Image Source: Kevin Ostajewski
For many, their first introduction to Paris Hilton was through her early reality TV show “The Simple Life.” The series, which saw Hilton and pal Nicole Richie transplanted from their high-profile surroundings to live with middle-class families and work blue-collar jobs, is a time capsule of the early aughts. While the show – which is turning 20 this year – is beloved by many, it featured a very different Hilton than the world has gotten to know these past few years. And with the release of her deeply personal memoir, “Paris,” a fully fleshed-out picture of the multihyphenate’s triumphs and tribulations has formed.
Asked specifically what she would say to the Paris of yesteryear – the onscreen character she created with an unmistakeable baby voice and the very real young woman who survived a traumatic stint at a much-maligned troubled-teen camp, Provo Canyon School, only to be a frequent subject of hateful tabloid fodder – Hilton has a specific message. “I would tell her that you’re going to go through some really hard and difficult times, and sometimes people are going to be mean and your feelings are going to get hurt, but one day, people are going to really see you for who you are and respect you and look up to you,” Hilton tells POPSUGAR as her memoir is released. “[I’d say] just to keep strong and know that one day your story is going to make such a difference and impact for others.”
The impact Hilton speaks of is tangible. Following shocking allegations in her 2020 documentary about her treatment at the aforementioned camp, Hilton has testified in front of multiple state legislatures and worked directly with Congress to push for an investigation into the operations of the big players in the troubled-teen industry, like Provo. She’s been an integral part of pushing forward the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act, which will, among other things, address inhumane treatment practices at congregate care facilities and prioritize not only the physical well-being but also social and emotional well-being of the youth.
“I feel so empowered by all the survivors in this community,” Hilton says, noting the “hundreds of thousands of children” who have been sent to troubled-youth facilities. “Everyone is so brave and resilient and to have survived what we survived and getting to meet people who have been through the same experience as me and just thousands and thousands of letters just touch my heart every single day. And just to know that the kids in there know that I’m out there fighting for them and being the hero that I always needed when I was a little girl.”
Paris the hero is just the latest hat she’s wearing. She was Paris the socialite, then the singer and the DJ, then the actor, and now, the author – and mom. Hilton announced the arrival of her first child, a boy named Phoenix, earlier this year. Like advocacy, this is a role Hilton is relishing. “I feel like I was born to be a mom,” she says. “I love every minute with him. He’s just so precious, and my heart just feels so full, and I am so excited for all the experiences with him.”
“I feel like I was born to be a mom.”
Hilton affirms the oft-repeated claim from parents that there’s no love like the love for one’s child. “You don’t fully understand it until you experience that,” she explains. “But ever since the first moment, I’ve just been this whole . . . like, my priorities have shifted. It’s just completely changed my outlook on life.”
Motherhood won’t be slowing Hilton down, though. She’s promoting “Paris: The Memoir,” of course; she’s working on a second album; she has her 11:11 Media company and new seasons of both “Paris in Love” and “Trapped in Treatment.” Says Hilton, “I like to show that you can do it all. You don’t have to be one thing.”
Image Source: Brendan Forbes KGM
But staying busy doesn’t mean Hilton hasn’t taken the time to process some of the more painful moments of her life, as she lays them bare for the world. “I write about things that I’ve never told anyone, and just so many traumatic experiences that I tried to bury and tried to not ever think about,” she says, explaining that she revisited her own journals and recounted experiences with friends before transferring them to the page. “So having to write it all down, it’s been just extremely therapeutic and healing and cathartic.”
“I know there’s so many people who have been hurt in life and they hold on to the shame. And the shame shouldn’t be on them.”
She adds, “I think that’s one of the important messages from this: I know there’s so many people who have been hurt in life and they hold on to the shame. And the shame shouldn’t be on them. It should be on the person that hurt them. And that’s something that I want to tell just so many young girls out there, especially. And I wish that I had a book like this when I was a teenager.”
Image Source: Randee St. Nicholas
Hilton is “proud” of her experiences. “I’ve lived a very full life,” she assures. “There’s such a power in being vulnerable and telling your story.”
And it’s a story we’ll always want to read. “Paris: The Memoir” is available to purchase now.