank you for your time. pic.twitter.com/2l1rI73E50
Reading through Poosh is a fruitless search for one answer: Who is this for? At least with Goop, as borderline reprehensible as their fetishized rejection of traditional medicine in favour of vaginal eggs and other variations of snake oil is, I know the target demographic for their brand. The site has no discernible identity of its own and offers nothing we haven’t seen before or can’t find in a more interesting format elsewhere. What it ended up reminding me of is that party planning book Pippa Middleton made, which included instructions for making ice.
Then again, that may be the point. Make a site for absolutely everything and it will end up being for absolutely nobody, but that won’t matter as long as those page views come in. If the concept is vague enough then that leaves room for all manner of branding opportunities, sponsorships, business deals, and the like. In that aspect, it could end up as the perfect click-farm blog, only with a bigger name at the top of the page. One should never underestimate the Kardashian Klan’s ability to make money from absolutely anything, but is this a true money spinner in the same way make-up brands and clothing lines are? It will probably pay some bills and earn Kourtney more money than most of us will all year. The site so far is mercifully free of diarrhea teas and appetite suppressant lollipops although there’s no guarantee it will stay like that given the brand power behind it. Ultimately, any message or product Poosh wishes to sell cannot help but fall flat because you don’t buy it for a second. It’s somewhat remarkable that the Kardashians have done so well in marketing products and ideas rooted in achieving the unattainable, the ultimate oxymoron. Kylie’s lip kits won’t give you a face like hers. Khloe’s workout advice won’t do what expensive surgeries, trainers and dietitians did for her. Kourtney’s offerings are somewhat more grounded - grading on a very small curve here - but do you buy for a moment that she makes her own lip balms? I do believe she enjoys that ‘salad’, mind you.
So why spend over a thousand words trying to figure out the deeper meaning behind something obviously lacking in one? Why plunder the depths of shallowness, especially when you know that any Kardashian related article will inevitably result in countless commenters telling you they don’t care about these people and that you’re an idiot for doing so? Well, as with all things Kardashian, it feels worth trying to dissect how this absolute zeitgeist of popular culture, one that has helped to dramatically shift our understanding of celebrity in such a short amount of time, actually works and what it’s doing. For a family accused of being famous for doing nothing, they have fingers in a lot of pies but have managed to do so in a way that requires very little in terms of a discernible personality. They are everything and nothing, which may explain why they’re so damn tough to talk about, not to mention kind of boring, all things considered. Poosh, as with the Kardashians themselves, is summed up by that depressing salad: Is that all there is?
Header Image Source: Poosh.com