In an interview in the London Times, Paris Hilton shows us just what a talented actress she is. She has managed to craft the image of the uber-ditzy blonde into a new prototype, all her own. Paris might be promiscuous, vacuous, and not so nice on the eyes, but the public continues to eat up every bit of news and gossip about her. And she has managed to make millions from it. From Giles Hattersley’s interview:
We’ve spoken a few times since, but then we drifted. Well, I say we. I stayed put, while Hilton morphed from D-list cutie to A-list megastar. All of a sudden, she had a television show, a book deal, a record contract and, before long, perfumes, handbags, sunglasses and lingerie all bore her legend. A former boyfriend released a video of their pedestrian lovemaking (1 Night in Paris), Camille Paglia weighed in on her cultural significance and Hilton joined that cast of ghouls who feature weekly in Heat magazine. But where was that warm, witty girl who always made a point of emptying the dishwasher? She’d gone — apparently replaced with a dumb sex maniac who loves going down on camera before heading out to bitch-slap some rival skinny girl in the club toilets.
We meet again on a balcony at the Sanderson hotel, surrounded by fashion shrubbery, with Hilton, 25, in a floor-length ball gown and outsize white-rimmed sunglasses. My first question is, what happened? “I know, right?” she giggles. “Things got, huge.” And you let them? “Yes, I did.” But why? “Because there’s nobody in the world like me,” she says, smiling lazily. “I think every decade has an iconic blonde — like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana — and right now, I’m that icon.”
For better or worse, she is right. Last year, the author Naomi Wolf was quoted as saying Hilton is “an empty signifier you can project anything onto” — but she was wrong. To fans and haters alike, Hilton signifies the base desires of the age: money, sex and low body fat. So the interesting question is not why she fascinates us (we’re shallow), but how much her public persona matches her private self. I know for a fact that the airhead sauce-pot people love to hate is, at least in part, a creation. Because while teens are busy buying her perfume, sleazebags watching her fornicate online and intellectuals debating her worth, Hilton is making a second fortune. Forbes magazine estimated her earnings last year at £4m. Soon, her business profits will have eclipsed the inheritance on which the whole fantasy about her hinges, a sum she has to share with multiple other grandchildren, and which, though impressive, would never have landed her in the Sunday Times Rich List.
Paris says that she has crafted the image of the dumb blonde for herself, because that is what people want to see. She also says that her fame has come at a price. While we all know about the infamous video, and some of her other sexual exploits, Paris says that other woman are trying to put themselves in the headlines by fabricating rivalries and spreading stories about bogus confrontations with her.
If she’s going to scandalise feminists by playing the ditz, I suggest she could at least stop scrapping with other girls. It’s so undignified. “All those stories are made up. You know how shy I am.” Rubbish. “Okay,” she laughs, “but I’m non-confrontational. Certain girls just use me to get media attention. They have their publicists call the tabloids and make something up, because a feud with Paris Hilton always gets press.”
While Paris laments having to deal with the negative aspects of fame, in addition to the infamy that she has garnered for the way she achieved her celebrity status, she says that she loves all of the attention, and she feels that she is being a productive member of society. Instead of being a spoiled brat who sponges off her rich parents, she gets paid for pretending to be one:
Is it tough? “It can be. Sometimes I feel like the media uses me as a punchbag.” What did you expect? “I know, but it doesn’t stop it being lame. But I love my job, and I think I’ve earned the right to be happy now. God gives you good karma if you work hard and play nice.” You’re religious? “Yes, Catholic.” Do you keep a Bible by your bed? “No.” Just a camcorder? At this, the smart blonde flicks her hair and deadpans, “Whatever, man. At least I’ll always be remembered.”
The rest of the interview can be found here.