It was only last year that Kourtney Kardashian was filmed tearing up when speaking about turning 40 with her younger sister Khloé. On the episode, aired during season 17 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, she said, “It almost makes you analyze, like, where you’re at in your life… It’s just giving me anxiety.” A lot has changed since then. Not only is she a year older and wiser, she has left her family’s reality show and celebrated the first anniversary of her lifestyle and wellness website, Poosh.com. She has mastered looking as chic in a bikini as she does in a body-hugging gown – cue minimal makeup and a pulled-back bun. Then there’s the sharp tailored suits, which match her witty one-liners; whether you’re a fan of the show or not, you’ll have heard her infamous quip, “Kim, there’s people that are dying” after her sister lost a US$75 000 diamond earring while on holiday in Bora Bora.
The eldest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan – which include her sisters Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie and brother Rob – rarely hits the tabloids for reportedly surgically transforming her face or body. It is hard to spot a difference between her now and when their show debuted in 2007. Sophisticated and svelte, the fit mother of three, who stands at just 1.55m tall, has embraced a more natural look, and is often spotted on the red carpet in barely there beauty looks. “I’m not afraid of wrinkles or aging,” she shares. That’s not to say she isn’t managing it. “I do take the best care of my skin I possibly can to keep it functioning in an optimal way, but wrinkles are part of the aging process,” she says. “Age is wisdom and I want to teach both my boys and my daughter how beautiful age and wisdom are.”
Co-parenting three children – Mason, 10, Penelope, eight, and five-year-old Reign – with her former partner, entrepreneur Scott Disick, she looks to set a positive example. Not following societal standards, she has been open about holidaying with Disick and his former partner Sofia Richie, saying it was for the kids, and wasn’t “awkward.” She also made headlines when she dated Vogue Man Arabia digital cover star and Algerian model and boxer Younes Bendjima, who is 14 years her junior.
Wisdom across the board is undoubtedly inspired by Kardashian’s mother, 64-year old Kris Jenner. The family matriarch manages all her daughters’ careers and calls herself “Lovey” to 10 grandchildren. “My mom is such a great example,” says Kardashian. “She gets up super early in the day, she works hard, and then when she is having fun, she has the most fun out of any of us because she is so in the moment.” Kardashian puts this down to the difference in generations, one that is also present between her and her half-siblings Kendall and Kylie, who are more than a decade younger than her. “Khloé and I, we say when we go to our younger sisters’ parties, we’re the most fun out of anybody,” she explains. “It’s so true because I think we’re more used to not living in our phones.”
Kourtney has always been recognized as the most health-conscious of her sisters. “I started getting into health when I had my first baby, Mason,” she says. Her advocacy for clean living is well-documented on the Kardashian series. “I started learning about what we put in our bodies and then it was kind of a snowball effect. You can’t unlearn the information,” she explains of the time. This led her to launch her own platform, Poosh, named after her daughter Penelope, who goes by the same nickname. “It’s about this lifestyle that I was living,” she muses. “I felt like so many people would come to me with questions, ‘Why do you do this?’ or, ‘Why do you believe in this?’” In a year, the platform has garnered 3.5 million followers on Instagram, while Kardashian has almost 94 million on her personal feed. Of Poosh’s success, she says, “I want it to be a conversation and not be or feel judgmental because we’re learning, too. It’s about living, doing your best.” A lifestyle website that is free to use, Poosh focuses on health and wellness, life and style, and home and entertainment. Speaking to experts across the globe, it features celebrities’ beauty secrets, including her family, fitness tutorials, and healthy recipes. That’s just scratching the surface. “I’ve learned so much as well from having Poosh and being able to have all of our contributors,” Kardashian shares.
For Kardashian, the concept of health and wellness is about the mind and body. “I love to go to therapy. I do a double session once a week,” she reveals. While in the past, this admission may have been met with negative connotations, today, she credits it as being a major catalyst in helping her to put herself first. “For years I didn’t have that, where I could say no and set boundaries,” she explains. Having spent the majority of the past 13 years with camera crews following her around, it comes as no surprise that season 18 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians focuses on her withdrawal from the limelight. “I have been filming the show non-stop for 13 years, 19 seasons and six spin-off seasons. I was feeling unfulfilled and it became a toxic environment for me to continue to have it occupy as much of my life as it was,” she explains. It wasn’t always this way, though. “I am grateful for the incredible memories and life the show has given me and my family,” she adds. “Privacy is something I have come to value and finding that balance of private moments with being on a reality show is hard. People have this misconception that I don’t want to work, which isn’t true. I am following my happiness and putting my energy into that which makes me happy.” She also wants to spend more time with her kids.
The lockdown, which arrived in Los Angeles in late March, has seen Kardashian rethink her priorities even further. “Life was moving so, so fast, even after taking a break from the show, and attempting to slow down and give more time to my kids, it wasn’t until this time that I have been able to learn their needs again, see their strengths, and be able to be connected as deeply as I once was, before juggling so much,” she says. When it comes to creating a work and life balance, she believes in being present. “I always try my absolute best when I’m with my kids not to be on my phone, to be present in what we’re doing, and have those moments where you’re looking in each other’s eyes and connecting. It’s so important.” For a family that can fly across the world at the drop of a hat, she likes to keep things simple. “I usually take one day on the weekend where we have no plans, we hang out at the house in pajamas or sweats. We sleep in. I like to not be on a schedule on that day,” she shares.
Exercise is also important to her inner balance. “I try to work out six days a week. I love working out with Khloé as much as I can. Otherwise, I love working out with friends so it doesn’t feel so routine and it keeps it a bit lighter,” she offers. Her current coach, high-intensity interval trainer Don Brooks, switches up their sessions by moving from the gym to outdoors. “I was always taking special care of my body with my workouts. Having that outlet to work out sometimes, getting whatever I was going through out. It always helped.” Kardashian’s beauty secret is simple, too. “I sleep on a silk pillowcase every single night,” which absorbs less moisture from the skin than cotton, while also helping keep your hair tangle free and reducing friction on the face. Kardashian takes her silk pillowcase everywhere, even when traveling for only one night. Another secret she admits to is using hyaluronic acid to increase moisture in her dermis. “I’ve recently – probably in the last two years – started using it,” she says. “I’m late on the trend but it has changed my skin.”
While a late adopter of hyaluronic acid, she is a pioneer in the world of clean beauty. In 2018, Kardashian took part in a briefing in Washington DC on regulatory reform of the cosmetics industry. Teaming up with the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), she implored congressional staff members to pass the Personal Care Products Safety Act. “I don’t think it’s taken that seriously,” she comments. “There are a lot of people who are still not aware of the harm that could be in our products – the harmful chemicals and things that we don’t think about.” The act would be the first update to the US Food and Drug Administration’s cosmetics regulation in more than 80 years and would force companies to disclose the ingredients used in their products and register the facilities they are produced in. It would also mean their products would have to include a warning label if necessary, among other rules. Activists are still fighting for the bill to pass and Kardashian continues to be vocal about her desire to take things a step further, including using EWG’s Skin Deep app and endorsing clean formulas like Oxygenetix’s foundation. “In America, I want to get the laws changed because I don’t think it should be up to us to have to try to find products that are clean. I think there should be standards and that so many toxic ingredients shouldn’t be allowed in our products,” she explains. Perhaps sister Kim might not be the only Kardashian to enter the world of law reform.
Originally published in the July/August 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia