Exclusive: Kourtney Kardashian Tells Us Her Fitness Secrets
The lobby of the Westlake Four Seasons Hotel smells like eucalyptus and fresh mint leaves. Every woman coming in and out of the monolithic double doors is wearing a derby hat and cork wedges. “We’re running a little late,” a publicist tells me in an email. “We’ll come down and get you when Kourtney is ready.”
I’m told to help myself to whatever I want from the lobby café and charge it to Kourtney’s suite. I pick out a $12 cold-pressed juice—apple, lemon, and ginger—and an hour later, when Kourtney tells me it looks yummy and that she wants one, I have to hold back from smiling too wide at the thought that my choice is Kardashian-approved.
I’ve never met the president or the queen of England, but if I had to guess, I’d say the process is quite a lot like meeting a Kardashian. The Lincoln Town Car that picks you up from your house, the expensive hotel, the large team of security, producers, and publicists. I’ve been invited to interview Kourtney in honor of her new position as global brand ambassador for skincare brand Manuka Doctor. Even before I arrive at the Four Seasons, the occasion feels more formal than most interviews—I wear a dress with a zipper and properly curl my hair.
After reviewing my questions for half an hour or so, I am fetched from the lobby and led up to the seventh-floor suite. There, an agent with a ponytail holds out an iPad and asks me to sign. “It’s a release form, in case you end up on Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” she says, monotone. Apparently, everyone who interacts with the family has to sign one, since cameras are around all the time. “Just a formality.” I try to act casual as I pen a digital scribble with my forefinger.
For weeks, I’ve been strategizing how to make the most of my 20 minutes with Kourtney. Finally, I decide, to hell with it, I’m going to ask her every weird beauty question I’ve ever been truly curious to know about her and the rest of her superhuman family. Like, what food does she wish she could eat but can’t because she’s famous? What does it feel like to grow older in front of the entire world? And does she ever do her own hair and makeup, or does a glam squad literally sleep in her bathroom?
To my delight, Kourtney was game to answer. Keep scrolling to see how it all went down.
Kourtney’s suite is brightly lit and outfitted with classic American furnishings, a crystal chandelier. I wait for her on a floral loveseat, making small talk with a videographer from Keeping Up. “Your dress matches the couch,” he says. I can’t tell whether this is a good thing or not.
When Kourtney finally materializes from the bathroom, I am instantly blinded by her glossy ink-black hair. According to the transcript of our interview, the first words out of my mouth to her are “Your hair is so gloriously shiny.” (I remember phrasing this compliment with a bit more restraint, but I suppose the recording doesn’t lie.)
“Kardashian Black Seed Oil,” Kourtney responds without a beat, a true businesswoman to her core. She’s dressed in a fitted knit sweater and high-waisted leather pants, none of which matches the couch, and she’s carrying a tall glass of water. (She is a “freak” about water, she tells me, and obsessively counts her daily intake—12 glasses.)
Kourtney is tiny, even for a celebrity. In fact, a few weeks ago, I briefly crossed her path at a Manuka Doctor party in Los Angeles, where every time a guest wanted to take a photo with her, an assistant would slide an apple box under her feet to close the gap in height. Because I’m only an inch or two taller than her, I got to stand on the box with her.
“We’ve met before,” she says, taking a seat next to me.
“We have,” I beam.
Kourtney takes a sip of water as I launch into my first question. (Her demeanor is calm, unexcitable; she’s done this before.) To start, I ask her to name her most pressing anti-aging concern and what she does to address it. I’ve always been fascinated by the surreality of aging in the public eye. Kourtney is a mother of three now and 37 years old—though she doesn’t look it—nine years older than when Keeping Up premiered.
“I would say a little tightening is always good,” she says, naming under-eye gels (which she keeps in the fridge) as her go-to treatment. She also recommends the Manuka Doctor Rejuvenating Face Mask ($55), which she promises she genuinely loves. “I think just also getting proper rest and drinking tons of water help,” she says.
When I step up the water, I’ll instantly lose like two pounds in one day.
Kourtney believes any health, weight, or skin concern can be fixed with water. She wasn’t always like this, but over the last few years, she’s made a compulsion of adding up her daily ounces. “I swear there’s probably an app that counts your water, too,” she says. (There are many, actually; we recommend one called Waterlogged.)
“Whenever I notice that I’m feeling bloated or like I need to step up [my body] or something, it’s always because I’m not drinking enough water,” she says. “When I step up the water, I’ll instantly lose like two pounds in one day.” The logic? “Half the time when you’re hungry, you’re really thirsty,” she explains. “I mean, I eat constantly throughout the day, so I’m not saying don’t eat and just drink water, but I notice I eat less just because I’m so full from the water.”
Kourtney also swears by the stuff for keeping her immune system boosted, which is especially important for someone whose sick days could end up costing thousands of dollars. “I don’t take medicine at all,” she says.
I ask Kourtney if she’s become a connoisseur of water paraphernalia—special bottles, infusers, that sort of thing. “I do love glass water bottles,” she says. [As do we; Bkr bottles, $35, are the best.] “But for the gym, I don’t. I try to not use bottles at home, and drink from a glass. I have a filter—just for the environment, you know?”
