It’s hard to believe that a little over 12 years ago, most people had no idea who Kim Kardashian was. Even when she got attention via that infamous tape, she was ignored and few thought Keeping Up With the Kardashians would be anything but a short-lived reality show. Who could have guessed it would be the source of a billion dollar empire with Kim now one of the most famous and influential women in the world?
It’s no secret how Kim Kardashian has transformed over the years, but the Internet ensures the past is never gone. Kim herself will often share some “throwback” photos on her Instagram feed of her in the youth. Likewise, various magazines and blogs love to focus on how she once looked. It’s remarkable to see how Kim grew from an attractive teen to the knockout she is today, all while changing her life majorly. From her younger years to the cusp of her fame, here are 20 pics of Kim before her transformation.
Today, Kim is known for that incredible mane of lush dark hair. She’s played with it now and then, from cutting it shorter to even dying it blonde, but those dark locks are key to her entire persona. That’s what makes the pigtails in this photo stand out all the more. She looks like someone out of the 1970s between the hair, the outfit, hints that maybe shifting her hair up more would help Kim out.
Yearbook photos can be tricky as some folks are proud of theirs while others are totally embarrassed. It’s fun to see celebrities with their own and how much they’ve changed. When she attended her 20-year high school reunion, Kim had to laugh at the committee showing pics of her in her senior year. Even in black and white, Kim’s beauty is great and it’s not as bad in terms of other yearbook photos. She’s changed a lot since then, so it’s amazing to see Kim in the past.
18 Flip Phones
Nikki Lund was an old friend of Kim’s when they were teenagers and has posted scores of photos of them from the 1990s. This pic from a party is fun as it showcases the two carrying classic flip phones. Keep in mind that back in the ‘90s, the majority of teens didn’t have cell phones so they must have stood out. This proves that even as a teen, Kim knew how to work a phone like few others.
17 Simple Style
Even at a young age, Kim clearly had the ability to make any outfit look amazing on her. That’s proven by how, at 15, she takes this simple dark suit and looks ready to walk it down a runway. This was from a party for Kendall where Kim was no doubt the center of some attention. She looks so much different, yet retains the magical aura she’d use in the future.
16 Sweet Sixteen
A Kardashian Sweet 16 event today would be a huge multi-media showcase that would double as a million-dollar party. Back in 1993, Kim’s was a smaller affair, but still great. Of course, she was given a new car and is shown above celebrating it with mom Kris (who’s truly rocking a ‘90s suit). Instead of a lavish meal, the family just had dinner at an Italian restaurant. It’s more intimate than future Kardashian parties, a reminder Kim had a simpler life once.
15 Sister Bond
It’s easy to forget that Kim is not the oldest of the Kardashian sisters. Kourtney is a year ahead of her even though Kim has often taken the “big sister” road. They’ve always been close as seen on numerous TV shows. This pic from Kim’s 16th birthday party has the pair looking much different than today, both in appearance and fashion sense. They’re just two sisters getting along and that family bond hasn’t changed.
14 USC Gal
Kim made headlines in 2019 by announcing she was following in her father’s footsteps and attending law school. Robert Kardashian had graduated from the University of Southern California so it’s only natural the rest of the family counts it as an alma mater. Kim showcases that by attending a 2008 party in a bold USC shirt. While she didn't go there herself, Kim could have been a big name on campus.
13 Bright Smile
Today, Kim’s smiles tend to be soft and mischievous. This pic of her circa age 16 showcases a beautifully bright smile that lights up the room. It’s aided by her in a new car, with the sunlight streaming in, prompting laughter that looks infectious. It’s fun to see Kim acting like any other kid, enjoying herself rather than being the busy wife/mother/law student she is today.
12 Teen Spirit
Believe it or not, even Kim Kardashian was once an awkward teenager. That’s proven by this pic of her in a dark gray top and necklace, with her face lacking the maturity we know her for today. She still has exotic features and lush dark hair, but she's noticeably much younger. It shows that even the biggest knockouts of today were once the kids you’d pass by in school without second notice.
