“Where’s Kylie?” asked the sundrunk and just drunkdrunk shirtless man wandering around the inside of the open-air club. “I wanna ram her ass!”
With friends like these at her 18th birthday party, Kylie Jenner hardly needs enemies. And yet, as I tried to enter Beachclub, the party venue selected to host her “official” bash, I found myself in a state of unexpected animosity with the mysterious forces controlling the public image of America’s most recognizable teen.
A few days prior, a fellow freelancer had posted in a Facebook group saying she had been hired to cover the party by a well-known celebrity news magazine. A conflict in her schedule had come up, she couldn’t make it, did anyone want to volunteer for a decent pay check on what should be an easy gig? A few quotes and observations, so the magazine could write it up. I took it.
Headlines had declared that Jenner would be spending her 18th birthday in Montreal, in order to take advantage of our 18-and-you’re-good-to-go drinking age. This turned out to be false on two fronts. Her actual birthday had already passed a week before, on August 10, so she had already celebrated with parties in Los Angeles and Mexico. Second of all, Beachclub, the venue that had offered somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 for the honor of giving her the chance to get legally drunk, was not in Montreal but in the tiny town of Pointe-Calumet, about 45 minutes northwest of the city by car.
And there was one more reversal: “Your access was revoked,” the PR employee at the media registration desk told me. Besides having signed up as media, I’d bought a ticket. If I tried to attend on that ticket with the general public, she said, “Security will remove you.”
A large person ushered me to the parking lot, where I was welcome to call my editor. “We’ve said some things about the Jenners they might not like,” she told me.
With the help of my girlfriend, who had gotten into the club on an assignment on her own, I was able to make my case to a member of the club’s marketing staff. “This is coming from the Jenner camp,” he said. “We approved your magazine’s media request, but once they saw the media list, they had us revoke it. But look, we want to be on your magazine’s good side.” He gave me a general admission wristband and instructed me to keep my head down and not look like a reporter.
Once I had made my way inside, I was greeted by an industrial-size birthday card wishing Kylie a “Happy Birthday/Joyeux Anniversaire,” on which people were encouraged to scribble some congratulations. Many admirers took the opportunity to beg for her to follow them on Instagram or Twitter. One genius seemed to confuse Jenner with Roger Goodell, marking a prominent #freebrady.
Located on the same lake as a family oriented beach and a water park, Beachclub is essentially rural Quebec’s take on a Las Vegas pool party. Lots of tribal tattoos, lots of perpetually wedgied bikini bottoms and a lot of Habs and Expos shirts/swim trunks and ink. With a population of just over 6,000, Pointe-Calumet is hardly a hotspot. Judging by the amount of English being spoken amidst the heavily French town, most people had driven in from the city and its suburbs for the occasion.
As a DJ blasted generic party beats, revelers drank overpriced Bud Light cans, indulged in bottle service, and puffed on the occasional hookah. As the sun beat down in the afternoon sky, the question kept coming up: “When’s Kylie getting here?”
With tickets ranging from $60 to $150 in our puny Canadian dollars, it was a fair question.
An hour past her scheduled 3:30 appearance, a helicopter buzzed the beach. It apparently landed on the far side of the lake, where she transferred to a speedboat. We plebians pushed against the VIP barrier, craning for a look. We might still have the Queen of England on our money, but how often do you get a glimpse of bonafide multimedia royalty?
And there she was, in a brightly patterned minidress, under a heavy escort. She was led through the crowd to the lone roofed structure on the site to change clothes, then loaded into an SUV for the 50-foot drive back to the VIP section. She emerged, now in a plain white crop-top-and-miniskirt combo, in a cordoned-off balcony area which even those who had paid premium VIP rates were blocked off from. Surrounded by angry-looking security guards, bros in baseball hats, and waitresses in swimsuits, she sipped the occasional fruity looking cocktail, greeted a few club hanger-ons, and took a few selfies.
A club staffer passed her a mic, and she graced the adoring throng that had descended below her with some words of wisdom:
And that was it. With those two geographically inaccurate words, the crowd interaction portion of the Kylie Jenner experience was at an end. The Kardashian-Jenner clan is famous for inhabiting the world, and she was there to inhabit this particular piece of world. For the next three hours the dance floor was ignored as the crowd—the Montreal Gazette put attendance at 8,000, but it seemed like much fewer— rubbernecked at a mentally checked-out young lady who was idly standing around.
Oh. We also sang her happy birthday as she was presented with a birthday cake—a multitiered, gold and silver painted monstrosity prepared by a local baker—whose price tag reportedly came to $3,000. It was barely tasted by anyone famous. No sooner was it presented than Jenner’s entourage was throwing it into the crowd, where most of it was trampled underfoot.
And then she was off, whisked away in that ubiquitous black SUV. Kylie had been the only member of the Kardashian Kontingent present. No Kim, Kourtney, Kris, and definitely no Kanye. Not even a Tyga showed in the roughly three hours Kylie spent at her own birthday party. For someone who was finally legal allowed to drink in La Belle Province, she hardly did her family’s party-hearty legacy justice.
She did not take her oversized birthday card with her.
It was hard to imagine why her PR team had cared about barring the magazine from seeing it. There was nothing to see. It was as if they had feared a bad review of existence.
On Saturday, Beachclub will try to maintain its publicity momentum with special guest Justin Bieber.
Image from Getty. Adam Kovac is a freelance journalist in Montreal whose work has been published in VICE, Cosmo, Maisonneuve, The Toronto Star, AskMen, The Montreal Gazette and The Hockey News. He does not keep up with the Kardashians.