Kim Kardashian Makes Scripted TV Debut in American Horror Story: Delicate

Ethan Sutton ‘27 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

FX’s American Horror Story is an anthology series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk that follows a different set of characters in a new setting each season. Most seasons are loosely based on historical American tragedies. American Horror Story: Delicate – Part 1 is the first part of the show’s highly anticipated twelfth installment, adapted from Danielle Valentine’s book Delicate Condition. It is also the first season where the theme is derived from a book instead of a historical event. Delicate is the most toned-down version of American Horror Story to date. While this season occasionally shifts the show’s usual character interplay, it keeps its distinctively unsettling style intact. Extracting horror from a modern setting provides audiences with a refreshing change of pace.

Set in New York City, Delicate follows Anna Alcott (Emma Roberts), an up-and-coming movie star who grapples with infertility issues and fame. After she undergoes a second round of IVF treatments from Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), Anna begins seeing visions of supernatural chimera, causing her to question her perception of reality. These distorted mirages include a mystery surrounding her husband Dex’s (Matt Czuchry) previous marriage, visions of an apparent stalker, and a suspicious recurring Nurse Ivy (Cara Delevigne). Anna receives support from her friend and publicist, Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian), who pushes Anna out of her comfort zone, aiming for her to secure an Academy Award nomination.

Kardashian—a reality TV star, prison reform advocate, and beauty entrepreneur—is known for being one of the most influential people of the twenty-first century, not an actress. Therefore, she has received mixed reviews for her role in the new season. The New York Post wrote, for example, “Kim Kardashian brutally slammed for ‘AHS’ performance: ‘Terrible actress.’” Fans of the show would agree with this statement. But it makes sense for Kardashian to play the role of Siobhan. If anyone knows how to be vulnerable in front of the camera, it is her. It appears Kardashian is reflecting her ‘momager’ Kris Jenner’s energy as inspiration for the character. In retrospect, Siobhan and Jenner serve as the underlying means of success for their clients. Fans of the Kardashian-Jenner business empire and television franchise have praised Kim Kardashian’s performance for being, in summary, smooth, unapologetic, and occasionally threatening—as if the role was written specifically for her. As she appears silhouetted against a Manhattan backdrop, the first line Kardashian delivers insinuates a wanton threat to the Academy Award-winning directing duo Daniels. “Then tell the Daniels to suck my c**t. She’s not missing a press day for a f**king commercial shoot,” says Kardashian’s Siobhan. This gives viewers a clear representation of Siobhan’s personality and business-first intentions.

Murphy reportedly cast Kardashian following her impressive hosting gig on NBC’s late-night sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live. Her monologue surprised fans and viewers alike, as she aimed at her family members and their tumultuous history.

On the other hand, if Kardashian had not been cast for the role of Siobhan, it likely would have gone to Leslie Grossman, who has portrayed various high-powered business-savvy women (like Siobhan) in past seasons. However, showrunner Ryan Murphy is no stranger to making bold casting decisions. In his Emmy award-winning horror anthology, he’s cast notable figures such as Lady Gaga as The Countess (The Countess, AHS: Hotel), Macaulay Culkin (Mickey, AHS: Double Feature), and Angelica Ross (Donna Chambers, AHS: 1984; The Chemist/Theta, AHS: Double Feature). Gaga’s portrayal of The Countess earned her a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film. It jumpstarted her acting career where she later starred in A Star is Born, House of Gucci, and now as Harley Quinn in the upcoming sequel Joker: Folie à Deux. Kim Kardashian is simply the newest star to join Murphy’s cinematic universe. Her casting seems to belong in the same realm as Gaga’s and is indicative of Murphy’s ability to identify unexpected talent and provide themes with a platform to thrive. While critics may question Kim Kardashian’s acting abilities, Murphy’s track record of casting decisions shows that he sees potential where others might not. Moreover, Murphy often challenges traditional Hollywood expectations, introducing people of unconventional backgrounds who bring unique perspectives to his universe. Kardashian’s introduction to acting under Ryan Murphy’s direction could redefine her career for those who are doubtful, similar to Gaga’s. As a viewer, how the show unfolds will be interesting.

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