So it was with more familiarity than curiosity that I approached Kris and Bruce Jenner's home last Tuesday morning. Driving up to the guardhouse of their gated Hidden Hills, Calif., community, I recognized the Spanish-style house by the army of cars parked alongside the white fence. I was shown through the attached garage, where the models were prepping to wear pieces from Kris' first line, QVC's Kris Jenner Kollection (not to be confused with Kim, Khloe and Kourtney's upcoming Kardashian Kollection for Sears).
Inside, I walked through a hallway lined top-to-bottom with black-and-white portraits of Jenner, her six children and her husband. Kris came downstairs at 8:30 sharp for her portrait, her stylist Monica trailing behind holding an extra pair of shoes and some scarves. "I've been up since 4:30 a.m.," she said, not an eyelash out of place, her light pink lip gloss and white manicure flawless. It took all of five minutes to get the shot in her neutral-hued Hollywood Regency-style living room, during which one FedEx delivery arrived at the front door -- announced by the sound of the "Keeping Up" theme song programmed as the doorbell tone.
While Jenner went back upstairs to change for a second portrait, I sat in her immaculate kitchen sipping bottled water. One of her younger daughters, Kylie or Kendall, not sure which, came downstairs in her T-shirt and boxers to grab food from the fridge. A shorts-clad Bruce Jenner also passed through. Clearly they're both used to strangers sitting at their breakfast bar. When Kris reemerged in her favorite burgundy trench from the collection, she made equally quick time shooting the second set-up on the pool patio, ("I want to tweet about this, I am so excited," she said between poses) then picked up her BlackBerry (covered with a plastic leopard print protector) and joined me back at the breakfast bar.
"Honey, could you turn the water off? We're doing a taped interview," she asked Bruce as he filled a mug over the sink.
"No water, we are not at the beach," she said into my recorder gingerly.
You can't help but feel you're talking to a powerhouse businesswoman and your mom at the same time when sitting face-to-face with Jenner. It's also hard not to stare at her enormous eyes, which she passed on to her daughters. "You have to take care of everyone else first. That's just me as a mom and manager, but it's also about being patient and waiting for exactly the right time," she said of the decision to launch her line after her daughters'.
"I know, I never say no to anything and I do dream big, but this is so exciting for me. I mean, it's my first line and my first photo shoot for it."
While she still loves her Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Stella McCartney, Temperley and Ralph Lauren, Jenner seems tickled to wear and sell her own label. "The collection has a lot of my signature black, but it also makes me happy to put colors in there. And I love a crisp white shirt. If you have a great sleeveless black dress, throw a crisp white shirt under there and you have a whole new look. White shirt. Boyfriend blazer. Leggings. Once everyone has that, there are so many amazing pieces coming."
She insisted the E network show will continue "as long as fans are still excited to see it."
And it helps the family as designers. "We get to work together every day and that's where we get some of our inspirations," she said. "The other day, we were talking and it occurred to me I needed a great pencil skirt in my collection. So I got right on the phone with the designers and said, 'Let's do a pencil skirt!' That's what makes life so amazing -- when you can draw from one another. It's the way it works in my family."