Kate's Notes

Friday, February 09, 2007

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton

Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is one of the first American socialites famous for, many say, simply being famous. Though she is a singer, actress, fashion model and even a writer, her personal exploits have gained her a level of infamy that has yet to be matched among any young female celebrity in the news/tabloids today.

Hilton is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, and to the real estate fortune of her father, Richard Hilton. She began receiving notoriety as a socialite in both Manhattan and Los Angeles; and has been described not only as a celebutante, a portmanteau of celebrity and debutante, but also by the more derogatory label of "celebutard," referring to her more negative exploits and foibles, such as an unauthorized release of a sex video of her with her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon, which was leaked onto the Internet in late 2003, her drunk driving arrest in late 2006, and most recently, a treasure trove of video, diaries and pictures that were taken from a storage locker, and now make up the main contents of the internet site, ParisExposed.com.

She initially became well known to the American public through her participation in the reality series, The Simple Life, with then best friend Nicole Richie; and has since branched out into many careers, including author, with her fall 2004 release, Confessions of an Heiress, actress, most notably in her supporting role in 2004s House of Wax, and as of August 2006, a singer, when she launched a her debut pop album Paris, which includes the single “Stars are Blind.”

Due to her cameos, commercials, modeling, TV and movies, according to Forbes Magazine's annual "Celebrity 100," Hilton earned approximately $2 million in 2003–2004, $6.5 million in 2004-2005, and $7 million in 2005-2006.


Hilton is the oldest of four children of Richard Hilton and Kathy Richards. She has a younger sister, Nicky Hilton, and two younger brothers, Barron Hilton II, and Conrad Hilton III.
On the maternal side of her family, Hilton is a niece of two popular child stars of the 1970s—Kim Richards and Kyle Richards, who appeared in the motion picture Escape to Witch Mountain and several television shows. By marriage, she also is related to Zsa Zsa Gabor (the Hungarian-born actress married Paris Hilton's great-grandfather Conrad Hilton), as well as Elizabeth Taylor (the actress's first husband was Paris Hilton's great-uncle, Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr.).

Her paternal grandparents are hotel chairman Barron Hilton, and his wife, Marilyn Hawley; and Hilton's paternal great-grandparents were Hilton Hotel founder Conrad Hilton and his first wife, Mary Barron. When Conrad Hilton died in 1979, he left nothing in his will to his children or other descendants. Barron Hilton contested this decision and won in 1988. The value of Paris's inheritance has been variously estimated at between (US) $30 and $50 million.

Hilton moved between several exclusive homes in her youth, including a suite in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and the Hamptons. Currently, her parents own a $30.5 million mansion in Bel Air, a $12.3 million estate in the Hamptons, and a $10 million house in the Hollywood Hills in which she and her sister stay to give them privacy and for easy access to clubs in Los Angeles. She attended her freshman year of high school in Rancho Mirage, California at the Marywood-Palm Valley School and her sophomore and junior years of high school at the Dwight School in New York, but dropped out and eventually earned a GED. Hilton did not attend college.

Rise to Fame

Hilton began to frequent clubs, some say, as young as 15 or 16. It was rumored that her mother, Kathy Hilton, not only allowed both of her daughters to go to night clubs even though they were underage, but even helped them get ready.

In early 2001, Hilton began to develop a reputation as a 19-year-old socialite, being identified as "New York's leading It Girl." Her fame began to extend beyond the socialite scene, and she even had her own cameo in Ben Stiller’s 2001 release, Zoolander; and this was before any of her more notable exploits.

Then in late 2003, her then three-year-old sex video leaked onto the internet, and fueled an internet and magazine gossip frenzy, only a week before the premiere of The Simple Life. Though Hilton has strongly denied claims that the leak was intentionally done to drum up publicity for her show, and stated she was "embarrassed" and "humiliated" by the publicity brought by the tape, it did make her a household name.

Since then, there have been dozens of incidents that keep Hilton in the news: from the hacking of her T-mobile Sidekick, which leaked her electronic phone book onto the internet with all of her famous friends’ phone numbers out there for the world to call, to breaking up her best-friendship with Nicole Richie, though not confirming the actual cause of their rift – she definitely has a knack for staying in the limelight.

Hilton is widely scorned for what some see as her narcissism, shallow intellect and materialism. However, she seems to be aware of the old adage that “there's no such thing as bad publicity.”

Fashion model

Hilton has signed with top modeling agencies: Ford Models Management in New York, Models 1 Agency in London, Nous Model Management in Los Angeles, and Premier Model Management in London. Hilton has walked for top fashion designers such as Philippe Treacye, Jasper Conran, Heatherette, and Julien MacDonald. She has appeared in numerous advertisements, including Iceberg, GUESS, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, and Marciano.


