What Happened to Paris Hilton?

What Happened to Paris Hilton? Let’s find out by digging into the life and career of the multi-hyphenate heiress

Though our younger viewers may know her better for her friendship with Kim Kardashian, the spotlight shone brightly on Paris Hilton, especially in the early 2000s. But was she just “famous for being famous”, or is there more to this Paparazzi Princess?

Like her friend Kim, Paris Hilton’s fame was bolstered by the infamy that comes from being the star of a wildly popular
sex tape, 2004’s cleverly-titled 1 Night in Paris. “That’s Hot.” As with Kim Kardashian, questions remain even decades later about whether the video was released intentionally to capitalize on her growing fame. For her part, Paris has since denied consenting to the video’s release and has settled out-of-court for the damage to her image and reputation. Perhaps the grossest thing about the video (bear with me) is that it opens with a title card that says “In memory of 9/11/01… We will never forget.” Seriously.

But Hilton was in the public eye long before 1 Night in Paris. She was born February 17, 1981 in New York City with a
silver spoon in her mouth. She is the daughter of multi-millionaires Richard and Kathy Hilton and is the great-
granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton. This is as close as it gets in America to being born into royalty.
Paris Hilton was a staple of the late 90s and early 2000s New York City celebrity social scene. Her celebrity status was
legitimized by a 2000 Vanity Fair spread with her sister Nicky. She was also a prolific model, around this time, operating under Donald Trump’s (Yes, that Donald Trump) modeling agency, T Management.

The early 2000s were Paris Hilton’s busiest time as an actress. She had a very self-ware cameo in 2001’s Zoolander. She also appeared in 2002 horror film Nine Lives and in 2003’s Wonderland and Cat in the Hat. 2004 saw her feature in Raising Helen and The Hillz (with a ‘z’). She had a small but impactful role in 2005 slasher House of Wax, for which she won a Razzie for “Worst Supporting Actress” and a Teen Choice Award for “Best Scream Scene Of The Year”. She was also nominated for the MTV Movie Award for “Best Scared-As-Shit Performance”, which | guess is a thing.

Paris Hilton co-wrote the New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Cheek Peek Behind the Pose with Merle Ginsburg. It was released in May of 2004. The pair followed it up with Your Heiress Diary: Confess It All to Me in
November 2005.

Paris had famous flings with Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar DeLaHoya. She later showed that she had a thing for
musicians, being linked to Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley, whose parents deserve the award for worst spelling of “Derek”, Nick Carter of boy band Backstreet Boys, and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden.

Paris Hilton’s fame skyrocketed with the success of reality show The Simple Life, which ran for 5 seasons from 2003 to 2007. It featured Paris and friend Nicole Richie, fellow socialite and daughter of singer Lionel Richie, living with less-privileged families and working blue-collar jobs. Apparently, people were intrigued enough by nepo babies living like one of us poors that the show went on to be one of the most popular reality shows of the time, peaking at over 13 million viewers. Even after the show moved to the E! Network for its later seasons, it doubled the network’s primetime
viewership. It spawned multiple remakes, spin-offs, and imitators. As strange as it may sound so much time later, The
Simple Life
was a wildly successful and influential reality-tv show. The most direct spin-off was Paris Hilton’s My New
, which ran from 2008 to 2011 and featured contestants vying for Paris’ undying affection by way of a series of
contests. She transitioned right into The World According to Paris, which followed her dramatic relationship with
nightclub owner Cy Waits.

Did you know that Paris Hilton did hard time? In between reality TV phases, she served a total of 22 days in prison in the summer of 2007 for violating the terms of her probation stemming from a 2006 DUI charge. Controversy stemmed from this proverbial slap on the wrist as well as the Hilton’s family attempt to elicit $1 million for Paris’ first post-incarceration interview. She also was arrested twice for drug charges in 2011.

So it’s accurate to say Paris Hilton was a socialite, a model, a reality-tv star, an actor, an author, and a minor criminal. But WTF happened to Paris Hilton? You certainly can’t say she’s content being idle. She is a prolific businesswoman and artist. I guess it’s easier to take risks when your rock bottom is a mansion in the Hamptons.

She founded record label Heiress Records in 2004 and released her debut album Paris in 2006. Since 2012, she has
been a successful DJ, appearing at festivals around the world. Her fragrance line has earned over $2.5 billion in revenue. She has a multi-million dollar clothing line, a skincare line, a cookware line, a pet product line. Paris was a major advocate for and influential figure in the world of NFTs, back when those briefly seemed like the next big thing.

What Happened to Paris Hilton?

Most of her ventures fall under the umbrella of her multi-billion dollar company 11:11 Media, which she founded as
Paris Hilton Entertainment in 2006 and has its hand in “TV, podcasts, digital, licensing, NFTs, music, impact, and more.” Subsidiary Slivington Manor Entertainment released the cooking show Cooking with Paris and the reality series Paris in Love, which followed the lead-up to her wedding with Carter Reum, with whom she has two children. She hosts the popular I Am Paris podcast, which follows the conversational interview format popularized by industry stalwarts such as Marc Maron and Joe Rogan. She announced that she has a new album set to release in 2024, which she claimed would “save pop music.” She released Paris: The Memoir in March 2023. The New York Times bestseller offers an honest look into many of the traumas she experienced, including the release of the sex tape and a scary encounter with disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein.

I will say that if you haven’t heard Paris Hilton speak in a couple decades, you owe it to yourself to. She’s not the ditzy
blonde you have etched into your memory. She has since said that she crafted the personality and especially the voice
for a lot of reasons: to cope with trauma, to lean into the fame it garnered, and to entertain herself and others.

What might be Paris Hilton’s most enduring legacy is her advocacy, activism, and philanthropy. Her abuse under the
thumb of various institutions aimed at reforming troubled teenagers entered the public consciousness after the release
of YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris. The worst of her experiences occurred at Provo Canyon School, where she suffered beatings at the hands of staff and was involuntarily medicated. She also has said that staff watched her shower and forced her into solitary confinement naked. Despite the negative attention the school has received, they are still in operation. Paris Hilton and her allies have effectively gone over the school’s head, advocating for the successful enactment of 7 U.S. state laws and one Northern Ireland law. But she didn’t stop there, helping author and campaigning in 2022 and 2023 for the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act, which “would provide greater oversight and data transparency for youth treatment programs, implement urgent recommendations to develop information-sharing systems among states, and promote best practices for identifying and preventing institutional child abuse.”

So what lesson does the journey of Paris Hilton to this point offer us? To never judge a book by its cover? That we are not defined by our mistakes? That anyone born into a family with billions can be successful? Or maybe just that “Life is too short to blend in.”

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/what-happened-to-paris-hilton/


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