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Paris Hilton – Why Does Anyone Care?
Celebrity is a fascinating beast. Some people are famous for their contributions to humanitarian causes, others for their superb skills in a given field, some for their infamy, and a large number of celebrities for their beauty. Still, there is still one strange field that people are famous for – being famous. Over the last couple of years, it’s been impossible for people to ignore the celebrity freight train that is Paris Hilton. Well known for her partying and often ridiculed for her lack of talent, somehow Paris Hilton has managed to survive being overexposed. In fact, a large part of her fame lies in the fact that she is so overexposed. Respected cultural magazine Rolling Stone named her among one of the stars of the year based solely on the fact that she was constantly on her news. Her pedigree of being a trust fund baby has led to a successful reality TV show in which her and her childhood pal, Nicole Richie (adopted daughter of 1980s music star Lionel Richie) that essentially involved these two Beverly Hills raised girls ridiculing others by placing them in strange situations. A paris hilton sex tape has become one of the most successful pornographic movies of all time and she has even entered the music world with her debut album, “Paris.” Throughout it all, the public has seemingly eaten it all up. Delighting in ridiculing her, Paris Hilton has become the celebrity that most people love to hate. However, Paris Hilton may have had the last laugh. After all, how does a person with no discernible talent become such a huge star? This seeming contradiction will be analyzed as we examine the life and times of Paris Hilton, heiress.
Paris Hilton has always lived an affluent life. Her great grandfather was Conrad Hilton, who founded the luxury hotel chain, Hilton Hotels. Conrad Hilton himself was a notorious partier and through him, Paris Hilton is related to some of Hollywood’s biggest historic stars. She is related to the Hungarian born actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, as Conrad Hilton was once married to the starlet. She is also a distant relative to Elizabeth Taylor, as Hilton’s great uncle Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr. was Taylor’s first husband. She is also the niece to two 1970s child stars, Kim Richards and Kyle Richards. Her paternal grandfather is hotel chairman, Barron Hilton.
Considering the vast fortune of Hilton hotels, it is not surprising to learn of the luxurious childhood that Paris Hilton and her three siblings lived in. Born on February 17, 1981 to Richard Hilton and Kathy Richards, Hiton spent much of her childhood staying in a suite in the prestigious Manhattan Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She also spent some time in the exclusively rich communities of Beverly Hills and the Hamptons. At an early age, Hilton began a modeling career that often involved appearing at charity events.
While she attended high school in California and New York, she would eventually drop out to pursue other interests. At the tender age of 19, she signed to T Management, the modeling agency that is owned by famed entrepreneur, Donald Trump. Since then, Hilton has worked with prestigious modeling firms throughout the world, including New York’s Ford Models Management, London’s Models 1 Agency, and Premier Model Management, also based in London. She first came to national attention due to her appearances in advertising campaigns for popular clothing lines: GUESS, Tommy Hilfiger, and Christian Dior. An admittedly cute girl, Paris Hilton would soon gain a reputation within the modeling world for her partying exploits. Her adopted New York home soon caught attention of Hilton’s antics and she became identified as the leading It Girl in New York. While the New York tabloids may have been focusing on Hilton during this early part of her life, she was still largely unknown to the rest of the country.
However, things would soon change in 2003. Her engagement to fellow fashion model Jason Shaw had ended in the early part of the year and Hilton’s partying ways slowly creeping into the national news. One of the things that most people throughout the world would agree on is the acceptability of laughing at the exploits of young, rich kids. After all, a person that is born into riches is fairly or unfairly a target of jealousy and ridicule. Fox TV recognized the ratings potential of a reality TV show involving spoiled rich kids having to work for the first times in their life and quickly signed up Hilton and Richie for a show. “The Simple Life” would tell a simple fish out of water story by having Hilton and Richie live in a farming community working blue collar jobs and seeing how they react in their new surroundings. Considering the vast aspirations of Hilton and Richie to gain more celebrity, it was not surprising to learn that the two quickly agreed to the deal.
While “The Simple Life” was an unqualified success, it would be a separate event that launched Hilton into the celebrity stratosphere that she currently occupies. To say that the public thought Hilton was promiscuous would be an understatement. Although at the time, Hilton had only been in a couple of high profile romances with Backstreet Boys singer, Nick Carter, and Sum 41 singer, Deryck Whibley, she was often linked with a multitude of other stars. From Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to former Blink 182 drummer, Travis Barker, Paris Hilton often found herself in a number of Hollywood romance rumors. This sexy image would reach new heights in the 2003 release of a Paris Hilton Sex Tape.
It’s funny how much things have changed in the celebrity world. In the past, the release of a celebrity sex tape would almost certainly destroy that person’s career. Ask Rob Lowe, whose 1988 release of a sex tape with two girls derailed the Brat Packer’s career. However, after the phenomenal Internet driven success of the stolen honeymoon sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee has changed people’s perceptions. The paris hilton video cleverly titled, “One Night in Paris,” shows an intimate night between Paris Hilton and her then boyfriend, Rick Saloman. Considering that Saloman’s biggest claim to fame is his tumultuous relationships with celebrities such as Shannon Doherty, it wasn’t surprising to learn that he would capitalize on the potential to cash in.
