Last week, news came out via a cover story in Vogue that Kim Kardashian West is throwing us, dare I say, her most criminally good curveball yet: she's studying to take the bar exam in 2022.
For those of us able to wrap our minds around the idea of beauty queen and accredited lawyer not being mutually exclusive concepts, the revelation may have felt like less of a shock. After all, West has shown us time and again her interest in addressing inequalities in the legal system, successfully advocating for the pardon of Alice Johnson, a great-grandmother who'd been serving a life sentence without parole for a non-violent offense, as well as partnering with organizations that help formerly incarcerated folks overcome hiring stigma. Coupled with the fact she was raised with an appreciation for the law, it hardly comes as a surprise that she'd be seeking to thus legitimize her passion for criminal justice reform.
Considering West has already amassed more than her share of financial fortune, she has no incentive to become a lawyer — which will involve studying a required minimum of 18 hours a week for the next four years, on top of running her franchise and raising four children — other than this drive to "do more by knowing more," and ultimately to help underrepresented people. Of course, it goes without saying that she comes from a place of immense privilege and social capital — but she's choosing, completely of her own volition, to wield that capital in a way that will benefit others.
Not everyone on the interwebs, though, saw the value in that. "Why make a mockery of the hard work, diligence, respectability, and INTELLIGENCE it takes to become a lawyer? You can have ambition, but not too much. Please stay in your lane," wrote one critic in a tweet that's since been liked hundreds of times.
In response to her critics, West shared a lengthy statement that (fittingly) defended her choices on Instagram.
"For anyone assuming this is the easy way out, it’s not," she continued. "My weekends are spent away from my kids while I read and study. I work all day, put my kids to bed and spend my nights studying. There are times I feel overwhelmed and when I feel like I can’t do it but I get the pep talks I need from the people around me supporting me."
"I changed my number last year and disconnected from everyone because I have made this strict commitment to follow a dream of mine," she shared. "It’s never too late to follow your dreams."
Too often, it's easy to allow the noise and distractions of everyday life to come between where we are and where we'd like to be. As West illustrates here, for many people, one of the most difficult steps in committing to the actualization of a dream is blocking out that noise. But it's a step that's essential to learn, as most entrepreneurs who've gone on to be successful, like Arlan Hamilton, will tell you. As founder and managing partner of the venture capital fund Backstage Capital, Hamilton built her empire from a much different starting point than Kardashian — while homeless. At a recent event in New York City, she shared what helped her get to a place of being able to, brick by brick, turn her dream of starting a VC fund into reality; and her advice was, in essence, quite similar to West's.
"As much as I speak and I love being around people and hearing about their journeys, I spend the majority of my time alone," Hamilton said. "I started this fund after years of working on it every single day of the week, every waking hour... You do have these toxic people in your life who say 'if you win, I can't,' and those people need to be deleted and blocked."
Though Hamilton has succeeded despite having countless more obstacles stacked against her than someone of Kardashian's status, there remains at least one similar thread between the two women's narratives: the need to define a goal, parse out who and what will help you reach it, and silence the rest. Once you're able to commit to taking this step, a dream becomes that much more attainable — and that's sound advice for any ambitious woman to follow.
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