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In ‘American Horror Story,’ Kim Kardashian Skims the Floor

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Kim Kardashian is a actuality star, a tabloid sensation, a prison-reform advocate, a magnificence and shapewear mogul and a former video vixen. As of Wednesday evening, she can be a member of the Ryan Murphy prolonged universe, with a sequence common function in FX’s “American Horror Story: Delicate.” (It’s also streaming on Hulu.) She performs Siobhan, the high-gloss publicist employed by Emma Roberts’s Anna Victoria Alcott, an actress making an attempt an Oscar marketing campaign as she undergoes a 3rd cycle of in vitro fertilization.

Siobhan first seems in an impossibly huge Manhattan workplace, silhouetted towards a view that makes downtown high-rises seem like so many Lego towers. Immaculately groomed and completely self-possessed, Siobhan bestrides the world of public relations like an expertly contoured colossus. Her jacket is an unholy mixture of blazer and bustier. Her earrings are deconstructed McDonald’s arches. Her ponytail scrapes the sky.

Her first line, a menace aimed on the directing duo the Daniels (“All the things In every single place All at As soon as”), is gleefully profane and wholly unpublishable. She follows it with, “It’s exhausting being higher than everybody,” although she doesn’t sound exhausted in any respect.

All through the episode, Siobhan’s face stays easy, untroubled, even when Anna receives cryptic threats, like a doll in her likeness with a black X on its tummy, left for her within the inexperienced room of “Watch What Occurs Reside With Andy Cohen.”

“Oh my God, Andy’s so humorous,” Siobhan says, barely trying up from her cellphone. In the event you may bottle her blasé, it will promote for greater than Crème de la Mer.

Kardashian’s entry into semi-prestige tv was not precisely an auspicious one. “American Horror Story: Delicate” continued taking pictures even after the Writers Guild of America had licensed its strike. Most different exhibits had shut down — in solidarity, to keep away from crossing picket traces — however “Delicate” persevered, regardless of vociferous protests outdoors Silvercup Studios in Queens, the place the sequence was filmed.

Seemingly unaware of the battle, Kardashian despatched a tweet in mid-June: “Hello guys! I’m on set of AHS and we’ve got a while between pictures. What are you all as much as????”

The actor and author Joel Kim Booster had maybe the driest response: “Picketing, Kim.”

Whether or not or not you think about Kardashian an actress probably is dependent upon your opinion of the reality worth of the unscripted present that made her well-known, “Holding Up With the Kardashians,” which ran on E! from 2007 to 2021. A associated sequence, “The Kardashians,” premiered on Hulu final 12 months. (It returns for a brand new season subsequent week.)

In her different tv and movie appearances, she has principally performed herself. (An exception, in tones which have shifted through the years from horny child to elegant gravel: voice-overs for “PAW Patrol: The Film” and “American Dad!”) However Murphy has an extended historical past of diva-forward stunt casting. Previous “American Horror Story” individuals have included Naomi Campbell, Stevie Nicks, Girl Gaga, Patti LaBelle. Kardashian, in her fitted outfits, suits proper in.

That is her first look within the horror style, until you rely the house tour she offered to Vogue in 2019. (Keep in mind that sink?) How her character contributes to the bigger story, which appears to middle on Anna’s fertility and a black-clad beldam performed by Julie White, stays unknown. To date, Siobhan appears designed to dismiss Anna’s fears and anxieties, an odd function for a lady who has fought to be taken critically and has had horrific experiences mocked.

And but, there may be an beautiful symmetry in casting Kardashian as a publicist, a girl wholly involved with surfaces. Kardashian is a grasp of self-presentation who has made her face and determine into a number of fortunes. One of many truest issues her former husband Kanye West ever mentioned was to GQ in 2014: “As a way to win at life, you want some Kim Ok expertise, interval.” However that face has its limitations. In her scenes as Siobhan, her plump lips open and shut. Her lashes often flutter. In any other case these lovely options don’t transfer. Kardashian suggests the polished stillness of a mountain lake or new veneers: excellent, uncanny.

In a teaser for the show, posted Wednesday, Kardashian seems in a white-blonde wig, with crimson lips, an undead pallor and the false eyelashes usually favored by Liza Minnelli impersonators. “Anytime you attempt one thing, you simply need to have the intention of rising and difficult your self,” she tells the digital camera in a behind-the-scenes clip. “You then simply type of launch and have enjoyable.”

She doesn’t look as if she have been having enjoyable. She appears to deal with the sequence with the identical unblinking resolve she applies to any enterprise enterprise — curated sneakers, shapewear, an emoji app. Is that this appearing? Is it being? In a task that has thus far concerned pecking at a cellphone and murmuring in regards to the Time 100 in a raspy drawl, does the distinction even matter? This confusion of particular person and persona can be a Kim Ok talent. Does that scare you?