Canadian Kardashian sisters to date billionaires and survive to tell the tale.
After years of romances with a series of fabulously wealthy Nigerian boyfriends, the flamboyant Canadian sisters Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo needed somewhere to store the pricey spoils of their dating careers. So they converted a bedroom in their Toronto home into a large walk-in closet that resembles a luxury boutique.
An entire wall is lined with more than 70 pairs of designer high-heeled shoes. Glass wardrobes display dozens of handbags and purses from brands like Hermès, Celine, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Equally pricey clothing drapes tightly from hangers and fills trunks stacked to the ceiling.
There are separate drawers for belts, rings, earrings, bracelets, silver necklaces and gold ones. They own a collection of rose gold and diamond-encrusted watches easily worth several cars. And the white Mercedes-Benz sedan parked outside? It is their third paid for by a wealthy paramour, they said.
Did they even pay for any of this stuff?
“Not really, no,” said Jyoti, 34.
Her sister responded similarly.
“The only time I go shopping is when someone gives me their credit card,” said Kiran, 32.
Armed with this luxury haul, the Matharoos have tried to copy the modern art of idle glamour pioneered by Paris Hilton and perfected by Kim Kardashian West. They followed the playbook so effectively that they are sometimes called the “Canadian Kardashians” for their devotion to spandex bodysuits, private jet travel, Christian Louboutin and social media.
But if their reality-television muses are famous for being shamelessly rich, the Matharoos became notorious after their unapologetic pursuit of material excess backfired, exploding into a messy international scandal involving one of the world’s richest men, a salacious gossip website, stints in Nigerian and Italian custody, and a battle to clear their names with Interpol, the global police organisation.
‘It All Happened So Fast’
The Matharoo sisters never intended to become a cautionary tale about the perils of social media influence. They were born and raised in Toronto, by middle-class parents who had immigrated from India. The sisters’ lives changed abruptly 10 years ago, when Jyoti, fresh out of college, met a Nigerian petroleum magnate.
“He’s not a rapper with expensive watches,” said Jyoti. “It’s generations and generations of money.”
He flew both sisters on private jets to France and Greece and eventually to Nigeria, a destination they did not disclose to their strict parents. Upon landing, a convoy of Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUVs drove them to his home, a heavily marbled mansion with a pool and a litany of servants. Kiran lazed away poolside while Jyoti accompanied her lover to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to play polo with a prince.
“It all happened so fast,” Jyoti said. “There wasn’t even a moment for us to be like, ‘Is this really happening?’”
Within a few months, she said, he bought her a condominium in Toronto and began giving her a monthly $10,000 stipend so she would not have to work.
This affair was not to be a forever love, though. Over the years, the sisters globe-trotted with a succession of paramours. In particular, both sisters travelled frequently to Nigeria and said that dating wealthy men there was easy.
“Once they find out you have a sister, it’s over,” Kiran said. “We don’t find them. They find us.”
They also began to document their lavish adventures on social media: yachting in the Bahamas, shopping sprees in Paris and Dubai, flying on private jets and sunbathing in Saint-Tropez and Spain. In the photos, they are invariably adorned in swag – Hermès handbags, shoes by Alaïa, watches by Audemars Piguet.
Neither would say exactly how many billionaires they had dated.
“If you say more than one, you’re automatically considered a gold digger,” said Jyoti, although she admitted that the number is higher than one. “I’m attracted by the power of who they are, what they do and what position they are on the Forbes billionaire list.”
Kiran described herself as an old-fashioned girl who simply likes to be courted.
“If you want to date me, you have to spoil me,” she said.
In brandishing this high-end brand of pampered independence, the sisters seemed to delight in rejecting society’s expectations of women’s roles.
“Marriage and alimony are acceptable, but being single and letting a guy give you things is not,” Jyoti said. “You have to own it. I don’t feel like I’m a piece of property.”
The Matharoos’ growing notoriety made them particular favourites of Nigeria’s gossip blogs, which tracked their rumoured relationships with the sort of savage coverage normally reserved for troubled royals. “Indian twin-menace: Nigeria’s most promiscuous sisters,” one headline declared in 2016: “Why billionaire housewives dread them.”
The sisters received more scorn from social media commenters.
“The road to Hell is paved with Birkin bags, promiscuity, sloth, Instagram photos, and vanity,” a commenter posted on a gossip blog thread entitled “High Paid Escorts/Prostitutes: Jyoti & Kiran Matharoo.” This thread runs for 220 pages – “more than some celebrities,” Kiran said, with pride.
The Sisters Get Arrested
When the dark side of the fantasy arrived – this was in Lagos, in December 2016 – it was as sudden as it was severe.
A few days after the Matharoos had returned to Nigeria, they were awakened by a loud knocking at their hotel room door. A group of men burst in and told the women they had to come to the police station. Some of the men, who turned out to be plainclothes police officers, took photos of the sisters in their bathrobes. These soon appeared online. The sisters asked to see a warrant and a badge but got no response.
“I told them I’m going to call my embassy, but when I started dialing, one guy grabbed the phone out of my hand,” Jyoti said. “They said if we don’t get dressed, they were going to carry us out just like that.”