Paris (2023) is the frank, entertaining memoir of the celebrity icon Paris Hilton. She shares the highs and lows of her life in the limelight, from epic parties to public humiliation.
Introduction: The not-so-simple life of Paris Hilton.
Who is Paris Hilton?
Perhaps you think of her as an air-headed heiress with a chihuahua named Tinkerbell. Or you know her as the star of a sex tape and the reality show The Simple Life.
She was one of those celebrity icons of the early 2000s who was all over the internet. You might call her the original, ubiquitous influencer, representing a new era in pop culture.
But what was she famous for, exactly? Being a rich girl who loves to party?
Admittedly, yes, she’s a rich girl who loves to party. But behind the paparazzi photos and the gossip, there’s another story – another Paris.
Now that she’s all grown up with a family of her own, she’s ready to share her experiences – her extraordinary, anything-but-simple life.
In this summary, we’ll look at some of the defining moments of her teens and twenties. You’ll find out how she became one of the hottest stars and a voice for vulnerable teenagers.
It’s not the story you were expecting, or the person you thought you knew. Let’s meet the real Paris.
How to party like Paris.
One of Paris Hilton’s earliest childhood memories is of an after-party at the Waldorf-Astoria. She was sitting on Andy Warhol’s lap, drawing pictures.
“This girl is going to be a star,” Warhol used to say. And he was right!
Anyway, this anecdote gives you a pretty good idea of Paris Hilton’s life – a life of fame, wealth, and parties.
So, no surprises here, but Paris loves to party. As a Hilton, it’s basically in her DNA. She grew up going to family parties that were like carnivals, complete with pony rides, bouncy castles, and petting zoos.
And when Paris went to a club for the first time, aged 12, it blew her mind. Lights! Music! Fashion! It was as if she felt a change in her body chemistry. Her ADHD brain couldn’t get enough.
That’s another thing you need to know – Paris has ADHD. She finds it hard to focus sometimes, and she tends to jump from one thing to another. Like that time when…
Wait. Where were we?
So Paris has had some pretty epic parties in her life. Her twenty-first birthday stands out as one of the most epic, spanning several days and time zones. It was probably the best twenty-first birthday party since Marie Antoinette.
To top it all off, Paris even went sky-diving the day after. It was terrifying but also, like…a spiritual experience. Probably better when you’re not hungover though.
Speaking of, here are some of Paris’s essential tips for partying like a pro:
One, stay hydrated. Two, get tipsy, not drunk. It’s gross. And three, wear comfy clothes and sturdy boots so you can dance till dawn and, if necessary, climb out of windows or over fences.
Climbing and escaping are two skills that Paris has perfected through experience. More on that later.
Anyway, Paris got so good at partying that people started paying her just to show up. She’s proud to be considered the OG influencer.
Being a party girl is a legitimate skill, by the way. It’s not just about standing there, looking pretty – a mannequin can do that.
A professional party girl adds value to an event – she’s a facilitator, a diplomat. Knowing how to curate a crowd is a skill too. And choosing the right music. There’s a lot to it!
But partying is only part of Paris’s career. Her resume includes modeling, acting, writing, recording music, and DJing.
By the way – did you know that she became the highest-paid female DJ in the world? Like, a million dollars for a gig. As Paris herself would say, “That’s hot.”
But we’re digressing again…back to parties.
As we mentioned, Paris started partying young. She wasn’t drinking or taking drugs, but I guess you could say she was a typical teenager.
You know, sneaking out to go to parties, raving till the early hours, getting followed by the paparazzi…the usual.
Little did she know that her party habit was about to change her life forever. And by “change,” we mean “fuck up.”
Things were about to get totally fucked up.
Paris hated school. Her undiagnosed ADHD probably had something to do with it. It was unbearable, having to stay in one place for hours at a time. Sometimes she felt the need to escape – to roam the streets of New York, and go window-shopping on Fifth Avenue.