11 Christmas Morning
A Kardashian Christmas today is a wild event that’s often shown on their TV shows. It can involve scores of expensive gifts and some major fashions showcases. That’s why it’s fun to see this younger Kim in a fun outfit featuring holiday-themed pajamas and an antler cap. Her huge smile showcases how Kim is just having a blast– a reminder how Christmas brings out the kid in all of us.
10 Daddy's Girl
Robert Kardashian was an attorney well known for being part of O.J. Simpson’s defense team. He passed away in 2003, unaware of the massive fame his family would have beyond him. Kim has talked warmly of her father and this pic of them together shows how they got along pretty great. Kim’s bright young smile shows how she and her father were close when he was around.
9 They Can’t All Be Winners
Today, Kim is seen as a major fashion icon and influencer. However, it took a while for her to get there. This 2007 outfit is one the Kim of today wouldn’t be caught dead in today. The garish yellow top clashes with her plain dark jeans and open yellow sandals. Not to mention how it looks like the whole outfit came from JCPenney, not the high-class stores Kim shops from today.
8 Bocce Ball
When the Kardashians hit Las Vegas in 2008, it was expected they’d do the usual bits of hitting up casinos and parties. Instead, Kim insisted on playing bocce. The unique ball game isn’t majorly popular, but Kim still looked good joining her family in playing a game. She and mom Kris seem to have a good time and it’s a fun showcase of how Kim could have fun in any setting.
7 Dancing Gal
It’s oddly forgotten how Kim was once on Dancing with the Stars. She appeared in season 7 in 2008, just as Keeping Up was taking off. She was teamed with Mark Ballas and did her best to show off her nice form on the dance floor. In a surprise, she was eliminated in the third week. Kim later admitted she “felt like an idiot” doing the show, but at least she looked spectacular in this outfit.
6 Get A Foot Up
Kim’s love of shoes is quite well known. She wears everything from heels that cost more than some cars to high-end tennis shoes. This 2007 event had Kim showing off a slick winter boot that clashes with her outfit. The other black heel boot is a contrast, but her goofy smile shows Kim knows how good she looks, flaunting some leg with that large boot.
5 Phone Home
It’s astounding to see the evolution of phone technology since 2007. Back then, the idea of seeing tweets and sharing photos seemed impossible, let alone everything else we can do today. Kim showed how well she could handle it early, snapping this fun pic of her at a Samsung event. By today’s standards, the phone may be a bit backward, yet Kim seems ready to use it for the posts she’s become famous for today.
4 Let Them Eat Cake
Kim maintains a very strict diet today. When your fame rests on how stunning you look, it’s only natural you don’t pile on the sweets. Back in 2007, she wasn’t so careful as proven by this pic of her at a party chowing down on some cake. Kim might partake in sweets today, but not to the point of sticking out her tongue.
3 Smooth Skating
Kim is famous for her great fitness routine. She’ll often post photos of herself in yoga pants while working out hard at the gym. But she once went for lighter sports as evidenced by this 2007 pic of her taking a ride on roller skates. She handles herself well with a fun 90’s style outfit, complete with large gold chains. It shows just how much fun Kim could have before her rise to fame.
2 Party Girls
Before her infamous tape, Kim rose to popularity hanging out with Paris Hilton. The two were very good friends who would hit numerous parties and events. This pic shows them together, with Kim in a hot red dress, clearly having a great time. Paris matches her in a nice silver outfit. The two have had some issues in the last few years, but this is a reminder of how close they once were.
1 School Girl
At a 1993 eighth-grade graduation party, Kim talked to a friend with a video camera and made a bold prediction. “Does everyone get a tape of this? Because I hope you do, so you can see me when I’m famous and old [and] you’ll remember me as this beautiful little girl.” Sure enough, the video has made the rounds as it showcases how, even at this young age, Kim was prepared to be one of the most famous women in the world.
Sources: Instagram, Twitter, Buzzfeed, People.com