SHE’S the woman who makes Paris Hilton seem shy, retiring and misunderstood. The proud owner of a bottom so generous and rounded that it makes J-Lo’s look like a sad, deflated balloon. A member of a family so unhinged and dysfunctional that, in comparison, the Osbournes seem well-adjusted, everyday folk. And a bride whose marriage was so short-lived that wedding guests were still digesting the cake when the divorce papers were filed.

I am, of course, talking about Kim Kardashian, an American reality TV star who has found fame and made a considerable fortune despite having no discernable talent.

She is the main star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a fly-on-the-wall series about the exploits of her extended family, which has become a huge hit.

But now Kim has been singled out by a British headmistress as a splendid example of all that is wrong with Western society.

Dr Helen Wright, the head of St Mary’s School, an exclusive girls’ boarding school, made her claim after one men’s magazine branded Kardashian “the hottest woman in the world”. A fuming Wright said: “The hottest woman in the world? Really? Is this what we want our young people to aim for? Is this what success should mean to them?”

She also accused Kim of making her fortune from “meanness, scandal and boundary-less living”.

Harsh words indeed, but for those who have never succumbed to the guilty TV pleasure that is Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim remains something of a mystery.

So here, for the uninitiated, is everything you need to know about the woman who won’t be getting a Christmas card from Wright.

It’s a family affair

Kim, 31, is the middle daughter of Kris Jenner and the late Robert Kardashian, who was famous for being OJ Simpson’s defence lawyer.

She is sister to Kourtney and Khloe and, yes, it is a family rule that all female names must start with a K and, wherever possible, be mis-spelt. Krazy. They also have a brother called Rob, but no one is interested in him.

Her mother Kris is now married to Bruce Jenner, a former athlete who won a gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. Kris and Bruce have two teenage daughters called Kendall and Kylie (again, note the Ks.)

The whole family can be seen on Keeping Up with the Kardashians on the E! channel. Now in its fifth year, the action is centred on the family’s naff Los Angeles mansion, which is filled with oversized plants and undersized, yappy dogs.

It is here the Kardashians live, laugh, fight and compare plastic surgery.

You name it, she’ll endorse it

Keeping Up with the Kardashians first aired when Kim was 26. Before that, she had achieved… absolutely nothing.

Never having worked a day in her life, she was just another rich, indulged trust-fund princess who spent her days shopping at malls and her nights falling out of clubs.

Her big break came when she was offered the reality show after being seen about town with her equally talented friend, Paris Hilton.

Oh, and a sex tape of her appeared on the internet.

Once the programme took off, so did Kim’s career.

Of course, like all independent businesswomen, she marked her success by stripping for Playboy. After that she endorsed everything from cupcakes and lollipops to jewellery and jeans.

Small parts in a variety of B-list movies proved that she had the acting skills of a wooden spoon. Attempts at becoming a pop star quickly faltered following the release of her one and only single, Jam.

An unimpressed critic from America’s Daily News called the song: “A dead-brained piece of generic dance music, without a single distinguishing feature performed by the worst singer in the reality TV universe.” Ouch.

The bootylicious body

Just 1.57m tall, Kim is known for her Jessica Rabbit-style curves and dresses chosen to show them off at every opportunity.

She has a generously proportioned chest, but it is her quite extraordinary shelf-like derriere that is the real talking point. Way out of proportion to the rest of her body and so deep you could stack books on it, it’s no wonder Kim has been accused of having bum implants.She swears it’s God-given.

Kim also insists that she has had no facial work done, meaning that – with a nose that has grown smaller and slimmer over the years, while her lips get fuller and poutier – she is, quite simply, a biological miracle.

The nano-marriage

Just six months after meeting 2.06m tall basketball star Kris Humphries, Kim was engaged to him. He proposed in the south of France with a giant 20.5-carat ring and, as good fortune would have it, TV cameras were there to capture the whole romantic scene.

Naturally, their lavish wedding ceremony – for which Kim wore a £15 000 (about R195 000) Vera Wang dress – was screened on TV.

The couple then flogged their wedding photos to People magazine for £1 million.

Just 72 days later, the marriage was all over, with Kim citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Some cruel cynics (including the groom) suggested that it was nothing more than a publicity stunt dreamed up by Kardashian to boost her profile and TV ratings.

However, in an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a broken-hearted Kim sobbed as she explained how upset she was by the split. She was even upset enough to repeat the tear-stained performance for a further three takes.

The other also-rans

Aged 19, Kim eloped to Las Vegas to marry record producer Damon Thomas and the marriage lasted a whole three years – a lifetime by her standards.

When asked recently to describe his former wife, Damon did so in the following affectionate terms: “She is a lying, cheating, plastic surgery-loving fame-whore.” How sweet.

Kim then hooked up with Jennifer Lopez’s former husband, dancer Cris Judd, before dating a rapper called Ray J and American footballers Reggie Bush and Miles Austin.

After the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it marriage to Kris Humphries, there was a fling with Gabriel Aubrey, Halle Berry’s male model ex, but for the past three months she has been dating American rap star Kanye West, who has even hinted that he is stupid enough to become husband number three.

Sex, lies and diet pills

Her second, flash-in-the-pan marriage wasn’t the only furore Kim has found herself at the centre of.

In 2007, some cad leaked a sex tape of the unknown Kim and her then boyfriend, American rapper Ray J.

Four years earlier, Kim’s pal Paris Hilton had also been the unfortunate victim of a leaked sex tape – something that led to her landing her own reality TV show.

By an extraordinary coincidence, the deal for Keeping Up with the Kardashians was signed a few weeks after Kim’s tape appeared online.

When a video company copied the tape from the internet and released it as a film, an outraged Kim decided to take legal action, demanding it be pulled from sale.

In the end, she dropped the action and settled for £3m.

Now it’s Kim’s turn to be sued. A group of New York women have launched a £3m lawsuit against her and her sister, Kourtney, for endorsing diet pills.

The siblings appeared in billboard adverts for Quick Trim, under the delightful slogan “Burn it up, flush it out”, and claimed that their enviable figures were due to the pills.

However, the disgruntled customers claim that, as the pills contain only caffeine, this could not be possible.

Money for nothing

Being famous for being famous can be a lucrative business. Kim is now worth an estimated £22m, making her the all-time richest TV reality star, with Forbes magazine calculating that she has earned £10m in the past year alone.

What’s more, the entire Kardashian clan have just signed a £25m deal to do another three seasons of their reality TV show.

On top of the TV work, Kim, also owns her own designer boutique, DASH in New York, as well as flogging a cheaper range – K Dash – on the home shopping TV channel QVC.

She currently endorses Sketchers body-toning trainers and Kotex pantyliners.

Sales of her namesake perfume earned her £4m, she has a range of swimwear called Beach Bunny and a workout video that goes under the title of Fit In Your Jeans By Friday.

On top of that, for a £7 000 fee she will also tweet about products to her 15 million followers on Twitter.

Nice work if you can get it.

– Daily Mail