Paris came up with her own homework assignment – scouring the pages of Time Out, and finding the best parties in the city. She would sneak out, then party all night.
Paris knew she was putting her parents through a lot – partying 36 hours a day, getting kicked out of school…of course, she felt bad for hurting her family. But that doesn’t justify what came next.
It was 4:30 am. 16-year-old Paris was at home, fast asleep…until her bedroom door suddenly crashed open.
A hand grabbed her ankle, pulling her out of bed. As she screamed and struggled, all she could think was, I’m going to be raped…murdered.
The two men carried her down the hallway. Then Paris saw her parents. They literally stood there and watched as she was kidnapped.
Yes, you guessed it. Her parents had organized the kidnapping. They’d signed up for everything that came next – Paris in handcuffs, being transported to her new boarding school in California.
And clearly, this was no ordinary school. When Paris arrived she was strip searched, then cavity searched. It was like being sent to jail, which in a sense, it was.
So, a quick bit of context – Paris’s new school was run by an organization called CEDU. It specialized in programs for so-called “troubled teens.”
CEDU had its roots in a violent cult, Synanon, which claimed to offer therapy. But actually, it was verbal and physical abuse, and psychological torture.
The founder of CEDU saw this as an awesome money-making opportunity. Target vulnerable parents, get them to send their out-of-control kids to an “emotional growth boarding school,” and charge them a fortune.
Through slick marketing, CEDU convinced parents to pay strangers to abuse their children.
That’s what it was – abuse. The teenagers who were locked up in these schools suffered serious trauma, Paris included.
During the year she spent in the program, she went through hell. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that happened.
Male staff members watching girls in the shower; kids being strangled and beaten up; sexual assault in the guise of a “medical exam”; being locked up in solitary confinement…
The physical stuff was bad, but the psychological abuse was damaging, too. Like “Rap” – supposedly a kind of therapy session, where teenagers were made to scream at each other for hours on end.
Paris got plenty of abuse from the staff as well. One time a man throttled her, screaming, “You’re worthless. You’re garbage.”
But she didn’t believe it. Even at her lowest moments, Paris never forgot that she was a Hilton. And she would get out eventually, one way or another.
She was pretty good at escaping – climbing out of windows, and over fences. But in the end, she was always caught and dragged back there, kicking and screaming.
She told her parents what was going on. Or she tried to, at least. She would call them in tears, begging them to get her out of this hellhole.
But they didn’t listen. They thought they were doing the right thing – saving her, somehow.
As you can probably imagine, Paris’s relationship with her family was never the same again. And obviously, she was traumatized by the whole ordeal. For years afterward, she was unable to sleep, unable to trust.
And sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time someone betrayed her.
Fame and infamy
Once Paris was free, she went back to partying – naturally.
She partied even when she was exhausted from lack of sleep. She partied to forget. And she threw herself into a new life of jet-setting and constant work.
Yes, she worked. A lot. Building a personal brand is work. Modeling is work. Paris didn’t become famous for doing nothing, no matter what people might say.
After doing a shoot with the photographer David LaChapelle, things really took off. It opened up a world of opportunities for her. She started to get film roles and transformed from a model into a supermodel.
Now, she was famous – like, famous famous – she even got her own reality show. In 2003, she starred in The Simple Life, alongside one of her best friends, Nicole Richie. It was an instant hit.
Overall, things were going great…until Paris got a phone call from her manager that turned her world upside down.
Apparently, a short video clip was circulating online, which showed Paris having sex. It was part of a soon-to-be-released sex tape that you might have heard of – “One Night in Paris.”
So, here’s the deal.
A few years back, when Paris was 19, she was dating an older guy. His nickname was “Scum” – this turned out to be appropriate.
One night, he told Paris he wanted to record them having sex. She wasn’t keen on the idea, but he kept pushing. Besides, he said, no one else would ever see the video.
But then they broke up, Paris became famous, and Scum saw an easy way to make money.
The release of the video had nothing to do with Paris, by the way. She had zero involvement.
