Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET on November 17, 2020.
Kim Kardashian West’s original vision for her 40th birthday was to fly all of her friends to Wyoming for a “wild, wild Miss West” party, where, one presumes, her signature taupe shapewear would complement the rocky vistas. But, as Kim said in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, “with COVID, I just don’t honestly feel like now is the time to celebrate anything.” Bummer—but not too big a bummer, because her family still organized an elaborate surprise bash at a studio in Los Angeles. Ponies, like the ones she rode for her first birthday, stood at the venue’s entrance, where attendees were made to take coronavirus tests. Sundaes were served at a mocked-up version of the diner Kim had partied at as an 8-year-old. The nightclub Tao, that hot 2000s palace of Patrón and EDM, was recreated in miniature. “All my favorite people were there—all my best friends and family,” Kim told E!’s cameras after smizing her way through this pop-up museum of her life. “And that’s really all that I needed.”
It was, however, clearly not all she needed. By now the internet is well aware that Kim also rang in her 40th year by flying dozens of people to a private tropical island. Attendees were not told where they were going, but they were told to quarantine beforehand and pack for sunny fun, as well as for three fancy dinners. In late October, when about 220,000 Americans had died from the coronavirus and 11 million were unemployed, Kim spammed social media with photos of beach banquets and boat rides. “I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time,” she wrote. “I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is.”