North Texas Daily

Paris Hilton is the blueprint

Paris Hilton is the blueprint

Paris Hilton is the blueprint
October 19
11:00 2020

Pop culture just isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the era of Juicy Couture and celebrity feuds. However, the effects these celebrities of the early and mid-2000s had on pop culture and society are far from done. Paris Hilton singlehandedly changed the world and our perception of what a celebrity is and her impact, whether positive or negative, is nothing short of iconic.

Hilton molded one of the biggest celebrities on the planet and introduced her to the celebrity world. It’s no secret that, before she was Kim Kardashian West, she worked as a personal assistant/stylist for Hilton. Before Paris, there was no real paparazzi culture where hordes of photographers mobbed a celeb, but once the prices for her pictures began to rise to the tens of thousands, photographers could not miss out on the opportunity to make large sums of money. Incidentally, this led her to be practically stalked for 20 years. At the peak of her fame, a single photo of Paris Hilton partying would sell for 50 thousand dollars.

“The Simple Life”, a reality show about Paris and her best friend Nicole Richie working everyday jobs and meeting normal people aired in 2003 on Fox and was an instant success. With “The Simple Life”, Paris and her best friend Nicole Richie gave us an infinite amount of classic reality tv moments, such as Paris’ iconic catchphrase “that’s hot” or her pretending to not know what Walmart was.

You simply cannot talk about Y2K culture without mentioning Juicy Couture. The brand became the unofficial uniform of the 2000s and was popularized by Hilton who would wear their matching velour tracksuits almost exclusively. At the time, the tracksuits retailed for 155 dollars. And although they were quite pricey, the tracksuits were widely accessible. In an interview with Vogueshe said she was sent the whole collection, approximately 200 tracksuits in every color imaginable. She began customizing her own tracksuits by gluing crystals on them and not long after other celebrities began to follow suit.

On Sept. 14, the documentary “This is Paris” was released on YouTube. The documentary came as a shock to many people because it showcased Hilton in a light that the world had never see before. The Paris Hilton we all grew up watching was just a caricature of the stereotypical rich blonde socialite whereas the real Hilton is a smart and talented businesswoman who is just trying to navigate life like the rest of us.

In the documentary, Hilton talked about how, during her teens, her parents sent her to a reformatory school by having her kidnapped in the middle of the night. Throughout the documentary, Hilton is seen struggling with this trauma and goes into detail about the emotional and physical abuse she faced such as being forced to take unprescribed medication and being verbally berated. She begins to track down her old classmates from the school and, in a very touching scene, they all meet for the first time since leaving school. They all agreed to participate in a campaign with Paris that called for holding these schools for troubled teens accountable for the way they treated their students and to expose the abuse she and countless others suffered there.

It was evident Hilton had been carrying this weight with her for a long time. However, there was something quite uplifting about when she met the other girls who had been in the school with her and they were able to be each other’s support system. Hilton stated in the documentary she felt like she could bring real awareness to the problems happening in these schools and her platform could reach a large number of people. While she was uncomfortable sharing her trauma with the world, she felt that it was the right thing to do.

At the end of the day, there is no argument that Paris Hilton shaped pop culture into what it is today. Without her modern celebrity culture would not exist or be what it is today. There is no doubt pop culture is not what it used to be. With our access to social media, anyone can become a celebrity overnight. However, no one will ever do it like Paris Hilton.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Meghana Vadlamani

Meghana Vadlamani

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