A Paris-Hilton-approved sex tape would have had better lighting, proper hair and makeup, and flattering camera angles. Obviously.
If it had been her choice, she would have owned it. But it wasn’t her choice. She was absolutely devastated.
That’s it, she thought. My life and career are over.
Having just found out about the tape, Paris tearfully opened up to the sympathetic stranger sitting next to her on a flight.
Judging by the headlines the next day, that sympathetic stranger most likely recorded the whole conversation and sold the story to the press.
It felt like there was no escape from the humiliation.
And while Paris went on to have a life and career despite the tape, she knows that it will never be forgotten.
Even today, she thinks twice about what she wears.
Maybe she should opt for the high-neck blouse instead of the scoop neck, just in case someone shouts “whore” at her. Yeah, that’s a thing.
The truth is, Paris has struggled with sex and intimacy for most of her life. So her reputation is kind of ironic if you think about it.
But, you know, whatever. Over the years, she’s learned to rise above it.
Rising from the ashes
Now, at the age of 42, Paris is proud of what she’s achieved. Not just her career success, but also the way she’s come to terms with her past.
For years, she didn’t want to think about her traumatic time at boarding school. But when she started opening up to people and sharing her experiences, she realized how powerful it was. And she discovered a new sense of purpose in life.
Paris is now involved in advocacy work, targeting the troubled-teen industry. She’s been pushing for legislative action that will protect kids, and prevent other families from being torn apart.
While working, Paris realized something. She used to think she was incapable of focusing on anything. But actually, her ADHD has turned out to be a kind of superpower.
When there’s something that really matters to her, like advocacy, she’s super-focused. She’s like a laser beam. So, it turns out she’s capable after all.
And in other areas of her life, things also worked out in the end. After years of so-so relationships, Paris found love at last with a really nice guy who also happened to be super cute – the entrepreneur Carter Reum.
Their wedding was an epic three-day celebration – of course. Then they were ready to settle down and start a family. And after rounds of IVF, they finally conceived their first child, Phoenix.
Why Phoenix? For a start, it goes well with other city names like Paris, and London – the name she hopes to use for her future daughter.
But it has a symbolic meaning, too. The phoenix is the bird that rises from the ashes and flies again.
Paris wants her son to know that there’s always hope for the future. The past might be painful, the present shitty, but you never know what’s coming next.
So, if you want a life lesson from Paris Hilton, here is it. Keep working, keep killing it. And see what happens.
Paris’s life so far has been a whirlwind.
She’s the Hilton heiress who made a career for herself on her own terms, from modeling to DJing. She worked hard and played harder, even getting paid to party. Through building her personal brand, she became one of the best-known celebrities of the early 2000s.
It hasn’t always been easy though. Despite her privilege, Paris has had her struggles too – in particular, her traumatic boarding school experience.
Still, Paris has learned many valuable life lessons along the way and found a sense of purpose through her advocacy work. She knows that there’s a lot more to her than people think.
She’s proud to be Paris.
About the author
Paris Hilton is the world’s most recognizable influencer and entrepreneur. Since starring in The Simple Life, Hilton has become the media expert, building a global empire as a DJ, entrepreneur, recording artist, philanthropist, actress, model, and author.
In 2001, Variety declared Paris Hilton a “Billion Dollar Entrepreneur.” In 2006, she created Paris Hilton Entertainment, a multi-billion-dollar company. And in 2021, Paris introduced 11:11 Media, a media content company and platform aimed at creating joy through inspirational, impactful, and thought-provoking entertainment content, products, and experiences with the power of storytelling. Today, her proudest achievement is her continuing impact as an advocate and activist spearheading meaningful legislative changes in the troubled teen industry.
Biography, Memoir, Society, Culture, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Mental Health, Adult, Pop Culture, Feminism, Actor and Entertainer Biographies, Personal Transformation Self-Help, Religion and Spirituality
Table of Contents
Paris was the It Girl of the early aughts, her every move dissected and documented on the internet and social media. Now, Paris offers an unflinching and intimate memoir that reveals what it was really like to be in the middle of a changing cultural landscape, beloved and reviled at the same time.
