You might think you know Paris Hilton: star of The Simple Life; professional socialite; Kim Kardashian's one-time boss and best friend. But new documentary This Is Paris (aired on YouTube a few days ago and already making headlines) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what lies beyond the ditzy, blonde facade.
The first celebrity to be famous for being famous didn't have the easiest of rides, despite her privileged upbringing. When Hilton was a teenager, her parents tried to remedy her rebellious behavior by sending her to a private boarding school in Utah, where Hilton has revealed that she was mentally and physically abused. 'I had become so used to [abusive behavior] at Provo [Canyon School], that it made me feel like it was normal,' Hilton explains, going on to say that this is probably why, in later life, she always chose abusive boyfriends.
She claims that she has never discussed what she went through at school with anyone - not even with her parents, or her sister, Nicky. This documentary marks the first time Hilton has spoken about her history of abuse. She has, largely, received support from her family (apart from her father, who declined to participate).
"Even though it was so painful and traumatic, I try to always look at the positives because I don’t think I’d be the businesswoman I am today if I didn’t go through what I did. It gave me the drive to be independent so no one could ever control me again," Hilton has said. She's certainly successful, earning over $10 million a year through her fragrance, skin care, apparel, lingerie, and accessories empire, and her career as one of the most expensive female DJs in the world.
So who's the woman behind the camera? Director Alexandra Dean is an Emmy-award-winning journalist, who has previously worked on documentaries like Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Dean spent a year with Hilton, who gave her absolute editorial freedom to make the final cut. 'I thought, this is going to be really hard for her to accept — all of this stuff she'd never seen already knit into the narrative. She didn't love everything, but she allowed it. She didn’t fight me. She didn't cry. And I thought that was an act of really great bravery,' Dean has said.
Thought you'd made up your mind about Paris Hilton? Then prepare for this to change everything.
This is Paris is now streaming on YouTube.