Ahead of the Curves

It’s a Saturday night and a line of 300 people snakes around Sephora at The Venetian. The store has shut its doors for the personal appearance set to take place in 30 minutes. Inside, the guest of honor meets with reporters. Her handlers and a team of about five burly men in all black keep a watchful eye.

She’s not a singer with a bevy of platinum records who has a herd of young women snapping photos from outside the store windows. She’s not a movie star that has them clutching cameras and umbrellas in the rain. Nor is it she an athlete.

The woman responsible for all the hoopla is Kim Kardashian. In town to launch her eponymous fragrance — and to co-grand marshall NASCAR — the woman once known as Paris Hilton’s curvy friend hasn’t done too bad for herself. Not a week goes by without her face on the cover of a magazine. She and her sisters partnered with Bebe to launch a line and she is executive producing the reality show "Crisis Control."

She still has trouble figuring out how she got here, though.

"Obviously the show has been huge," she says. "But I think people first became aware of me from hanging out with a crowd of ‘socialites,’ which I never looked at myself as. I would only go out because I love to dress up. For me it was more about the beauty and glamour part of it."

In fact, Kardashian claims she can probably stroll through any Sephora and break down every beauty line in the place. What makes it great and what makes it not so great. It’s not her status as a beauty connoisseur that inspired a company to stamp her name on a fragrance, though. In fact, the news release for it compares the smell to "the scent of stardom." Also known as the combination of mandarin, honeysuckle, pink jasmine, tuberose, tonka ban, vanilla orchid, musk and sandalwood.

Kardashian says she chose certain ingredients for the memories they evoke. For instance, jasmine brings to mind her first condo, which had a front yard dotted with the fragrant flowers. As for the scents she wore prior to creating her own, Kardashian — ever the beauty guru — liked to switch it up over the years. J’adore Dior was a favorite for a time as was the scent her father gave her, Angel. But that one was short-lived.

"He bought it for his girlfriend, too," says the raven-haired reality star. "I stopped wearing it because I didn’t like her."

Fans of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" know what a fragrance meant for her and her mother, Kris Kardashian. It was a long-desired goal that signified much more than a scent. The way Kim explains it, she and her mother wanted it so badly because it seemed so out of reach "at the time." Emphasis on "at the time." With men in their 50s in The Grand Canal Shoppes shouting to each other that "Ms. Kardashian is here," it doesn’t seem that much of anything is unattainable.

Her next endeavor is as spokesperson of a skin care line with sisters Kourtney and Khloe. For now she’s focused on promoting her fragrance.

Dressed in a one-shoulder fluttering top, black voluminous skirt and caged Christian Louboutin booties, the woman best known for her exotic beauty and bountiful curves prepares to meet the fans who made her famous for being famous.

The moment the doors open can’t come fast enough for Priscilla Castro. The 22-year-old from Northern California is first in line and has been waiting three and a half hours to have her photo taken with Kim. A couple weeks earlier she staked out Tao to watch Reggie Bush escort her idol down the red carpet. Why?

"Because I love Kim!" she says, her boyfriend holding an umbrella over her head. "She’s just so beautiful. I just love everything about her. … I just want to give her a hug."

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