Paris Hilton, Hollywood’s original influencer: ‘I just want people to know the real me’
You could easily label this the decade of the influencer, those YouTube and Instagram stars who make money by selling FaceTuned versions of themselves while hawking face creams, fashion collaborations, protein powder and how-to-improve-your-life seminars. Through their social media posts, they convince thousands or millions of fans and admirers to like what they like and want what they want.
But is all that glitters on the ‘Gram and elsewhere really gold? For answers, I turn to the woman who will likely go down in history for putting the “i” in influencer, and that would be Paris Hilton, the eldest daughter of real-estate developer Richard Hilton, and his socialite wife, Kathy.
I visit Hilton at her Beverly Hills home on a quiet, unassuming street last month. Despite having been robbed by the Bling Ring thieves and enduring years of public scrutiny, Hilton, I notice, has left the modern home’s bronze wrought-iron gate wide open, welcoming a revolving door of guests that include a photographer, publicist and large film crew.
Although she was born into the wealthy family behind the Hilton Hotel empire, the 38-year-old became a household name about 15 years ago thanks to her role on one of TV’s first reality shows, “The Simple Life.”