With “The Simple Life” about to debut, the Paris Hilton Sex Tape was released to massive success. Although many people have speculated that Hilton had agreed to the release of the paris hilton video as a way to increase her fame, she has strongly denied that she would take part in such a brazen publicity stunt. Regardless of whether or not she was involved, “1 Night in Paris” did wonders for her career. Frequently discussed on national news and entertainment programs, her increased infamy helped lead “The Simple Life” to big time ratings. In a shrewd move, Paris Hilton lampooned her tattered public image by making guest appearances on Saturday Night Live and appearing as herself in movies like Zoolander and music videos like Eminem’s “Just Lose It.”
A person whose fame may be due to the fact that she is famous, it is hard to deny that Paris Hilton is a name that is as well known as brands like Coke. To capitalize on her name recognition, Hilton soon entered the worlds of acting, music, writing, club ownership and fashion design. Despite being criticized for not being particularly good, all of these endeavors reached success in one form or another. Her first book, “Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose,” involved her writing about what to do and not to do when living the life of an heiress. While the book was panned for being bad, Hilton’s name alone ensured that it would end up a New York Times bestseller.
Although Hilton has also tasted success with her Club Paris chain of nightclubs and has also designed limited edition fashion lines for respected fashion labels, the focus of her attention has been on acting and music. Despite starring in a couple of straight to DVD flops, “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!” and “Bottom’s Up,” Paris Hilton continues to be given prime starring roles to movies. Her biggest acting success came in her co-starring role in the 2005 remake of the horror classic, “House of Wax.” Despite winning a Teen Choice Award for best scream, Hilton has had checkered success in acting. Many reports have surfaced about the difficulty she has caused while on set.
While her alleged lack of professionalism may hinder Hilton’s acting career, her music career has had much more success. In 2004, Paris Hilton created her own record label, “Heiress Records” that is associated with Warner Bros. Records. Working with a bevy of established musical heavy hitters such as producer Scott Storch, rappers Jadakiss and Fat Joe, Paris Hilton’s debut album was a big success. Debuting at number six on the Billboard charts, the album was anchored by the surprisingly competent reggae pop of first single, “Stars are Blind.” This success has allowed Paris Hilton to begin work on her sophomore record. However, there is still a bit of skepticism towards Hilton’s music career due to her reluctance to perform a tour.
Despite these artistic forays, Paris Hilton continues to find fame due to her personal life. She has had romances with Greek shipping heir, Paris Latsis, and also Greek shipping heir, Stavros Niarchos III. Besides informing the world of the presence of Greek shipping heirs, Paris Hilton has also been romantically linked to billionaire Brandon Davis and more famously was involved in a fight with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker’s ex-wife, Shanna Moakler, due to her fling with Barker. In addition to these romantic dalliances, Hilton has been involved in a number of highly publicized feuds with fellow celebrities. Her battles with fellow star, multitasker and notorious partier, Lindsay Lohan has been frequently discussed. She also had an eighteen month feud with former best friend forever Nicole Richie, but they have since reconciled. Although she has claimed to be settling down from her partying ways, Paris Hilton continues to be associated with excessive partying. This was most evident in her brief public friendship with Britney Spears that led to Spears being photographed numerous times passed out and wearing no underwear.
Paris Hilton has also found herself on the national headlines based on her run ins with the law. She was arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence) on September 7, 2006. She has also been charged for reckless driving due to a bizarre encounter evading the paparazzi at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant. Her additional bad press involves the creation of a website, paris hilton exposed that featured personal documents and video that were allegedly obtained from a storage locker. Footage found in this locker that was prominently featured on the website, parisexposed.com included a racy video with ex-boyfriend Joe Francis (creator of the Girls Gone Wild series) and another video with her saying racist and homophobic slurs. Perhaps proving the maxim that there’s no such thing as bad press, Paris Hilton continues to be a massively successful celebrity.
When Paris Hilton first rose to public prominence, everybody assumed that it would be a short term thing. After all, how could somebody that has showed such little discernible talent continue to stay in the public eye? However, with her private controversies turned public and her bad girl image, Paris Hilton continues to be one of the world’s biggest celebrities. Her ability to make her way into the headlines caused the Associated Press to conduct an experiment in February 2007. This experiment involved a concerted effort to not report any stories about Paris Hilton for a week. Of course, showing Hilton’s considerable resiliency, the Associated Press would have to report on a story of Paris Hilton’s use of a suspended driver’s license after the week long ban had ended. With this ability to stay in the news and her newfound ability to turn non-celebrities into celebrities as can be seen in the attention given to former best friend Kim Kardashian, it is truly now the time to just accept the fact that this is indeed Paris Hilton’s world. We’re all just living in it.