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Kim K s public and private faces
Kim Kardashian. Picture: Williams/Getty Images.

For someone whose life is an open book - or rather an open glossy mag - Kim Kardashian remains an enigma.

Her family's eponymous "reality" show on the E! network is filled with contrived story lines.

She's the face of a line of diet products but has single-handedly made a fuller figure sexy again.

And, though the trials and tribulations of her love life have played out to an audience of millions around the world, her minders demand journalists avoid questions about relationships.

But speaking to Kardashian while she was in Australia this week on a promotional visit, such contradictions evaporate.

"As crazy as it is, I do have a really normal family life and I do keep a lot of things private," Kardashian said.

"I have all the same friends that I've had since kindergarten and preschool, like my whole life."

Luckily for E!, what the cameras have caught during seven seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians has delivered success.

The channel is in the midst of a brand "refresh" that includes a new logo and the tagline "Pop of Culture", but Kardashian, above, is modest about her family's role.

"I don't think we feel responsible but I think we feel like it's pretty cool to have a big part in the E! brand. And when people think of E! they think of us - I think that's an accomplishment," she said.

It's fair to say when people think of Kim Kardashian they probably also think of her 72-day marriage and acrimonious split from NBA star Kris Humphries and her high-profile romance with rap superstar Kanye West.

While it might be off-limits to most interviewers, the failed marriage to Humphries was addressed right off the bat when the first family of reality TV got a house call from Oprah Winfrey; look for a behind-the-scenes peek at Oprah's Kardashian special in a coming episode.

Kardashian said Oprah didn't pull any punches during the interview.

"I was actually in Paris, so I couldn't watch (the Oprah special) when it was airing but I was on Twitter and I was seeing everyone's response," Kardashian recalled.

"I felt like 'Wow, people finally understand me'. She got me, she really understood my heart, and to see the response on Twitter and Facebook . . . People that were hating before would write me and say 'I get it and I'm sorry for everything I thought or felt about you before'."

Her relationship with West is far more private but it seems even the ice-cold rapper is helpless in the face of the inexorable Kardashian empire.

In addition to awkward cameos in shows featuring the family, West gave a shout-out to Kim on his new Cruel Summer compilation ("My girl a superstar all from a home movie" referencing Kim's sex tape with Ray J).

While it is testament to the allure of the muse that one of hip-hop's brightest stars would plumb such depths of lyricism, it only adds to the enigma that is Kim Kardashian.

'(Oprah) got me, she really understood my heart, and to see the response on Twitter and Facebook ...' Kim Kardashian