When Kylie Jenner named her baby Stormi in Feb. 2018, Kristen Starkowski GS was adamant that no one make fun of the baby’s name. She suggested to Allegra Martschenko ’20 that the two start a club on campus to show their support for the Kardashians.
“I thought it was a joke, but then [Starkowski] started immediately researching everything, and I was like, ‘this is not a joke,’” said Martschenko, who serves as “ko-president” of the club with Starkowski.
And it wasn’t a joke.
Within a few days, the group had an active membership. Within a week, it hosted its first event. And within a month, it was approved by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, becoming one of three new clubs on campus.
Starkowski explained that the club — which boasts 137 members in its GroupMe — is motivated by how the Kardashians live.
“We really appreciate the lifestyle the Kardashians live — how they live in the moment and all the fun things that they do — and I think there’s a lot to be said about how we can emulate those actions in everyday life,” she explained.
So Starkowski and Martschenko strive to plan “silly, fun activities” for the members.
“If you watch an episode, the Kardashians are always having a good time. They’re always appreciating life and everything around them,” said Starkowski. “Of course, they’re rich. We’re not rich, but we can definitely model that orientation towards life.”
The group recreates famous Kardashian photos and holds regular “kontests” in which members win Kardashian-themed prizes for the best Kardashian-themed meme or selfie (following Kim Kardashian’s selfie tips, of course). Winners of the kontests are featured with a Kardashian-themed prize on the group’s Instagram.
Some of these kontests have included members submitting the best life advice that a Kardashian has given, taking a selfie — like Kendall Jenner did — in front of books, or recreating a photo of Kim Kardashian with noodles hanging out of her mouth.
“It can be hard to constantly think of original things to be doing, but that’s where we can find inspiration from the Kardashian lifestyle. They’ve been going on for 14 seasons, always doing something new,” Starkowski said.
For the first event as a club, they watched a new episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and ate burgers and fries in honor of Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy cravings. For another study break, the group enjoyed ice cream while putting on face masks on Poe Field. Recently, the club held a study break where members colored in Kardashian-themed adult coloring books.
“Whenever we form for study breaks, I think it’s all of us all appreciating that we can take a break from our schoolwork to get together in a very low-stress environment,” Martschenko said.
The pair originally found members by sending out emails to different residential college listservs, but, overall, they explained that their membership essentially created itself when people started including their friends.
Despite the large membership, the community is tight-knit. Martschenko had messaged the GroupMe to try to find a roommate for room draw, and another member even asked about a roommate to live with in New York City next year.
“Any time I have nothing to do, I love scrolling through the GroupMe. It literally makes my day everytime, and I feel like there’s such a strong community among the members,” said Taylor Baur ’20, a member of the club. “We’re literally a squad.”
Starkowski attributed the sense of community to the active GroupMe and study breaks.
“You see each other over and over again at the study breaks, and you come to really get to know the people,” she said.
The ko-presidents noted that the club has faced some criticism and people making jokes out of it. But, just like the Kardashians, Starkowski explained that they don’t care too much about what other people think.
“We like what we’re doing, we’re having a fun time, and if people want to make fun of it, if that’s how they want to spend their time, then so be it,” continued Starkowski. “Just like how the Kardashians don’t read their criticism on their Twitters and Instagrams, just be you, you know.”
Going forward, the ko-presidents would like to keep the club’s momentum strong. According to Starkowski, the club has been approached by students at other universities who are interested in starting similar groups.
But a main goal, at least for Starkowski and Martschenko, includes trying to attract the attention of the Kardashians. They even made a Twitter, noting that the Kardashians seem more active on Twitter than other social media platforms.
Until that day comes, though, the group is just going to continue keeping up with the Kardashians.