Kardashian Bestie Simon Huck Is Selling You Beer and Shampoo
Posted January 12, 2018 5:27 p.m. EST
“I’m up before the birds,” said Simon Huck, sitting in his living room lined with velvet walls that change color depending on the light. It was 8 a.m., and Huck had already eaten lunch.
Huck, 34, owns Command Entertainment Group, a company that connects brands (over 100 annually, he said, including the consumer-goods giant Unilever) to celebrities and “influencers.” His business has gotten a significant boost from his close friendship with Kim Kardashian West, who has 106 million Instagram followers, though she is not a client.
“He’s always been there at times when I’ve needed him,” Kardashian West said in a phone interview. “He’s the definition of loyal. I feel like you need to surround yourself with people who make you laugh and keep your spirit alive as you grow and evolve.”
Also, “he’s someone that will drop anything and everything to really talk you through something,” Kardashian West said.
As it happened, Huck had just picked something up: a leather briefcase. Wearing Saint Laurent jeans and a black T-shirt, he was walking the five minutes from his apartment in the West Village of Manhattan to the Soho House, where most mornings he does a few hours of emails or meetings before heading to his office a few blocks away.
Huck has been the sole owner of his company since 2012, when he bought out his partner, Jonathan Cheban, the reality TV star. He now employs seven and travels frequently, often watching his deals come to life — hey, there’s Neil Patrick Harris for Heineken Light! — on the television screen of an airport lounge or hotel room.
“It’s the most gratifying feeling, to see it all come together,” he said. If Huck is awake, he is working, phone in hand — even when vacationing in Greece or in the Middle East with Kardashian West. “He could be on a camel in Egypt reciting a paragraph from the contract,” said Carla Laur, a commercial endorsement agent at Creative Artists Agency who has worked on dozens of deals with Command Entertainment Group.
Huck suggested his dedication arises from mistrusting his good fortune. “I still have moments where I feel like someone is going to pull the rug from under me and be like, ‘You actually have to go to law school,'” he said. “It sometimes all feels like a dream.”
The seeds of success were sown during a snowstorm in 2005, when he was taking a break from studying political science at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and flipping through the pages of US Weekly. High-profile publicist Lizzie Grubman had been spotted making out with singer John Mayer at the New York City hot spot Marquee.
“I went home, spent 24 hours on Google researching everything about PR and found Lizzie’s number,” Huck said.
Two days later he was in Manhattan for the first time.
Wearing a shiny khaki suit and square-toed Diesel shoes, Huck, positive he looked “so New York,” was given two minutes with Grubman’s chief financial officer.
“I was bumbling all over the place,” Huck said. “I left the office and I remember doing a Myspace upload in the elevator.”
One hour later, Cheban, then Grubman’s partner, called him to come back in. He had a job — well, an unpaid internship.
Huck abandoned his college apartment and everything in it, packed a duffel bag and stayed on friends’ couches for two years. He worked putting together invitation lists and securing red-carpet press. Sean Combs’ White Party in the Hamptons was one of his first big projects.
When Cheban left Grubman’s company to return to his own agency, Command PR, which he had started in 1999, he took Huck with him.
The two quickly went from giving brands suggestions of whom they should work with to negotiating the entire deal. They also met and befriended Kim Kardashian, who was then running a successful eBay closet along with the Dash boutique chain she founded with her sisters.
While they were at dinner with Kim and Kourtney Kardashian in Los Angeles, Kim said they were planning to do a reality show about their life and their families on the E! network.
“I didn’t think anything of it, but Kim always had conviction,” Huck said. “She’s one of the most brilliant marketers I’ve ever met in my life.” Moreover, “If I ever need advice, she’s the person I call and it’s straight up, tell it like it is. She’s a pragmatist.”
Even the executive-producing talents of Kardashian West, alas, could not save the E! reality show Huck and Cheban did themselves: “The Spin Crowd.”
Still, Huck feels elevated by the experience, and excited for the future.
“I want to continue to grow and grow,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”