In a world today where the phrase “nepo baby” is often used in describing the success of an individual being heavily factored by the access they received out of nepotism from their family’s fame and fortune, Paris Hilton has made it her mission to create an original path all her own within reality television and a variety of business industries, while continuing to show respect for her family’s legacy.
In Paris’s new memoir, she discusses that for three generations, the Hilton men were the movers and shakers, while the Hilton women were often “the show horses.” After building her own empire over the past two decades, and individual accomplishments made by her mom Kathy and sister Nicky, Paris shared with me her thoughts about the Hilton women today, saying, “I am just so proud of everything that we’ve done in our lives. I know that my grandfather is so incredibly proud. He was my business mentor and I looked up to him so much. When I was little girl, I didn’t want to be known as ‘The Hilton Hotel Granddaughter’ – I just wanted to be known as Paris. I’ve accomplished that now and it feels really good.”
In her eye-opening new book, Paris provides detailed accounts of her adolescent years as a young heiress, her traumatic experiences throughout her school years (including her recollection of being sexually assaulted by a teacher) and the many lessons she has learned along the way. Paris is also rather candid about her struggles with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though she strives to focus on the ways this chronic condition has actually benefitted her.
Paris said, “I feel that ADHD for me is my superpower. I’ve always been the one who takes risk and has been someone that is innovative and really thinks outside of the box. I really believe that if you can harness this in the right way, that you can really just do incredible things with it.”
So, why now? Why write this memoir at this stage of Paris’s life & career, and openly share her personal experiences with the world?
She revealed, “It all really started back with my documentary This is Paris. It’s the first time that I really was vulnerable and showed my true side and started speaking about things that I had never spoken about in my life. That really just started me on this path of self-discovery, and just seeing how much impact that I’ve made, especially in the troubled teen industry. It’s just been incredibly empowering since then. The media has really controlled the story of me for over two decades and it was just time now for me to tell the truth.”
For many, Paris became a household name in 2003 when her hit reality show The Simple Life premiered on television. For five seasons, cameras followed Paris and her longtime best friend Nicole Richie (daughter of music superstar Lionel Richie) as they took on everyday jobs, often resulting in hilarious outcomes.
In many ways, The Simple Life was far ahead of its time, created decades before “nepo baby” even began getting thrown around, with a show concept that actually turned privilege on its head, even if it was done for entertainment value. With this year marking the 20th anniversary of The Simple Life, I wondered how Paris looks back on those experiences that would ultimately turn her into a bonafide celebrity.
Paris said of The Simple Life, “I love it so much. It’s so timeless. It’s just amazing to see we were the first-of-its-kind. I don’t really watch reality TV because I’m constantly working. The only reality that I watch is The Simple Life and Paris in Love, my show on Peacock. It is flattering just to see so many people that are trying to emulate what we did. There is nothing like the original!”
Beyond Paris’s reality television projects, she is currently in season two of her podcast series Trapped in Treatment, which exposes the dark secrets and controversial practices of the troubled teen industry. You can also find Paris at several music events around the world, being both a pop artist (who could forget her 2006 “Stars Are Blind” hit song?) and an in-demand DJ. Paris also co-founded 11:11 Media in 2021, a next-gen entertainment company that connects content, community and commerce.
When speaking about her leadership role with 11:11 Media, Paris said, “I just have such an epic team of the most brilliant, creative people. It’s exciting to be involved in every type of vertical – from digital to audio, film, television, products, licensing, metaverse. It’s amazing now to have created this infrastructure and this whole business, and to be partnering with different brands, IP, and really creating these pop culture moments.”
Undoubtably, her most important role began earlier this year with the birth of her son Phoenix Barron with entrepreneur husband Carter Reum. When I congratulated Paris on becoming a mom to whom she calls “such a precious angel,” I wondered how her outlook on life and her priorities between business and home life are evolving as her family grows.
Paris revealed to me, “Definitely my priorities have really shifted. I’m saying ‘no’ to so many offers coming in because my family is more important to me. I’m trying to do as much as possible from home, so I’ve built my podcasting studio here, my recording studio to do my music. When I have photos shoots and interviews, I try to make them as much as possible here at the house, just so I’m able to pop in and out of his bedroom all day because I am obsessed with him and want to stare at him all the time.”
Following years of being a target of the tabloids, far beyond her control, during her a time when social media had not yet existed, I asked Paris what advice she might have for today’s up-and-coming young celebrities, knowing how it feels to have once been in their shoes.
Paris responded, “I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who want the best for you and who really see what you’re passionate and what you love to do, and really come up with a detailed plan to be organized. Find a mentor that you can speak to, and be innovative and stay focused. It’s definitely important to utilize all your social platforms and really create and put out content that will resonate with your fans. It’s fun to also collaborate with other creators that benefit your brand.”
With her expanding world, both professionally and personally, I concluded my conversation with Paris, wondering what she hopes readers of her new memoir will take away most from her sharing her life’s story so far in her own words.
“I hope that people can understand me in ways they didn’t before, and see that there’s so much more to me than they ever knew,” continued Paris. “Also, just to find strength in themselves and to also not feel alone. I feel that a lot of especially young women have been through certain traumatic experiences and they’ve held onto that shame and that shame should not be on them, that should be on the person that hurt them. So, I think that’s a really important message to people when they’re reading this book.”
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