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I Flew 900 Miles on a Private Jet to Get Rejected by Kim Kardashian West

She's tired.

Kim Kardashian at the U.S. launch of Hype Energy Drinks. Photo: Getty Images
Kim Kardashian at the U.S. launch of Hype Energy Drinks. Photo: Getty Images

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Or, in my case, life is what happens when you’re asked 24 hours in advance to board a private plane and attend a Hype Energy Drink launch party hosted by Kim Kardashian West.

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Despite the reality show, the endless news bulletins and the constant updates, there’s a lot we don’t know about Kim. Like, how she’s somewhat confoundingly been the drink line's brand ambassador for over a year. The company, which is prominent overseas and building its base stateside, was shutting down one of Nashville’s famed downtown streets to put on a massive party. There, we’d get some one-on-one interview time with the most famous woman in America.

So, I said yes, packed a purse and hopped on board to chat with reality TV’s most lucrative star. Only, this story isn’t about her responses to North’s new sibling or Caitlyn’s personal style or Kylie’s swollen lips. This is about what happens when you become public enemy number one at a Kim Kardashian press junket.

hype crowd

Photo: Carlye Wisel

I board the plane around noon and am given a swag bag, one of the day’s few mentions of Hype. It’s camouflage with glitter trim, and inside there are Hype-branded SkullCandy headphones and a Bluetooth player made to look like a Hype can, as well disposable flossers and a dental guard to prevent against teeth grinding. Is there a side effect to this energy drink that my dentist and I should be concerned about? I place the bag in the overhead compartment, and conveniently forget about it at the end of the night.

About an hour after our chartered plane lands in Nashville, I’m told to head to the stage where Kim—or Mrs. West, as we’re told to call her—would be "mingling" throughout the VIP crowd. Only, you couldn't mingle with Mrs. West if you tried. A wave of pandemonium previously only seen in MTV documentaries about Britney Spears visits to Japan was happening in real time, and the screaming, crying, selfie-hungry crowd was cluttered behind metal barricades, trying to snap a pic or stand on tip-toes to catch a glimpse in all her glory.

A wave of pandemonium previously only seen in MTV documentaries about Britney Spears visits to Japan was happening in real time

A stage was set up for the day’s concert, featuring a performance by Craig David, who sang that song you totally forgot you liked when you were 14, as well as appearances by a famous race car driver (Hype is headed by ex-Formula One driver Bertrand Gachot) and storied Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed. I’d elaborate, but no one there cared about this, and neither do you, because Kim is there.

The phenomenon isn’t just Kim Kardashian West—it’s the wild, visceral, almost dystopic social effect she has on nearby crowds. People aren’t here to see her; they’re here to Instagram her. You know the bee attack scene in My Girl? That's what it's like to be near Kim K, only the bees are iPhones swiped open to the camera app with human arms attached. There is not merely a group following her every step across the Hype event stage, but a veritable swarm.

kim with hype crowd

Photo: Carlye Wisel

And who can blame them? In a world where nothing matters more than having followers, a photo of even the back of Mrs. Kardashian West’s head is like social media heroin, an instant jolt of screen-tapped hearts. I witnessed no less than 15 people attempt a bootleg selfie by leaning back, lifting their phones and somehow trying to get their face near Kim's. If they’re within the same frame, it totally counts. It’s weird that the dream takeaway from an in-person event is a digital .jpg file instead of free Hype swag, but it makes sense—if you flew or drove or waited to see Kim Kardashian West in the flesh and didn’t get a selfie, then what the hell was the point of going anyway?

Hanging out with @kimkardashian no big deal. #kimkardashian #HypeMeUp #hypeenergy

A photo posted by Lyndsey Bonner (@lyndseybonner) on

Kim Kardashian West appears, and she is a contradiction wrapped in latex. Sick yet stunning, smiling through coughs while posing beside posters of herself holding an energy drink she cannot physically consume, the irony of an extremely tired, laryngitis-ridden pregnant person promoting a caffeinated product is masked by her mesmerizing appearance.

