Ever wondered what it’s like to be in a celebrity’s inner circle? In our series The Plus One, Arianna Davis offers a peek inside the world of assistants, backup dancers, BFFs, and other right hands to the world’s buzziest celebs. Check out the first installment here.
There are five sisters in the Kardashian-Jenner squad, an entourage recognisable by their monochromatic wardrobes, highlighted cheekbones, flowing hair, and the gaggle of cameras constantly by their sides. But sometimes, whether you're looking at the crew on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or in paparazzi photos, there appears to be a sixth sister, an additional member who blends in with similarly chiseled features, dark hair, and post-Yeezy era style.
Stephanie Shepherd isn't a Kardashian: She's the woman behind the most powerful one. Assistant to Kim since 2013, Shepherd has been responsible for everything from putting together North West's first strollers to getting Kim down the aisle in Italy. After Kim was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, it was Stephanie who escorted her onto a private plane home. For every appearance, glamorous vacation, and business launch, Shepherd has been quietly running the show. And this year, she was promoted to COO of Kardashian West Brands, meaning that she'll now also head up all of Kim's many, many business ventures outside of KUWTK.
When I meet Shepherd at the Beverly Hills estate she shares with her boyfriend, Apple Music head of content Larry Jackson, I expect her to be standoffish, a glamazon constantly glued to her iPhone. Instead, she's instantly warm, embracing me in a hug and inviting me to check out the gorgeous view she still can't believe she wakes up to every day. Talking on the patio, she's quiet and thoughtful, at times fidgeting nervously with her hands as if she's not used to being the centre of attention. She says "truly" a lot, any time she wants to emphasise a feeling. When she talks about moving to Los Angeles by herself at 19 after growing up the only child of a single mom in Ontario, Ohio, her eyes get wide; the small-town girl still seems surprised to find herself here.
She tells me everything about being the go-to for the most well known celebrity in America, from what Kanye's really like in person, to exactly how many support staff it takes to keep the family of four functioning, and more. And then we hop into her jet-black Audi A4 and cruise down Doheny Drive to Kim Kardashian West HQ. But first, she asks her assistant to order us some lunch for when we return. Not bad for a small town girl.