Boss Babe: Paris Hilton Has Created a Legacy of Her Own
“My mom said to me, ‘You know, sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man,’ and I said, ‘Mom, I am a rich man.” - Cher
Paris Hilton is donning bedazzled sunglasses, silver stilettos, and a disco ball-inspired Mikael D mini dress when she steps off the elevator into the Bravo Club house. Her sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild and a camera crew trail closely alongside her. The heiress to Hilton Hotels is here for her appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about Miss Hilton and as I sit in the studio audience of the Bravo TV show, I hear a few from my seatmates. The thirty-something ladies next to me are in complete awe of Paris, who they think looks as flawless as her wax sculpture, which they’ve seen in-person. As hyperbolic as that sounds, I must admit that I had the same thoughts as I stared at her long, tanned legs and perfectly-straight, platinum blonde tresses from my seat. Honestly, Paris looks more like a Barbie doll than Barbie does. Many people see Paris as a beautiful, carefree bombshell, but her fans (she has over 34 million social media followers) see her for who she truly is: a sweet, deeply caring, and humble woman. Paris is one of the few stars who follows and responds to fans on social media and is also known for inviting them into her home.
Once Live After Show ends, I head backstage to a blue camo-wallpapered dressing room where framed photos of Andy and his legendary guests —Oprah, Cher, Lady Gaga— hang, and boxes of Paris’ fragrance line the vanity. Paris walks in, pops a bite-sized snack into her mouth, then asks me if she can use the restroom before we begin. Of course. She sits down beside me, gives me a side hug (the first of three hugs), then saunters out of the room.
People would be surprised to find out that I’m a tomboy. I love anything fishing. I play ice hockey. I go skydiving. I love to surf, snowboard, anything that involves being outdoors or doing something that’s like a daredevil, I love it.
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Upon her return, Andy stops by to have Paris film the opening of a skit she is doing for the show’s social media: The Simple Life: WWHL Intern Paris Hilton. Finally, it’s my turn. Paris joins me on the navy blue couch, while a camerawoman sets up shop in front of us. [They’re filming her YouTube documentary, slated for release next year. “I’m really showing the real side of me and what I’ve been through and basically talking about everything... and finally feeling comfortable with myself to reveal everything that people have never heard.”] Our mutual friend, Crystal, [“Yes! She was literally BFFs at Palm Valley High,” Paris beams.] shared with me that Paris’ grandmother would tell her mom that Paris was destined to be a star. A smile spreads across her face. “Ever since I was born, my grandmother said that. She said, ‘You’re like Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot, Grace Kelly, since I was literally 2 years old. That’s all she’s ever said to me and put into my mind.”
Paris —who was born in New York and raised there and in Beverly Hills, California— started modeling in her teens. By the early 2000s, she was frequently being photographed by the paparazzi and had become known for her late-night outings with girlfriends Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, and Nicole Richie. Then, the sex tape with her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon was leaked. While this wasn’t the sort of attention Paris wanted to attract, it fortunately didn’t affect the trajectory of her career. Paris went on to act in movies like House of Wax, and starred in her own reality TV show, The Simple Life, alongside pal, Nicole Richie, which aired for five seasons. As the years have gone by, Paris has demonstrated that she is so much more than a pretty face with a famous last name — she is a powerhouse. This multihyphenate strategically laid a foundation that enabled her to transition from It Girl into respected Boss Babe. Now that’s hot!
Paris is back in NYC —her former stomping ground and part-time home— to promote her new song with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, “Best Friend’s Ass.” The catchy song (which I’ve had on repeat for weeks now) and its music video, featuring fellow girl boss and longtime friend Kim Kardashian, is fire. “I really just wanted to do a fun summer song about girl bosses having fun. I dunno, there’s so many, I don’t want to say the word, F-boys that are around and I feel like it’s just all about girl power right now... It’s not a serious thing. It’s really like a social commentary on social media, clubbing, going out, what girls talk about,” she says with a coy smile. Search the hashtag #BFAchallenge on Instagram and you’ll find clips from movies and TV set against “Best Friend’s Ass” to look as though the characters —Austin Powers, Jessica Rabbit, and Ariel and Flounder— are dancing to the song. “It’s amazing just to have this summer song that everyone’s texting me about and calling me about and just saying how much they love it, and sending me videos of them dancing to it.”
Paris has had a passion for music her entire life. Since 3 years old, Paris has sung and played instruments, like the piano and violin. “In Vegas, I was actually the first person to host a party, before there was even DJs around. And then around 9 years ago, I just saw the change from celebrities hosting into DJs, so I basically trained with the best people in the business and learned and studied everything. And now, I won an award for Best Female DJ of the Year. Being a woman in this industry is amazing. I’ve had the best time traveling around the world playing festivals, parties, and stadiums —I love it.”
