How Dare You?: Kim Kardashian’s 40th Birthday, An Investigation

Vicky Mochama
7 min readOct 28, 2020


The Kardashians have never met a vacation they didn’t take.

And so it was that Kimberly Noel Kardashian West’s family went to a private island for her 40th birthday. It is not going over well because no one wants or needs rich people to be happy, least of all to tell us about it.

On a regularly bleak Tuesday, Kim tweeted a thread that included this message: “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”

There were many photos. Photos of the family! Photos of Kim on the beach! Photos of Kim with normal people! Photos of a cake that wouldn’t make it past Cake Week on the Great British Bake-Off!

As a hater, I made a detailed study of the pictures both on Twitter and Instagram. In order to put some heft behind my hatering, I wanted to know: Where on Earth did they go?

I put on my Journalist hat.

One of the forty people in Kim’s inner circle happened to slip to TMZ all the details of the trip including, totally coincidentally I’m sure, some of the same wording that Kim used on Instagram. (Is TMZ in the closest inner circle?) This same person(s) also slipped to TMZ some choppily edited video of the closest inner circle getting on the Boeing 777 that had been chartered for the trip. In case, you’re wondering ‘chartered’ is how rich people say ‘rented.’

The video includes shots of the family and assorted hangers-on playing Uno, the fancy bucket seats on the plane, and shots of Kris Jenner’s situationship Corey Gamble chopping it up by the on-plane bar/social area. And would you look at that? There’s a logo of some kind on the front of said bar. I put my Journalist Magnifying Glasses on, took a screenshot and found an image of two seahorses separated by an arc of jewels. As they’re found in nature, of course.

ooooh pretty seahorses!

A Google Image reverse search found that the logo belongs to Crystal Cruises, a cruise ship firm that has a charter jet division named Crystal Aircruises. (See, rented jet does not have the same ring.) That jet is a Boeing-777 called Crystal Skye, a great name for a plane and also a OnlyFans star and also a popular self-published author.

However, the plane’s name is actually P4-XTL which, frankly, still works in all three scenarios but leads to slightly different outcomes. In any case, P4-XTL, or Miss Skye to friends, is the largest private tour jet in the world. And a girl like that doesn’t go places without getting noticed.

According to FlightRadar24, Miss Skye had recently flown between LAX, the Kardashians’ airport of choice, and Pape’ete, the capital city of French Polynesia. Unless this was a particularly expensive feint, Kim likely spent her 40th birthday in French Polynesia.

She once carried the Dallas Mavericks. Have you? No. Could you? Also no.

The number one Google Search result for “private island French Polynesia” is a resort called The Brando which is on Teti’aroa, an atoll that was once owned by actor and music video girl Marlon Brando, (“Private island” is rich people speak for “colonized.”) It also hosted Barack Obama who went there right after the inauguration for a month to write his memoir.

But it wouldn’t be this obvious, right? I had to do my due diligence and get some confirmation. I put on my Investigative Journalist scarf because it’s cold in my room.

In every closest inner circle, there is always one weak link. In this crew of forty, it is model and Kardashian sister Kendall Jenner who posted a video from the outdoor bar at the hotel. (Caption: “locations a secret.” Bless.) Someone else had helpfully been to the bar at the Brando and taken a Google Street View photo.

Seemingly, they’d sat in the exact same seat as Kendall because her view looks exactly like the view from the bar at The Brando. But in case you haven’t been to the tropics, you broke bitch, a lot of island bars have a grass roof that overlooks a beach.

Thus far, compelling but circumstantial. I put my Journalist socks on and wondered if I should turn on the heat yet even though I try to hold off until mid-November for reasons of money.

A shadoobie with a view.

Feet cozy, I checked against another video. Kendall again. This time, the beach was not as thrilling as the bathroom where Kendall spent some time getting a video of herself in a bikini. The line from the bar to thirsty self-admiration in a bathroom is a well-worn path regardless of wealth so this checks out. But it was the bathroom mirror that caught my eye. It’s a round mirror with a textured stone backsplash, which many of the bathrooms at The Brando have.

A round mirror and a beach bar is good but the Pulitzer committee is going to need to see more. We know that the family et al didn’t just lounge around drinking. Kim’s Insta caption mentions that they “rode bikes.” Our inside woman Kendall’s Instagram Story confirmed that they did.

Which looks quite a lot like an Instagram photo crossposted to the Brando’s website. Not only that. I’m no tree-ologist but the foliage also matches.

At this point, I’m wearing all my Journalist gear and, like Maury before me, I’m 99.9% certain that Kim Plus Closest Inner Circle spent a week at The Brando. But in order to put on my Award-Winning Investigative Journalist gold chain, I had to find one last detail.

This time, we go back to the birthday woman herself.

In one photo, Kim is standing in front of some stairs while in the background Kris and Corey do whatever it is Kris and Corey do. All of which is fine family fun but the most interesting part is the wood exterior on the left of the photo which matches the exterior of the main residence on the island, a place that both Google Maps and the resort let you walk through.

Chain on.

The Brando is unsurprisingly quite expensive. The main residence, for example, will run you a tight 17,000 Euros per night for you and five adults. Our girl Boeing 777 Crystal Skye can carry up to 88 people and the resort has room for even more than that. In this scenario, a closest inner circle is whatever your Skims cash can pay for.

So to the question of the day: how very dare she/they? Looking at the island, honestly, I would too. If you’re going to earn a spot in the guillotine line, let it be because you went to The Brando with a bunch of friends and noted Brampton man Tristan Thompson. I’ve been trapped in a motel room for 9 days and counting while I wait out a mandatory quarantine inside my own country and what I’ve learned is that I would strap myself to the underside of that big beauty Boeing-777 Miss Crystal Skye just to touch the waters off this island.

I want to be mad at Kim too. I want to feel that feeling of incandescent rage at the rich. But I’ve spent most of this pandemic in a complete fury about one thing or another. I’m spent. It is all everyone’s fault and it is no one’s fault. And it’s not really Kim’s fault (she whispers to the Cancellation Gods). It’s the fault of a world that has allowed Kim to amass enough money to rent a massive plane and book an island, and for Marlon Brando to have even ‘owned’ that island and for the people who live in French Polynesia to need people like the Kardashians to come to the islands, putting them all at risk just so that they don’t starve.

The only feeling I have left is surprise that Kim included Rob in her closest inner circle. It almost gives me hope.



Vicky Mochama

When I was 11, I lost a pair of black and white Adidas runners somewhere between Minneapolis and Chicago. My life's goal is to get them back. Those exact ones.