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Paris Hilton, Fashion, and Trauma


Paris Hilton, Fashion, and Trauma

Paris Hilton recently told People magazine that no one really knows who she is (including herself, until recently). What’s worse, she has been haunted by early traumas. Here at LPT, we know this much: Paris Hilton was a phenomenon of the early 2000s.

“The 2000s were all about Britney Spears, boy bands. It was all about monograms and labels, like Chanel and Dior and Louis Vuitton,” Hilton told Vogue last year. “I feel like everybody just had really fun with their fashion choices. I think it was just all about being super extra.” 

Paris Hilton became an influencer before we even knew what that was. No other celebrity was a symbol of early 2000s fashion more than Paris. Her style somehow defined the decade and affected wardrobe choices more than you might have realized. She’s partly responsible for the craze around low-rise jeans, crop tops, graphic tees, belly chains, trucker hats, tiaras, and… a lot of pink! 

“I’ve always been obsessed with wearing lots of pink and sparkles, a lot of Swarovski crystals.”

Paris Hilton

She also gets credit for making the tracksuit trendy! Sounds like mission impossible: trucker hat and tracksuit but make it fashion (Tyra Banks reference). And if you’re tired of hearing about the Kardashains, she’s also to blame for that: Kim Kardashian made appearances in the reality TV show The Simple Life as Hilton’s assistant and stylist. It gave her exposure and a taste for reality TV show stardom. Now it seems that Kardashian has outmastered her teacher in some respects, or at least, held onto cultural relevance for longer. As Kim recently mentioned in the KUWTK episode: “I really would wanna do anything for her [Paris Hilton]. She literally gave me a career. And I totally acknowledge that.” 

Like President Trump, Paris Hilton blew up her name into a big and controversial brand.

Well, “Hilton” was already a huge brand but she managed to make a brand of HERSELF, individually.

Paper Magazine called Hilton “the mother of the digital age.” She proved that you can get paid for just being YOU (and having privileges and a limited amount of shame). Some people from earlier generations still can’t fathom how anyone can make a living without having their tooshy on a cushy from 9 to 5.

Today, it seems to be easier to get attention than it was even a couple of decades ago. 

“Nowadays, I feel like it’s so easy becoming famous,” Hilton said in an interview with W Magazine. “Anybody with a phone can do it.”

But being famous comes with downsides. Hilton had a lot of critics who were revolted by the very idea of “famous for being famous” and who criticized in her very personal ways.

Sophia Amoruso, A.K.A. Nasty Gal, explained this love-hate relationship in an Instagram post last summer. She acknowledged that Paris Hilton was born into privilege and might seem like a stereotypical ditzy blonde. But Paris knows what she’s doing. 

Amoruso wrote: “Whether you love it or hate it, she pretty much invented getting paid to party. She travels 250 days out of the year and none of those flights are for vacations. She has 19 product lines, 25 fragrances, an app, and is currently filming a documentary…”

Hilton’s YouTube Originals documentary “This Is Paris” is coming out in September, and in it, she apparently opens up about a traumatic event that happened in her childhood.

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“No one really knows who I am,” she says in the exclusive sneak peek for People. “Something happened in my childhood that I’ve never talked about with anyone. I still have nightmares about it.”

Paris says that she experienced mental abuse as a teenager while attending a boarding school in Utah. According to People, the documentary tells the real story of “a teenage girl desperate to escape into a fantasy” and it “sheds new light on the insta-fame culture that Paris helped to create.” 

I kept thinking about the lifestyle trend Paris Hilton started while I was watching the Netflix original series “Selling Sunset” (a guilty pleasure of mine). Christine Quinn, now a reality TV star in her own right, was clearly using the Paris formula on the show. Remember her needless dramas and extravagant engagement party with that zebra? It was totally Hilton-style: lavish and crazy. And giving the audience exactly what they want: pure, silly entertainment.

“I think when people see this film, they’re really going to see a different side to me than they’ve ever seen before,” said Paris Hilton about her documentary. “Because I honestly didn’t even know who I was up until this year. I really learned a lot about myself through this film.”

And in a way, that reveals everything about this new entertainment industry business model. It’s possible to be a global brand, and still be lost. Another tragic example of this can be found in Kanye West.

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