This spring, Paris played Miami’s Ultra Music Festival. “My favorite times to be in Miami are Ultra and Art Basel; every single year I do my annual party at WALL and it’s just amazing... It’s the best crowd —everyone from Europe, Ibiza, New York, and L.A. It’s just like a huge celebration of dance music.” Paris’ ensembles are just as hot as her energized sets. “I love neon pink and yellow and anything bright. I love when people put LED lights in outfits.” Paris’ recent EDC Vegas costumes included a tiara, embellished sunglasses, lots of colorful body jewels, an aqua butterfly- inspired ensemble, and a sparkly mermaid bra. Over the summer, Paris plans to release more new music with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike [“They’re such incredible producers.’], promote her new album, and to deejay all over the world. “I’m playing July 2 at Ushuaia, Tomorrowland in Belgium, and then I’m touring all throughout Europe, St. Tropez, Ibiza, London, Paris, Korea.”
Always on the go, this tenacious businesswoman is constantly traveling (over 250 days a year!) for her myriad ventures under the Paris Hilton Entertainment umbrella. “A lot of people don’t know that I’m an undercover nerd. I’m obsessed with anything that has to do with technology and virtual reality, so I have a lot of exciting new surprises coming out in the tech world within the next 2-3 months.” Her beauty portfolio alone has grossed over $2.5 billion dollars, and continues to see exponential growth. In the last couple of weeks, Paris became a partner and investor in The Glam App (founded by celebrity makeup artist/hair stylist Joey Maalouf and partner/CEO Katrina Barton), an app widely known as the Uber for beauty; launched her new skincare line, Paris Hilton Skincare, ProD.N.A. in Korea; and is preparing to release her 25th fragrance. “If I’m going to be somewhere for my fragrance or one of my 19 other product lines, I will then make sure I’m booking a different DJ gig or anything,” says the adept multitasker. “My life is very busy and very crazy, but a lot of fun.”
Much smarter and more business savvy than many people give her credit for, Paris didn’t reach her iconic stature by sitting back and watching the world pass her by —which is a common misconception, she tells me. “A lot of people assume, just because of my last name, that I was handed everything, that I have not worked for what I’ve done and it’s the exact opposite. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done on my own. And I just feel really proud of what I’ve accomplished because there’s people in my position that wouldn’t do that and I have and I will continue to do it. I love to follow my great-grandfather’s footsteps and I feel like being a businesswoman and an entrepreneur is something that really runs in my blood and this is just meant to be.”
Because her parents were so strict when she was younger, Paris always knew that she wanted to have complete control of her life as an adult. “It just feels amazing as a woman to depend on yourself. And I dunno, I just didn’t want to be another one of those trust fund kids. There’s not really a lot of gratification in life if you’re just taking something from your family, but when you’re actually adding to it...” She smiles. “And I’ve now created my own legacy —it’s an incredible feeling.”
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We want more
What’s hot on TV?
“I love Black Mirror on Netflix, one of my favorite shows. I don’t watch a lot of TV because I’m traveling so much.”
What haven’t you done yet career-wise or for fun? What’s on your bucket list this year?
“I’ve done pretty much everything you can imagine. The one thing I haven’t done yet is go to space, so I might have to plan a trip to Mars.” This year?
“Maybe [laughs].” You are a woman who has everything, what is the best gift you’ve received?
“My favorite kinds of gifts are something that are sentimental. So anytime I’ve had my best friends find pictures and memories and make a collage of all the photos, printed out with paint and glitter, just like, basically, an art piece. And that’s my favorite kind of gift to make. Every year, I always make my grandfather this huge canvas with pictures of us and our whole family and it’s really special. I was at his house two weeks ago and he had all of them up in the house and his room and it just made me feel so happy and that’s something that he really cherishes. Something I cherish. Just memories. ’Cause nowadays we just have an iPhone, so everything is just digital, but when you actually print it out and can see it as a piece, it’s something that’s a special memory.” Do you consider yourself an artist? “Yeah, definitely. I love art. I love to paint. I love to draw. I am actually going to be doing an art exhibit for Art Basel this upcoming year. I’ve been making this art exhibit for a couple of years now and just getting all the pieces together, but they’re so special to me that it’s hard to actually, when I do this exhibit, sell them because I love them so much. But I know that it will find a special place in someone’s house. Paintings, collages, drawings, photographs, and just Paris art.” What are you doing for fun? Is there any downtime? Do you get a second to breathe?
“Sometimes, a few minutes here and there [laughs]. My favorite thing is to just be at home and be with my pets. Just sitting with my dogs in bed chilling, making lasagna, having friends over. But I don’t get to do that that often ’cause I’m constantly in a different country every day. But if I do have an off day, I love to just be with the  dogs.” Favorite place to eat in Miami? “Mr. Chow.”
Words by Vanessa Pascale, Images by Jennifer Rovero
Keep up with Paris on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @ParisHilton And check out www.theglamapp.com to have beauty experts delivered to your door.