As much as water is a constant in Kourtney’s life, so is working out. Figuring someone like Kourtney must be familiar with every type of fitness class and system on the market, I ask her to name her favorite and least favorite. “My favorite workout is at home with my trainer, because it’s fun,” she says. “I like being at my house. We go on the basketball court where my kids can play, and we turn on music. Khloé will usually come. The other day, I did one with Khloé and Rob. Or my friends Stephanie and Jen will come over. … We’ll usually do those on the weekends so we don’t feel like we’re torturing ourselves.” But even when she’s at home, Kourtney is committed to hitting her workouts hard. “Once in a while, we’ll try to do a full ab day where like half the workout is abs,” she says. “It’s intense.”
Kourtney isn’t shy about naming her least favorite workout. “SoulCycle—it’s just not for me,” she says. “I go in, I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing, no clue about turning that knob thing; I can’t tell the difference between one move and the next. It’s just so not for me.” I crack up at her honesty. “And the music is not for me,” she continues. “I don’t know, maybe I’ve been to the wrong classes—I’ve only tried it twice—and maybe I’ve had the wrong teacher. But every time I’ve been I’m like, Why on earth? How is everyone obsessed with this?”
Personally, I feel ambivalent about how hard celebrities have to work to maintain their physique. On one hand, I admire it. Who wouldn’t love to have a personal trainer, a basketball court, and the ability to dedicate their entire weekend to their abs? But on the other hand, I’m relieved my life doesn’t require me to stay in perfect shape all the time. So I have to ask Kourtney: If she could eat anything she wanted for one single meal, without regard to nutrition, what would it be?
I half expect Kourtney to fudge this answer, to say that steamed broccoli and rice is genuinely her favorite meal. But she hits me with more honesty. “I would eat McDonald’s fries,” she says. “And, ugh, in Nantucket they have the best hamburgers that I’ve ever had, at this place called Lola Burger. I would eat that with McDonald’s fries, and maybe Mastro’s butter cake for dessert.” So, confirmed: Kourtney Kardashian is indeed human.
I could talk food with Kourtney all day long, but her glowy makeup reminds me to shift gears. Here’s another thing I’ve always wanted to know: What does a celebrity like her, someone with access to every top makeup artist and hairstylist in the industry, do when she only has five minutes to get ready by herself? “I feel like that’s like my weekends,” Kourtney says, referencing the only two days of the week when she doesn’t have a professional glam squad to get her ready.
Kourtney lays out her five-minute beauty routine like this: “Every weekend, I wash my face with the Manuka Doctor face wash, then I do a toner quickly, then I do sunscreen.” Kourtney names Elta MD’s UV Clear SPF 46 ($20) for acne-prone skin as her favorite. “That’s the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break out and that I’m, like, excited to put on because it makes my skin better,” she says. Next, foundation. “I used to do tinted moisturizer, but I stopped because my dermatologist told me it was bad,” she says. “Why?!” I press. “She said that it goes into your skin like moisturizer instead of going on your skin,” she answers, “so I’ll do a quick foundation instead.” Kourtney uses Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in Medium 8 ($45), followed by Nars Concealer ($25) and Smashbox bronzer ($34). “If I’m really in a rush, I’ll skip eyes at all, skip eyebrows, put sunglasses on, and then I’m pretty much good to go,” she says.
I don’t know how to do one thing on hair. … But I can do my day makeup flawlessly.
As for hair, Kourtney’s go-to move is to stick it in a bun. She says hair is her biggest beauty weakness. “I don’t know how to do one thing on hair,” she tells me. “If I could do a great braid, like one I could do on my daughter, that would be everything. But I can do my day makeup flawlessly. I feel like that’s my thing, my no-makeup makeup.”
I ask Kourtney which of her sisters has the best beauty all-around beauty chops. “Kylie. No question,” she responds. “She does her makeup so flawlessly. If I had to have one of them do my glam, it would be Kylie.”
I finish my interview with Kourtney by asking her the one question I ask every celebrity whose life seems impossibly different from my own. “On a typical day in your life,” I say, “What is the one thing you most look forward to and what is the one thing you least look forward to?”
Surprisingly, out of everyone I've ever asked this question, Kourtney has the most relatable response. "I love bedtime with my kids, reading stories," she says. "It gets hard to wrangle everybody, you know, it’s usually a struggle to get them to want to go to bed, but I just love that time together." She cites getting up early as the part of her day she least looks forward to. "But for the most part, I feel like I have a pretty happy life, I like to do most of the things I’m doing," she says, and I believe her.
For the most part, I feel like I have a pretty happy life.
But as soon as you start to think celebrities’ lives are just like yours, something happens to prove you dead wrong. After our interview, I hand over my phone to Kourtney’s makeup artist, Hrush Achemyan, to take a photo of us for Instagram. "Hrush, you want to hit it with the ’tune?" Kourtney says, which I’m not proud to understand as a request for her to Facetune the photo of us before I post it online.
Hrush opens the Facetune app on my phone (again, not proud of it), smoothing over the lines in our faces and slimming out our frames before handing it back to me. She shows me the before-and-after comparison. “See? Snatched,” she says, and suddenly it’s clear to me how the Kardashian family looks so perfect from afar. Part water, part firming masks, part Facetune. Even the Kardashians aren’t 100% Kardashian.
“So,” I say to Kourtney as a Manuka Doctor rep packs up a gift bag for me, “is this the end of the day for you?”
It isn’t, of course. After this, Kourtney has another interview, then a video shoot, and then another eight glasses of water to drink. A Kardashian’s day is never really over. But I suppose that’s the price you pay for a suite at the Four Seasons, the shiniest hair in the world, and a basketball court in your backyard.
Want more celebrity exclusives? Don’t miss Hailey Baldwin on her intense diet, go-to highlighters, and celebrity crush.