Chic with Cheban

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By Christopher A. Pape •  Photography by Dave Kotinsky/GETTY IMAGES

Many of Resident’s usual readers will not immediately recognize the name Jonathan Cheban. While his profile is certainly large enough to warrant a cover, he isn’t the typical personality that we feature. However, there is one thing he is, and that is hot; he knows everything that is relevant and on trend, and this being the HOT edition we couldn’t think of anyone better to work with on this story.

Our exclusive photo shoot—generously shot by Getty Images with space provided by B& Co., a new restaurant/lounge—and interview that I conducted was not my first encounter with this internationally recognized reality TV star.  In fact, three weeks prior, I had lunch with both him and Ernie Anastos at the epicenter of all things New York media: Michael’s Restaurant. While the gathering illuminated his vivacious personality, wit and humor, it wasn’t until after the meal as we were walking the streets of the city that it became evident he is both vastly well-known and beloved by the young set.  Whatever apprehensions I may have had putting him on the cover were assuaged when a group of twenty-somethings approached him and asked for his photo. I knew then that working with him was a big deal.

When asked about what it means to be hot and how he has be on fire for so long, Jonathan responds, “The most important part of being hot is staying relevant. The people who you surround yourself with, the places you go, the cars you drive—it all plays a part. It’s vain, but it’s what you have to do.”

Jonathan is no wallflower. When told that he isn’t the typical Resident cover, he joked, “I think it’s great that you’re targeting a whole new demographic besides the old fakatas that live on the Upper East Side.” His publicist chimes in— after I say I can’t possibly put that quote in—that I must! It was a portent of fun times to come.

Known most famously for his close friendship with Kim Kardashian and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Jonathan was also a public relations maven who happened to be friends with Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and others of that exclusive entourage as well. It is these experiences – his professional and personal lives combined – that have made him who he is today.

“I’ve been on Keeping Up with the Kardashians for five years as well as several Kardashian spinoffs, and also had my own show, The Spin Crowd,” Jonathan said, as he talked about his life in candor. “Everywhere I go people approach me and want to take a photo with me. I’m known in 150 countries.”

When asked about how he met the infamous Kim, Jonathan pauses for a moment and says, “I met her at a birthday dinner; she was sitting next to me. I had already met Khloe and it was just a natural extension of the group I already knew. I’ve known all of these girls for almost 15 years.“

One of the most intriguing questions—and one that I’m sure is asked the most frequently to all reality stars—is whether or not reality TV is actually real or playacting. Jonathan answered the question with a certain straightforwardness that I wasn’t expecting.

“The show is very real, but I’m a bit exaggerated because I like to make things more fun. But, it’s not acting like some people suggest,” he said. “It’s a lot of work – 16 hours a day for four months. There are a lot of outfit changes, a lot of talking and a lot of planning goes into making the show.”

With the birth of Kim’s first child, North West, I asked if the dynamic of the show and their relationship had changed. “She’s been locked up at home, with the baby, until she is ready to go out into the craziness again— she’s enjoying her time,” he said. “For me, I’m bummed I don’t get to see her as much. We usually see each other in multiple cities – LA, New York, Miami. By the time this interview comes out, we’ll see the new gorgeous, blonde Kim. I can’t wait.”

Beyond just being professionally fabulous, Jonathan is a branding expert and entrepreneur with several new and innovative companies under his name.

“I own a jewelry line called Rich Rocks,” he said, while gesturing to a cool skull bracelet indicative of the line. “I also own a company called Glam Screen, which is both a screen protector and mirror for smartphones. It’s doing very well.”

Additionally, Jonathan is also an aspiring restaurateur. “I’m starting a burger franchise called Billionaire Burger. The first one will be in Long Island and I’m very excited about that project. Currently, I have a sushi restaurant that is set to open called Sushi Couture by Sushi Mikasa, which is the hotspot in Miami. I’m always running around.”

Besides keeping up with the latest business in fashion, food and technology, Jonathan has also used talents in branding himself, as he is personally endorsed by Fuse Science, GaGa Ice Cream, and both Jaguar and the Warren Henry Auto Group.

But Jonathan isn’t all work, as he makes time for his has many hobbies and projects he holds dear to his heart. “I love to travel. I was just in Europe last month filming a new show—which I can’t tell you about yet—and it will take place in Sardinia, St. Tropez and Monaco. That comes up in November, and I’m super excited. I’m also filming the 9th season of Kardashians shortly.”

Jonathan is the epitome of a trendsetting New Yorker. So, since he is the proclaimed king of hot, I had to press him: what’s a must try in the city?

“B&Co. is opening and it’s going to be amazing.  The Nomad area in Manhattan is insane; Harlow is an awesome restaurant. The SLS hotel is about to open as well. The most anticipated restaurant opening in the coming year is Zuma (out of London), and it will change the New York dining scene. I like to mix it up – go high-end and low.”

It should be obvious, as it was for me, that Jonathan is a man of many memes; he loves creating subtext and interest in products, events, places, and other people whom he sees as a fit within his empire of chic and especially for himself.

What also became apparent was Jonathan’s love of the city. He talked about the energy, the things to do and all of the culture permeating around every block of our thriving metropolis. It is in New York that Jonathan is most deeply understood, as he has evolved into a force that is synonymous with all that is now and on trend.

I’m glad to report that we’ve become fast friends; we have plans to go back to Michael’s shortly and he has taken an interest in the magazine. We wish him the best of luck on all of his many endeavors. •

Hair: Angelo David Pisacreta for Angelo David Salon ANGELO DAVID HAIRCARE  •  Makeup: Laura Mitchell for Angelo David Salon SMASHBOX
Fashion Stylist: Dana Tycher Reisman for DTR Styles  •  Photo Shoot Location: B&Co.

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