Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981 in New York City, New York) is... well, that's the thing. How did she become famous? Hell, what is it precisely that she's famous for in the first place? Seeing as how she served as the model for the modern ideal of the "celebutante", those are questions that beg to be answered.
Paris was born into the multi-billionaire Hilton family, owners of the hotel chain bearing their name. She was, by all accounts, fairly troublesome in her youth, spending a year at a residential school for "troubled teens" in Utah and getting kicked out of a Connecticut boarding school before dropping out of high school altogether and getting a GED. Afterward, she became a fairly standard model/socialite/"it girl", serving as a regular fixture of tabloids and the New York nightclub scene. In 2003, Fox approached her to star on a reality show called The Simple Life, in which she and another big-city socialite (they eventually decided on Nicole Richie, adopted daughter of Lionel) would be sent to live on a farm in Arkansas where hijinks would presumably ensue. The two accepted.
The scandal that erupted from Paris's sex tape (retroactively known as 1 Night in Paris) turned her into an overnight celebrity and The Simple Life into a smash hit for Fox. She leveraged that fame to appear in a whole slew of films and TV shows, many of which either went Direct to Video or were small cameos (apart from House of Wax (2005), Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Hottie & the Nottie), as well as record an album, create several reality shows, and write a bestselling, tongue-in-cheek autobiography. When she wasn't working, she was frequently running afoul of the law, most often for reckless driving of very expensive cars (often while inebriated) and for carrying and using drugs. Her list of arrests and fines is too long to list here, so go check The Other Wiki if you care about that.
Between her behavior and the auspicious beginnings of her career as a celebrity, Paris earned a many detractors, frequently topping lists of the most disliked celebrities in America for much of the mid-late '00s. Most people wondered just how it was possible for a person to become a media fixture as big as Paris merely by appearing on a single reality show and making a single sex tape, and the fact that Paris was seemingly only the first of many such celebutantes to take this route to fame made them fear for the future of popular culture. Of course, the phenomenon of being "Famous for Being Famous" is a bit older than people realize — the term "celebutante" was coined as far back as 1939, and many of the "Warhol Superstars" of The '70s fit the bill as well as any Kardashian. Plus, at the very least she seems to be fully aware of how she got famous. But then again, none of the celebutantes of days past ever reached anything close to the level of media saturation as Paris Hilton and those who followed in her footsteps. Does her success say something about the state of our society? If so, what?
Needless to say, Paris Hilton is a very controversial figure. The Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment is in full effect on this page.
As far as what she has actually done and ventured into, includes everything from perfumery, music, acting, authoring, to Reality TV.
- Paris Hilton (2006)
- House of Wax (2005)
- Bottoms Up (2006)
- Pledge This! (2006)
- The Hottie & the Nottie (2008)
- Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
- Paris Hilton (2004)
- Just Me (2005)
- Heiress (2006)
- Can Can (2007)
- Fairy Dust (2008)
- Siren (2008)
- Dazzle (2012)
- Confessions of A Heiress (2004)
- The Simple Life (2003-2007)
- Paris Hilton's My New BFF (2008-2009)
- Paris Hilton's British Best Friend (2009)
- Paris Hiltons Dubai BFF (2009)
- The World According to Paris (2011)
- Adam Westing: Many, and perhaps most, of her acting roles played off of her public image.
- On Supernatural, she played an ancient goddess whose personality is that of a spoiled celebrity.
- Her character in Repo! The Genetic Opera, a famous socialite and heiress who is literally addicted to plastic surgery.
- In a Funny Or Die video where she announced she would be running for president in 2008.
- Affectionate Parody: Her video for "Nothing In This World" is one of The Girl Next Door.
- Bare Your Midriff: She is very much known for this. Dear God.
- Billing Displacement: Is on the DVD cover for Nine Lives (2002) and gets third billing (the cast is billed in alphabetical order) when she only has roughly 30 minutes of screen time.
- Contralto of Danger: Contrasting with the familiar high-pitched, baby voice she's known for, Paris Hilton actually has a low-pitched voice. In the usual iteration of this trope, she started to use it in public in the late 2010's/early 2020's to be taken more seriously and rebrand her persona as more authentic.
- Development Hell: Her second album has been delayed since her first one... by eight years and counting.
- Dumb Blonde: Adopted this persona for The Simple Life
- Everyone Loves Blondes: The marketing for House of Wax played on this, with a promotional T-shirt that read "See Paris Die May 6". What better way to promote a film than by casting an actress with substantial haters just so that haters can see her get killed off onscreen?
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: In her first few film roles, she played herself or characters who evoked the public's image of her (Nine Lives for instance has her as a spoiled rich socialite). Even when promoting House of Wax (2005) she marketed a range of t-shirts with a slogan "See Paris Die", and a track on the movie's score albumnote on Varèse Sarabande is called "Paris Gets It" - even though she's playing a character called Paige.
- Identical Stranger: Invoked for her part on the hidden camera series I Get That A Lot. She pretended to be a gas station attendant who simply had a resemblance to herself.
- Ms. Fanservice: Many of her TV and film appearances have her as eye candy.
- Playing Against Type: Along with Chad Michael Murray and Elisha Cuthbert in House of Wax. Paris had previously only done cameos as herself or played characters that were basically herself (Nine Lives). Her character Paige is a small-town teenage girl who worries about an unplanned pregnancy.
- Reality TV: Most of her work has been in this field.
- She Really Can Act: Critics have praised her performances in Repo! The Genetic Opera and as a villain in an episode of Supernatural.
- Shoe Size Angst: She admitted in her biopic that she hates her size 11 feet.