'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' is back. But when will Kim return to the spotlight?

By Elahe Izadi

Kim Kardashian's family have stepped in to maintain her presence on social media. Photo / AP
Kim Kardashian's family have stepped in to maintain her presence on social media. Photo / AP

Before Sunday's mid-season premiere of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, members of the reality TV family did what they always do: tweeted teasers and messages promoting the show. Khloe is thinking about breast augmentation! Rob isn't coming to the party planned for him! Mom Kris calls daughter Kim a "traitor!"

But as the E! series returns with new episodes, the central persona remains notably absent on social media. Kim Kardashian, who has made documenting her most personal moments the bedrock of her career, has been silent since a robbery earlier this month in Paris. Thieves broke into a Paris mansion, held her at gunpoint and stole more than $10 million in jewellery. The suspects remain at large.

The seriousness of the crime and how deeply it has apparently affected Kim contrasts with the pseudo-drama put on display by the E! show. After the robbery, filming of new episodes was put on hiatus, with a network spokesperson saying "Kim's well-being is our core focus right now."

Some family members have resumed "limited filming", a network spokesperson said late last week.

The reality show is just one part of the massive Kardashian empire. Kim has figured out how to make a lot of money by giving up her privacy.

"I totally attribute my career to social media," she said in a 60 Minutes interview, taped before the robbery, that also aired Sunday night. She said "there are pitfalls - lack of privacy, and that's not for everyone. For me, I can handle it."

Following the robbery in Paris, a police spokeswoman suggested that it may have been that lack of privacy that put Kim at risk.

"It was really the celebrity who was targeted, with possessions that had been ... noticed via social media, and it was these goods the attackers targeted," said spokeswoman Johanna Primevert.

So what does it look like when someone like Kim Kardashian unplugs from social media?

The reality star once would step out into the street totally glammed up, as paparazzi cameras captured her latest outfit. She would then post the photos on her site and explain how people could achieve the look.

Now the photos we see of Kim Kardashian are of her in a hooded sweatshirt as she tries to discreetly enter a restaurant or leave an apartment.

There haven't been updates on her subscription-based website and app for weeks, and her assistant Stephanie Sheppard posted last week that the reality star "is taking some much-needed time off."

The most we've seen of Kim is the video her husband Kanye West posted in honour of her birthday on Friday. It features old footage of Kim with her siblings and her late father, Robert. Something so sweet would normally elicit a public response from Kim. This time, her family posted those updates.

It appears these surrogates will continue trying to satisfy fans while the reality star continues her retreat from the public eye. But when your career is made in the spotlight, how long can you stay out of it?

- Washington Post

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