Hilton has tried, mostly in vain, to be taken seriously as an actress over the years. Her film credits include minor and supporting roles in the feature films House of Wax (2005), The Hillz (2004), Raising Helen (2004), and Nine Lives (2002). Her role in House of Wax won the Teen Choice Award for "Best Scream" and earned a "Best Frightened Performance" nomination at the MTV Movie Awards 2006. Hilton landed her first lead roles in 2006 with the straight-to-DVD releases National Lampoon's Pledge This! and Bottom's Up with Jason Mewes. She also appeared in The Cat in the Hat (2003), and Wonderland (2003). She has also acted in the short subjects QIK2JDG (2002) and L.A. Knights (2003).

Hilton's future film projects have been narrowed down to The Hottie and the Nottie (2008). And, though the role never seemed to come to fruition, there was also a rumor that she was being considered to play Mother Theresa in a feature movie based on the Saint’s life.

Hilton has also appeared in several music videos, including "It Girl" by John Oates (of Hall & Oates fame), "Just Lose It" by Eminem and "Caught Up In The Rapture" by Won-G featuring Gisele.

Recording Artist

Hilton is the founder of Heiress Records, a sub-label of Warner Bros. Records, which she created in 2004. Heiress Records' only release to date, is her own album Paris, though Hilton has said that she plans to sign new artists in the future.

Hilton’s album Paris, was released on August 22, 2006 after nearly two years of work and debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200. Hilton has said that her album features a number of genres, such as pop, reggae, and hip-hop.

Producers for Paris include Greg Wells, Kara DioGuardi, Jane Wiedlin and Scott Storch. Hilton collaborated with Fat Joe and Jadakiss on the song "Fighting Over Me". The first single from Paris "Stars Are Blind", produced by Fernando Garibay, was released for download on June 20, 2006 and peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Turn It Up" and "Nothing in This World" followed "Stars Are Blind" as worldwide singles. Hilton is already planning and recording tracks for her second album, including a new song called "Daddy's Little Girl."

It garnered fairly positive reviews, as All Music Guide stated, "...it's more fun than anything released by Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, and a lot fresher, too." However, some debate whether all the vocals on the album are Hilton’s because she refuses to tour to promote the album, and when she is caught singing live, some have said that lacks ability.

In August/September 2006, it was revealed that underground artists Banksy and Danger Mouse replaced 500 copies of Hilton's debut album in various UK record stores with their own parody remixes and cover art: Danger Mouse remixed the songs and gave them titles such as "Why am I Famous?", "What Have I Done?" and "What Am I For?" and Banksy has doctored pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show Hilton topless and with a dog's head. Along with completely reworked liner notes that included topless photos of Ms. Hilton slathered with slogans like "Every CD you buy puts me even further out of your league", Danger Mouse has replaced Hilton's original songs with his own remixes and given Paris Hilton has her own channel in YouTube which is currently the #34 most subscribed channel of all time on the service, with over 10,000 subscriptions and 2,000,000 views.

Other Media

In the fall of 2004, Hilton released a book, Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose co-written by Merle Ginsberg, which has full color photographs of her and gives her tips on the dos and don'ts of living as an heiress. Hilton was reportedly given $100,000 in advanced payment for this book. Even with some critical reviews, the book became a New York Times bestseller. Hilton followed it up with a designer-diary, also with Ginsberg—Your Heiress Diary: Confess It All To Me. Aimed at her young fans, it contained pages encouraging fans to write about their goals, their friends and family, boys, celebrities they admire, etc. Hilton plans to release another book in 2007.

Hilton has helped design a collection of purses for Tokyo label Samantha Thavasa and has also been involved in the design of a jewelry line, The Paris Hilton Collection, for Amazon.com. Hilton launched the Paris Hilton Limited Edition Watch Collection brand during a news conference at the Tourneau store in New York November 30, 2005. Hilton's 18kt white gold and diamond encrusted watches that she helped design start at $100,000. Hilton also has plans to launch a fashion line.

Fred Khalilian, chose Hilton to represent a chain of nightclubs known as Club Paris in 2005. The first of which in Orlando, Florida opened on December 31, 2004. Hilton was supposed to host the opening event, and the ribbon cutting ceremony, though she showed up six hours late. Subsequently her sister, Nicky Hilton had to cut the ribbon. A second club located in Jacksonville, Florida opened July 1, 2006, and Paris failed to show up to that opening at all.

Because Paris did not live up to her contractual obligations for promoting the club, Hilton was fired in January 2007 by the owner of Club Paris, Fred Khalilian, after she had failed to attend several scheduled appearances. An upcoming reality show created by Khalilian will feature 18 women competing to be the next 'Ms. Club Paris USA', who will then replace Paris as the face of the club chain.

Gameloft, a developer and publisher of mobile games, previewed a Paris Hilton-branded mobile game called Paris Hilton's Diamond Quest at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). As of May 26, 2006, Gameloft's press release states that "...the company decided on a title to reflect the fresh, dynamic and sexy appeal of the heiress extraordinaire."