I spend a half-hour surrounded by screaming, flashing bulbs and the crush of bodies into mine, and as I’m corralled and prepped for my dwindling window of time, her Frankensteinian bodyguard inquires as to what I’ll be asking about. I casually mention Twitter, haters, you know, the usual. An uncomfortable shuffle of conversation ensues from my clearly incorrect response (oops) and the monolith of a man sternly tells me, with his back turned, that Kim will only be fielding questions about Hype Energy Drink.

Kim K at Hype Standing

Photo: Carlye Wisel

The pregnant multimillionaire, whose unborn fetus will likely explode if she merely sips Hype Energy Drink, will only be answering questions pertaining to Hype Energy Drink. The better half to rap’s most notorious star, who has built fashion, gaming, entertainment and publishing businesses with her likeness, will only discuss Hype’s seven-flavor product line. The entrepreneur, reality star and unprecedented tech mogul who told the world she was pregnant, presented at the CFDAs, and had a step-parent reveal her transition, all within the past 48 hours, would only be commenting on Hype's high-quality, preservative-free blend of caffeine, taurine, and vitamins.

Only, she wasn't. She was, in actuality, remarkable. Kim spoke openly about North’s reaction to the pregnancy and honestly about her wishes for Caitlyn. She gave makeup tips and donut feels to other reporters whom a Hype representative was systematically placing in front of me whenever I had an opportunity to ask a question. I was being blackballed, in real time, by people I could see with my own eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.

The sardine can of reporters squeezed tighter and tighter until she was farther and farther away, closer to me on my Instagram feed than in person. In a split second, I had gone from a professional writer beholding the power of the press to the human equivalent of the plastic cooler filled with Hype Energy Drinks lining the stage—completely ignored. I boarded a private plane to interview Kim Kardashian, and all I was getting out of it was half of a tuna sandwich and a free ride to nowhere.

To save you the nonsense details about getting my moment with Mrs. West when 300 other people are also trying to get a moment with Mrs. West, I’ll put it this way: I’m a goddamn sellout. After desperately begging three publicists, reassuring them that, yes, I will solely question this dynamic figure of American royalty, queen of contouring and bombastic working mother about a caffeinated beverage that tastes of Red Bull backwash and generic-brand candy, I'm shoved towards Kim and given one—"One!! That’s it!"—question that absolutely must be about Hype Energy Drinks. I oblige, am presented to her like a prospective attendee of the ball in Cinderella, and I ask her: since Hype is all about energy, how does she motivate herself to hit the grind everyday when she has so many businesses to run?

And her answer—oh, her answer!—was like a tiny bowtie of honesty looped around the gift of truly not giving any fucks.

kim closeup hype

Photo: Carlye Wisel

Mrs. West tells me that she used to drink Hype to get motivated before the gym, but "since I’ve been pregnant, I’m just exhausted all the time. I’m not doing as much," she says. "I’m really listening to my body and just chilling out a little bit more. You know, you just have to really prioritize. And I’m lucky that I work with my sisters."

Yep. If you can’t read between the lines, the patron saint of all things artificial just said, at an energy drink press summit, that she’s tired all the time. Kim Kardashian West, who allots 90 minutes a day to achieving her well-coiffed and contoured look before stepping outside, wouldn’t lie or even sugarcoat the exhaustion she’s currently experiencing at an event for a product designed to wake you up. I wasn’t even capable of lying about what I’d be asking her, and here she was, talking openly about how she feels.

And her answer—oh, her answer!—was like a tiny bowtie of honesty looped around the gift of truly not giving any fucks.

This is a new, no-bullshit Kim Kardashian West. One who puts her opinions above publicity-penned ones, one who speaks freely and frankly, without caring how quotable it sounds. Given her Twitter spiral earlier that afternoon, in which her unusually erratic posts prompted Twitter to ask if she'd been hacked, Kim is on a bit of an honesty bender. And for how put-together and meticulously presented her image typically is, she’s speaking freely, without giving it a second thought—and that’s by far the realest thing I’ve ever seen her do.

Even if I was only given 30 seconds to witness it.


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