Paris Hilton opens up about pretending to be a dumb blonde for her brand, finding her own identity, and the pressures of being a rich and famous heiress.
It’s a new dawn; it’s a new day, it’s a new life for the O.G. socialite. Hilton, 39, is finally breaking down the years-long “dumb blonde” image and reintroducing herself to fans in her upcoming YouTube documentary “I Am Paris.” The new film will detail Hilton’s journey as a socialite, the depression she endured from having to uphold the image, being abused, and finally breaking free, claiming her true identity. In a new Vogue cover story, the star opened up about all that and more.
Hilton said she never intended to discuss the abuse she experienced during her teen years at Provo Canyon School, “an intensive, psychiatric residential treatment center for youth.” She spent 11 months there, and in that time, she said she went through physical and psychological abuse until she was 18. Her parents had placed her in the school in an attempt to correct the rebellious teen’s behavior. “All I wanted this film to focus on was my life as a businesswoman, but ultimately I decided to tell it how it is,” said Hilton. “I want to show that you can go through hardship and still make something of yourself and not let your past define you. I love showing who I am because I’m so proud of who I’ve become.”
While promoting her new film, she said she’s happy that she’s found someone to share her life with. “I feel so lucky that I’ve finally found true love because I can’t imagine going through this pandemic by myself. It’s been like being in a relationship for five years, given the amount of time we’ve spent with each other. I have someone by my side that I’m so incredibly in love with, and we’ve become so close,” said Hilton, who is dating businessman and family friend #CarterReum.
Hilton then shared that there was a struggle between her and her mother when it came to Hilton’s identity. “My mom wanted me to be a Hilton; I wanted to be Paris. My mom and dad were always very strict and sheltered. My mom wanted me to have that kind of debutante, princess life, and that’s just not who I was. I didn’t want to just be known as the Hilton hotel granddaughter. That whole socialite world felt so fake to me. I never wanted to be like that, but I felt like I had to pretend because my parents were so strict. Then I moved to New York as a teenager and just completely rebelled.”
She added that the pressure to be an heiress was overwhelming. “I was expected to marry some guy, have kids, and be a socialite. That’s just not something that ever interested me. I always strived to be independent and on my own. I think everything I went through when I was younger made me that way. And even though it was so painful and traumatic, I try to always look at the positives because I don’t think I’d be the businesswoman I am today if I didn’t go through what I did. It gave me the drive to be independent, so no one could ever control me again. I felt like success was freedom. And also just wanting that love. Traveling the world and hugging my fans and seeing their eyes light up is such an incredible feeling. I just feel like I was put here for a reason, to make people happy and be a positive light.”
When it comes to people making fun of her, Hilton said she doesn’t take it personally because she feels people are only making fun of who they think she is. “When people said things that hurt my feelings, in my mind I’d say, ‘Paris, that’s you playing a character, that isn’t you. Don’t feel bad when people are saying things because people aren’t talking about you; they’re talking about what they think you are.’ That mindset protected me because I’d already been so exposed, and the whole world already had all these preconceived notions about me. I’m not a dumb blonde. I’m just really good at pretending to be one.”
In “This Is Paris,” Hilton said she felt “stuck” in the image that she created. But those feelings have since changed. “When I filmed that scene, I really did feel that way. After really telling my story and just coming clean with everything, I feel like I’m not stuck anymore. I think even people who only ever judged me from the headlines will reconsider things they might’ve said about me in the past, which is exciting because I love proving people wrong. I can’t wait for people to meet the real Paris.”