Behind Paris Hilton’s meteoric rise from Upper West Side club kid to household name lies her self-proclaimed “superpower” of ADHD and a hidden history that traumatized and defined her. Shocking, funny, and surprisingly profound, Paris is the deeply personal memoir of the ultimate It Girl and a stunning inside view of a pop culture phenomenon.
Until, in a revealing documentary, Paris Hilton disclosed that her childhood was shattered by two years of strip searches, isolation, beatings, restraint, and brainwashing within the now infamous “troubled teen industry,” Paris Hilton was simply the billionaire heiress America had watched grow up on television, on the internet, and in tabloids. But there was always more to Paris Hilton than met the eye. Yes, she is the media personality, DJ, entrepreneur, model, singer, actress, and icon beloved all over the globe. And yet…
Paris is the story people have always wanted Paris Hilton to tell—the story of who she really is. In this revealing and thought-provoking book, Hilton will separate the creation from the creator, the brand from the ambassador, and show the woman who grew up with incredible privilege but was also trapped in a world of unreasonable expectation at a moment when young women were humiliated for sport in a gossip economy on steroids. Paris recounts her perilous journey through pre-#METOO sexual politics with grace, generosity, and plenty of fun, rising above a series of heart-wrenching challenges to find healing, lasting love, and a life of meaning and purpose.
The parallel story arcs in Hilton’s braided narrative come to full bloom as a watershed portrait of the Aughts, challenging each of us to question our role in her story and her role in ours. The result is an intimate and unexpected memoir about persona and personification, the price of being young and disobedient, and the complexity of manifesting your dreams after watching part of yourself disappear.
“One of the world’s most recognizable personalities delivers a memoir with surprising depth and purpose… The most impressive thing about this memoir is the gracious and compassionate eye with which Hilton views her past. Unlike many other similar stories, there is no tone of self-pity or martyrdom. Delivering a masterclass in owning your own story, Hilton shows how to live with purpose, compassion, and beauty.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Hilton’s memoir is perfectly poised as society starts to reflect on how we treated young women in the early 2000s. An unputdownable reckoning for anyone who lived through that time.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Revealing. . . Affecting and triumphant, this is a must-read.” — Publishers Weekly
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From the woman who is credited for launching what we know as the celebrity focused, “brand” driven, social media obsessed popular culture of today, comes an honest and surprising memoir that reckons with that truth, and shows that there is so much more to Paris Hilton than you might believe.
I was born in New York City on February 17, 1981, three days after Valentine’s Day.
From the time I was a toddler, my brain skipped and flickered with the chemical imbalance of ADHD. Sometimes it was too much.
I’m not bragging or complaining about it, just telling you: This is my brain. It has a lot to do with how this whole book thing is going to play out, because I love run-on sentences—and dashes. And sentence fragments. I’m probably going to jump around a lot while I tell the story.
I came of age during the most turbulent pop culture period ever.
The character I played—part Lucy, part Marilyn—was my steel-plated armor.
People loved her. Or they loved to hate her, which was just as marketable. I leaned into that character, my ticket to financial freedom and a safe place to hide. I made sure I never had a quiet moment to figure out who I was without her. I was afraid of that moment because I didn’t know what I’d find.
I wrote this book in an effort to understand my place in a watershed moment: the technology renaissance, the age of influencers. I also wrote this book so that the world could know who I am today. I focused on key aspects of my life that led to what I am most proud of–how my power was taken away from me and how I took it back, how I built a thriving business, a marriage and a family.
There are so many young women who need to hear this story. I don’t want them to learn from my mistakes; I want them to stop hating themselves for their own mistakes. I want them to laugh and cry and embrace every aspect of who they are with fearlessness and pride. We all have our own brand of intelligence, and, girl, fuck fitting in.