In early May of 2004, Hilton was involved in the creation of a fragrance line by Parlux Fragrances. The perfume would be aptly named Paris Hilton. Hilton said, "It's really hot. I mixed all these scents together...it smells so good". The perfume launch was a success. Originally set to be a small release, demand was high and necessitated a wider release before Christmas of 2004. The launch was followed by a 47% increase in sales for Parlux, which was predominantly due to sales of the Hilton-branded perfume. After the success of Hilton's perfume, Parlux Fragrances released Paris Hilton for Men, a cologne for Hilton's male admirers, as well as another fragrance called Just Me by Paris Hilton, which is available for both women and men. Another perfume titled Heiress by Paris Hilton was released in October 2006. A counterpart for men, Heir by Paris Hilton, has also been released by Parlux, with a new line of color cosmetics set to follow.

In November of 2004, Hilton participated in Sean "Diddy" Combs' Citizen Change campaign to encourage youths to vote in the presidential election. She drew criticism after it was revealed she had neither voted, nor even registered to do so.

Personal Life

Hilton has been widely discussed by tabloids. In 2000, the National Enquirer reported a casual friendship with Leonardo DiCaprio as something far more intimate. She has also been linked to other celebrities, including Nu-Metal singer/producer Fred Durst , professional skateboarder Chad Muska, filmmaker Vincent Gallo, actor Edward Furlong, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Chicago Bears football player Brian Urlacher, singers Deryck Whibley and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, former University of Southern California and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, UK rap artist Joe Buckton, Australian tennis player Mark Philippoussis, Australian Idol contestant Robert 'Millsy' Mills, fashion model Lucas Bain, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, NHL Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore, England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and ex-MTV VJ Simon Rex.

Hilton was engaged to male fashion model Jason Shaw from mid-2002 to early 2003. On May 29, 2005, she announced her engagement to Paris Latsis, a Greek shipping heir. However, on October 1, 2005, Hilton announced that the five-month engagement had been called off. Soon thereafter, she began dating another Greek shipping heir, Stavros Niarchos III, but as of May 2, 2006, Hilton publicist Elliot Mintz told the press of the reported breakup.

On 20 April 2005, amid media reports that their friendship was in trouble, Paris Hilton released a statement about her best friend Nicole Richie, saying: "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it." In 2006, Hilton told HX Magazine the reasons for the split was that she and Nicole "grew apart because of fame." As of October 9, 2006 reports claim to indicate that the 18 month feud between Hilton and Richie is over. They rekindled their friendship with a meal, sleepover, and photographs. Hilton said she was delighted to resume their old friendship, and it is believed that their mutual disagreements regarding the new season of "The Simple Life" helped bring the two friends back together.

On July 11, 2006 in an attempt to "rediscover herself", Hilton imposed a ban on sexual activity for one year. She told "Regis and Kelly": "I'm doing it just because I want to. I feel I'm becoming stronger as a person. Every time I have a boyfriend, I'm just so romantic, and I'll put all my energy into the guy, and I don't really pay attention to myself. One-night stands are not for me. I think it's gross when you just give it up. Guys want you more if you don't just hand it to them on a platter. If they want you, then they will wait. You have to make them work for it. I think that's the only way you know if they really want you or just want to be able to brag that they've been with you." Despite her comments of a single life, Hilton was photographed kissing Brandon Davis on July 16, 2006 in West Hollywood. Hilton was also photographed making out with Stavros Niarchos III in Saint-Tropez on July 30, 2006. On July 31, 2006, she told People that she and Stavros are together again. The couple split in May after seven months of dating. "We're together now here. We love each other," Hilton says.

On September 7, 2006, Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence, even though she claimed that she had just one margarita, and that the high alcohol content in her blood was a result of having no time to eat during a long day while making a music video. Hilton was arrested shortly before 12:30 a.m. in Hollywood. "The officers observed that Hilton exhibited the symptoms of intoxication. A field sobriety test was conducted at scene, and the officers determined she was driving under the influence," a LAPD spokesman said. Hilton's blood alcohol content was .08, California's limit. Hilton was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI and released almost immediately due to the flood of photographers outside. She stated she was speeding to get food at the In-N-Out Burger restaurant.

On January 22, 2007, Hilton pled no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving, a lesser charge than driving under the influence. She was placed on 36 months probation and ordered to pay fines of about US$1,500.

On January 22, 2007, Hilton's private life was again thrust into the media spotlight with the launch of ParisExposed.com, a website that claims to feature images of personal documents, video, and other material allegedly obtained when the contents of a storage locker rented by Hilton was auctioned off due to lack of a $208 payment. The site began charging online access to this material.

The owner of the site, Bardia Persa, claims he paid close to US$10 million to acquire the items from Nabil and Nabila Haniss, a couple who paid US$2,775 for the contents of the storage unit. Persa stated he expects to break even on the purchase, as his website received 1.2 million visitors just over 40 hours. Among the contents of the container were found prescriptions, diaries, photographs, contracts and love letters as well as a video of her shot by Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame, who she once dated.

Hilton filed a federal lawsuit on January 27, 2007 against the Haniss couple and Persa. Hilton said that a moving company was responsible for paying the storage fees for the locker.


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