Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American media personality, businesswoman, socialite, designer, DJ, singer, model, actress, and author. She is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Born in New York City and raised there and in Beverly Hills, California, Hilton began her modeling career as a teenager when she signed with New York-based modeling development agency Trump Model Management. Her late-night persona made her a fixture of tabloid journalism, and Hilton was proclaimed “New York’s leading It girl” in 2001. In 2003, a leaked sex tape with her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon, later released as 1 Night in Paris, catapulted her into global fame, and the reality television series The Simple Life, in which she starred with her socialite counterpart Nicole Richie, premiered on FOX, with 13 million viewers. The show would air for five seasons until 2007.
In 2004, Hilton released her book Confessions of an Heiress, which became a New York Times Best Seller, in 2005, she appeared in the horror film House of Wax, and in 2006, her self-titled album, Paris, was released worldwide; it reached number six on the Billboard 200, with her debut single, “Stars Are Blind”, quickly becoming a hit around the world. Hilton returned to reality television in 2008 with Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and its two spin-offs: Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend (2009) and Paris Hilton’s Dubai BFF (2009), and again in 2011, with Oxygen series The World According to Paris. Her big-screen credits include the films Raising Helen (2004), Bottoms Up (2006), National Lampoon’s Pledge This! (2006), Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008), and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring (2013) as well as the documentaries Paris, Not France (2008), Teenage Paparazzo (2010) and The American Meme (2018).
In 2012, Hilton made her debut as a DJ at the São Paulo Pop Music Festival, to much public backlash. She eventually became one of the highest-paid celebrity DJs, and between 2013 and 2017, held the “Paris Hilton: Foam & Diamonds” residence at the Amnesia nightclub in Ibiza. She signed a record deal with Cash Money Records in 2013, and has since released the singles “Good Time” (2013), “Come Alive” (2014), “High Off My Love” (2015), and “I Need You” (2018).
Credited with influencing the revival of the famous for being famous phenomenon during the early and mid 2000s, Hilton exemplifies the “celebutante”, a celebrity not through talent or work, but through inherited wealth and lifestyle. She has parlayed her media fame into perfumes and various lines with her endorsement; her perfume brand alone have brought in over US$2.5 billion in revenue, the second largest celebrity fragrance of all time behind Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor. In addition to a Paris Hilton Beach Club Resort in Manila, the Philippines, there are currently 50 Paris Hilton stores worldwide and 19 product lines, such as handbags, watches, footwear, hair and skin care. Hilton earns over US$10 million a year from business ventures and, as of 2017, she was paid about US$300,000 for appearances in clubs and events.
In January 2018, Hilton modeled Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 6 collection by recreating paparazzi photos of Kim Kardashian. She released “I Need You” as a digital download on February 14, 2018 (Valentine’s Day). It debuted at number 48 and peaked at number 32 on the Dance Club Songs Billboard chart. Hilton and Boohoo.com collaborated on a 70-piece collection, which launched on June 20, 2018, and after releasing the “Unicorn Mist” rose water in late 2017, a skincare line was released on June 29, 2018. Hilton modeled The Blonds show and opened the show for Namalia during New York Fashion Week in September 2018.
In 2018, Hilton was what was described as “the centerpiece” of two projects about social media and various personalities’ online presence. The documentary The American Meme premiered on Netflix in December 2018, after screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was written and directed by Bert Marcus, and she was one of the executive producers. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93 rating based on 28 reviews, with Hilton receiving acclaim for showing her vulnerability and giving audiences a glimpse into the dark side of fame. Decider reports, “In a series of quiet, reflective interviews, [she] explains why she trusts her fans more than her friends and dissects the risqué David LaChappelle photoshoot that transformed her into a household name.” Furthermore, USA Today shares “5 ways Netflix’s The American Meme will change the way you think about Paris Hilton,” including the closeness she has with her fans and her genuine self-awareness about the reality of internet stardom and notoriety. Hilton’s other social media-themed project was Hollywood Love Story, a six-episode series that aired on Viceland between July and August 2018.