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The World Has Changed, Paris Hilton Has Not

That might be a problem for her

05.11.17

There is something oddly comforting, in the midst of the chaotic cultural turmoil and turnover that’s defined this decade, that Paris Hilton hasn’t changed. Her life is still defined by jet-setting between luxury hotels and flashy night clubs; by long platinum blonde hair and a singsong voice; by a Beverly Hills mansion decked out in pink frills, Pomeranians and massive portraits of her own face.

As everyone’s favorite decade rears its bedazzled head in the form of Juicy Couture tracksuits and tiaras, people are checking back in on Paris. I suppose it only makes sense, as our nostalgia creeps out of the ’90s and into the aughts, that it would extend to the decade’s favorite It Girl. She’s the perfect canvas upon which to vomit our sentimentality: present-day Paris is a living and breathing vestige of the the exact woman the world was fascinated by 15 years ago. She’s still calling herself a socialite and saying, “That’s hot.” She still embodies a frivolous energy. She’s still so unserious.

via W

“Paris Hilton Invented Everything You’re Doing in 2017, and She Knows It,” was the headline of her profile in W Magazinepublished this morning. In it, Paris discusses how she pioneered the modern selfie and is flattered when new trends nod at her 2000s style. “To now see things on the runway, and to see girls wearing things that I used to wear is really cool because nobody really dressed like me back in the day,” she tells W. When Kendall Jenner recreated her 21st birthday look on her own 21st birthday, Paris thought it was “the ultimate compliment.”

Paris never really went away. Over the past two decades, she’s built a business empire worth billions (with a $5 million inheritance), has become a million-dollar-a-night DJ and has been posting things like this to her 6.9 million followers to high praise:

Barbie is my #SpiritAnimal ✨💖👱🏼‍♀️💖✨

A post shared by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on

It’s more that she hasn’t been treated like a pop culture icon in a while. Her brand feels vintage next to those of Kylie Jenner and Beyoncé, for instance, who set trends with a single Instagram and can’t tweet without making headlines. But could Paris Hilton be making a comeback? It’s an interesting question namely because the people we choose to celebrate, like it or not, reflect society’s values.

thinks maybe: “[B]eyond the surface level,” W writes, “she also possessed an authentic attitude that was unapologetic about being privileged, feminine, and sexual. She seemed to truly enjoy being herself to the fullest, and in 2017’s highly-curated, filtered world, the candor of that former ‘hot mess’ is, surprisingly, refreshing.”

Paris may be unapologetic, but engaging with her and her world feels like taking a break from reality. Delightful in small doses, like a handful of Skittles. It’s hard to imagine such a brand having staying power in 2017, though. We’re a generation enamored with authenticity and relatability and progressive ideals. Paris, on the other hand, is a superrich caricature of herself, with a documented past of extremely problematic comments and nary a memorable platform, wandering around her sprawling property and laughing to reporters saying, “This is like, everyday.”

She flaunts how far-removed she is, something we expect modern day personalities to avoid like the plague. Her W profile didn’t make me dislike her, necessarily, but it’s a trope with no weight to make it stick. We ask more of our celebrities in 2017. I wonder if she’s up to the task.

We won’t blame you, Paris, if you’d rather pad around your pink mansion in private. It might even be for the best.

Photo by Frazer Harrison via Getty Images.

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  • _lauristia

    Never liked Paris, not back in 00’s, neither now in the 10’s

    She has always been to me an anoying spoiled daddy’s princess.

    Not a human being taking advantaje from their fortune to make a better world, it’s like a beautiful bug trapped on a mason jar, she does nothing but looking good.

    • Catseye Nebula

      They say 40 is the new 30. Sure she is a daddy’s girl, but she didnt just sit around waiting for a husband to come along. Whether one likes her or not, she was the original Kardashian. The only difference is that her daddy is still alive. As far as making a difference in the world, many people will argue that fashion pursuits are superfluous. I think people with money are not obligated to help anyone. That’s a very idealistic viewpoint.

  • Adrianna

    That video: holy botox. She’s really doing herself a disservice by taking away something that could add some dimension or humor to her monotoned schtick.

  • JessWantsToDance

    I love Paris and I think she’s a genius. I think people take her too seriously. She’s like a satire of herself and it’s hilarious and entertaining. Why does everything have to be so serious?

    • 808kate

      In 2012 I passed by her in the lobby of the Arclight movie theater in LA. She was wearing a black hoodie and black Louboutin boots, hair in a bun and talking on the phone in a much lower voice compared to how I usually heard her on TV. The way she came across was totally different from her TV persona. It always makes me think she just branded herself with the Simple Life and continues to roll with it because it’s been so successful.

  • Leandra Medine

    The thing for me about Paris that is so refreshing is so simple: she *is*authentic. A bastion of what we look for in being unapologetically herself. Sometimes I feel like we demand honesty but only if it reflects the filter bubbles we choose to define that honesty.

    • ihaveacooch

      idk i think we need to stop giving this trash human attention. she’s been saying racist things for a while (http://gawker.com/5784564/paris-hilton-i-cant-stand-black-guys), has been arrested for driving while drunk/drug usage, etc. what’s redeemable about her? i’m not going to respect her because she’s “unapologetically herself”…

      • Lil

        Hm, not a huge fan of Paris, but is Gawker a reliable source?

      • Cristina

        Also, not a fan of Paris but the Kardashians are better?

        • ihaveacooch

          i didn’t even mention the kardashians.

    • Kind of like Trump. Like, the guy is so unapologetically himself. It’s really refreshing. ◔_◔

      • Alexandra Queiroz

        Exactly!

