Meet the Real Paris Hilton

On Sept. 14, 2020, Paris Hilton released a documentary titled This is Paris. 39-year-old Paris Hilton, is an American media personality, businesswoman, socialite, model, singer, actress, and DJ. Her immense wealth comes from her great-grandfather, Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. She lives a lavish life with a closet full of designer clothes and would never dare wear the same outfit twice. Although Hilton may seem like a ditzy, bratty, rich girl, she has created an extraordinarily successful billion-dollar brand. From perfumes to handbags, Hilton’s 19 product lines have made over $1.3 billion since 2005. In the one hour and 45-minute movie, Hilton discloses an unknown side to her that has been hidden from the world. She opens up about her childhood, abusive relationships, and other traumatic experiences.

The documentary begins with Paris visiting her childhood home and sharing what her early childhood was like. Born into the wealthy Hilton family, there were many expectations she had to uphold. She explains that everything was about her image and that she was always reminded of how beautiful she was. Because of all the pressure her family put on her, she was bound to rebel, and she did when her family moved to New York City. Hilton’s parents were very strict and never allowed her or her siblings to go out. She became tired of not being a part of the social scene and started to neglect her parents by sneaking out to go to clubs and parties. From this, she became “addicted to the nightlife.” Hilton explains that when she entered the New York City party scene, “That’s where I really became Paris.”

Hilton’s parents finally had enough of her disobedient behavior and decided to send her away to multiple disciplinary schools. She ended up escaping all of them. One night she was woken up, captured from her home by two strange men, and brought to the Provo Canyon School in Provo, Utah. Paris says, “I saw my parents standing by their door crying. I was like, ‘Please help me, what’s happening?’ And no one would tell me what was happening.” Hilton explains that she still has nightmares about this night every time she falls asleep.

I saw my parents standing by their door crying. I was like, ‘Please help me, what’s happening?’ And no one would tell me what was happening.

— Paris Hilton

Provo Canyon School is a psychiatric youth residential treatment center. She describes this experience as abusive torture. She was prescribed mystery pills that made her feel numb. Eventually, she found a way to secretly not swallow the pills, but when she was caught, and she was put in solitary confinement for 20 straight hours while naked and starving.

She says, “Someone was in the other room in a straightjacket screaming.” The worst part of this whole situation was the fact that her parents had no idea about how appalling the abuse was. After 11 months of misery, she was finally released. Hilton adds that the only thing that kept her going was thinking about what she wanted to do and who she wanted to become when she was set free.

Towards the end of the documentary, Hilton reunites with her roommates from Provo. The five women, who were emotionally and physically abused by this school, created posters that read, “Provo Canyon school gave me…” Some examples were: trust issues, PTSD, insomnia, trauma, etc. These posters were used for a photoshoot to support their campaign against Provo Canyon school. Using #BreakCodeSilence, they posed in front of the camera, duct tape over their mouths, holding their posters.

After the Provo Canyon school abuse, Hilton opens up about her developed trust issues, especially in relationships. She reveals that she sets up hidden cameras whenever she has a new boyfriend over, so she always knows what’s happening. She also exposes that every time she gets into a new relationship, she buys a new computer because they always break into her computer out of jealousy or curiosity. She then goes under her bed and pulls out about twenty or thirty laptops. To show her trouble with relationships, the documentary shows an up-close look at Hilton’s private relationship with a soccer player, Alex Novakovic. Before her DJ performance at Tomorrowland, a music festival in Belgium with over 400,000 people, Hilton and Novakovic fought. Five minutes before her set Novakovic is yelling at her and chasing her. After he’s taken away by security, she goes on stage and acts as nothing happened. This situation is symbolic because on stage she looks like she’s having the time of her life, but behind the curtain, she’s being mentally abused.

One situation with Novakovic is representative of a theme running throughout the entirety of the documentary which is that facade that Hilton presents to the public. After Hilton’s hit show with Nicole Richie in 2003 called The Simple Life, she was perceived as a bubble-headed brat. However, as the documentary goes on, Hilton confesses that this was just an act to build her brand, “I’m not a dumb blonde. I’m just really good at pretending to be one.” An example of this commitment to the dumb blonde facade is that her voice drops an octave when she’s not in public. Hilton explains that ever since she has created this persona she, “has been stuck with it ever since.” Shareez Hasan, CEO of Fame by Shareez, is a social media strategist for Hilton, as well as Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, and many other celebrities. He says, “All the things that people are doing today on social media, the first person was Paris Hilton.”

All the things that people are doing today on social media, the first person was Paris Hilton.

— Shareez Hasan

Hilton even claimed to invent the selfie. Although becoming the “original influencer” was a large portion of why she is so famous today, Hilton feels like she “helped create a monster.”
Documentaries like these show that stars are more than the brand that they portray to the public eye. They are more than just superficial characters. It seems the deeper the psychological damage there is, the more control a person seeks (like recording their boyfriends). Paris has spent most of her career creating this facade of a perfect, happy life, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. If you want an inside scoop of Paris Hilton’s undercover life, this is the documentary for you.
This is Paris is streaming now on YouTube!