In the latest promotional video for Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kris, Kendall, and Kim are talking about Caitlyn Jenner’s tell-all book, The Secrets of My Life. In the video, Kendall appears to be pretty upset about some part of the conversation. She bangs on the table and insists to Kris that “It’s Insane!” We don’t know exactly what the “it” is that she is referring to, but if it has anything to do with Caitlyn’s book, I get why Kendall might be upset. Apparently Caitlyn talks about not being comfortable with her and Kris’ sex life during their marriage. Seriously, no one wants to hear those kinds of details about their parents.
Obvious reasons for cringing aside, I can still grasp why the idea of a memoir could be particularly damaging for any of the Kardashian-Jenner crew. I know that there are some naysayers out there who might think it’s hypocritical for this camp to be offended by a tell-all. They've made a living out of telling it all on television and social media. But this is the exact reason why the book could be so hurtful and damaging to them.
That famous family has done more than build a brand. They’ve built an entertainment empire — one over which they have a surprising amount of control, Kris more than anyone. Maintaining that empire means maintaining the brand. It’s no different than the way Beyoncé strategically releases content and messaging. Their products may be different, but the business model is the same. And contrary to how in-the-loop KUWTK makes viewers feel, the Kardashian-Jenner family doesn’t actually tell all. They tell what sells and feeds the brand. There are some things the family is going to want to keep private for the sake of their brand living to tell again. When a family member goes rogue and shines a light on those details, it puts the entire operation at risk.
But more importantly there is personal well-being and safety to consider. Despite what we see, on the other side of all of the contouring, highlight, photoshop, and Spanx, the Kardashians are human beings with the right to privacy. I don’t think anyone wants the details of their intimate relationship revealed to the world on terms that they themselves didn’t set.
Ultimately, the danger of tell-alls is that they rarely tell the story of just one person. When I interviewed Gabourey Sidibe about her new memoir, she expressed fear that her truth might not align with those of the people she talked about in the book. She was also honest about how that discrepancy might hurt those individuals. This seems like something Caitlyn should have considered.