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      I hated her circa the sex tapes and Simple Life, but I actually like her now. She IS refreshing, because unlike all the crap reality stars that came after her-using her formula for fame, Paris never dressed up her schtick as anything other than what it actually was: Rich kid having silly ridiculous fun. Love her or hate her, she does what she feels like when she feels like it, and doesn’t apologize for it. As an artist, I have a hard time calling reality stars “authentic,” because they didn’t work at a particular skill to arrive to such notoriety, but Paris actually is authentic.

    • Kittybat

      I’ve met Paris, and she’s genuinely a nice girl. If she feels that you’re not going to attack her character or the caricature of herself (which I find actually funny and endearing) and you genuinely want to get to know her too. I told her I was a fan from the 2004 era (we’re roughly the same age), and she loved that. She also says please and thank you and gave me a big hug. I feel like people beat up on her a lot because they can and she’s an extremely easy target—blonde, rich, thin. But her glitz and glisten and affinity for pink is loveable. I’d take her over the Kardashians any day. Paris is always gonna be the OG to me, and that’s hot 😉

  • Molly D

    Maybe she’s more palatable now because we haven’t heard about her much. I find myself wanting to despise the Gigi’s for no other reason than the fact that they are EVERYWHERE.

    • Holly Laine Mascaro

      Soooo sick of the Hadids. SO. They are the face of every brand, doesn’t that kind of defeat the marketing purpose, if every brand seems the same with the same face?!

  • Kay Nguyen

    I have never liked Paris but I don’t hate her either! She was (sort of) an icon in the fashion world decade ago but I can’t stand her attitude, just can’t relate to her money-talking style.

    https://www.myblackcloset.com

  • “We’re a generation enamored with authenticity and relatability and progressive ideals.”

    Yes, and no. Does Yara Shahidi’s popularity seem like a product of our generation as defined by your quote? Yes. But you can’t deny that Kylie Jenner has even more influence despite being fairly inauthentic and unrelatable? Absolutely. And Paris was the OG.

    http://otisunfiltered.blogspot.com/

    • Haley Nahman

      A good point. I was thinking about this! But I do think the Kardashians have something Paris never did: an incredible emphasis on family and letting people in on their struggles and tragedies. They’ve built their entire empire around it because it’s something that seems to really strike a chord in America. That’s evidence, I think, of culture’s thirst for some kind of grounded cornerstone, even if the other frills are crazy unrelatable. Know what I mean?
      Also, Kylie Jenner faces a shit-ton of backlash for being inauthentic, a lot of people really HATE the Kardashians for this reason — which isn’t something that I think was happening as much in Paris’ time.
      I’m totally speculating! But I think even the kardashians offer a slight departure from Paris’ kind of fame.
      That said, I’d looooove for Yara Shahidi to become the new norm for what makes people famous. I do think we are seeing more and more celebs like her. I think we’re trending more in that direction than the Paris direction.
      Okay anyway now I’m just procrastinating!

      • I think the Kardashians as a unit are as much of an open book as it gets, from Kim’s fertility issues to Khloe’s marital issues with Lamar to the saga that is Kourtney and Scott and not to mention Caitlyn’s transition.

        Kylie (and Kendall) are the only ones I feel like have managed to reach their level of popularity without divulging much, if anything, as it relates to their personalities. It’s beyond surface level, which is honestly impressive because I do think it’s undeniable that the consumer (of celebrity brands and products) increasingly looks to the set of values someone or something represents a la Yara Shahidi but also the Toms/Warby Parker/social impact brands.

        The end!

      • Cristina

        Mm. I pretty much think every thing/struggle/heartache/marriage the Kardashian Jenner family does is carefully curated for fame. That fact that their family attributes keep America fascinated does not speak highly of Americans.

  • Cristina

    I’m totally a Paris fan. You do you girl. You go Glen Coco. All of that. She is so unapologetic. She doesn’t change herself based on the men she dates. She doesn’t change herself to fit society today. Also. She’s filthy rich. How does the way she acts rich differ from the way the Kardashians act rich? I’d rather be a DJ-ing socialite any day.

  • Bo

    Paris unabashedly epitomises the worst of western culture because she actually has no idea how to be anything different, and for that I mostly pity her. 10/10 loving that star-shaped Swarovski barrette tho

    • Bo

      (Who am I kidding, it’s probably made of actual diamonds)

  • gracesface

    Good god that video is everything. She’s hasn’t changed an inch! And I was always more of a fan of Nicky Hilton tbh.

  • RD

    paris is actually a very unique person. in the 2000’s she basically defined the reality star (and while she was launching several businesses, she perfected the act of what ‘reality’ meant for the rest of the world). it’s interesting to see what came out of that era because now people are eating up reality tv shows, which are scripted but yield millions for networks and those who perform in them. she also helped all her friends start their own businesses, thanks to all the media that followed all the nonsense, and they all made bank of all of it. while people just assumed she’s an iditot. it’s funny because she’s actually the one who kicked off this trend and possibly made the most out of it.

  • starryhye

    I find it a bit odd that Paris Hilton, a 36 yr old woman, hasn’t changed in the last 15 years.

  • elpug

    I want to count the head-nods in the attached video. Also I love this take on her.

  • Paris Hilton is a great reminder of the narcissistic, self absorption that is no longer in vogue. Perhaps she can take a cue from her past comments and barbs that she has launched against others — everyone has their use by date and her is long gone. If she had done something worthwhile or noteworthy there would be something to redeem here. But even my adult sons, who are around her age, think she is strange. And her plastic surgery is going to be wearing off soon as she approaches the big 40, it’s time for her to consider a new reinvention, no one wants to see a 40 year old acting like a pre-teen.

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