What You Didn't Know About Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton: a mere mention of this luxurious name is enough to evoke memories of a tabloid-frenzied era from the early millennium, when Juicy Couture hot pink apparel and purse puppies made up the pop sensibilities of a whole generation. And she — an heiress to the lavish Hilton hotels empire — was the woman spearheading this cultural phenomenon. Hilton's revelrous lifestyle in and around New York City made her the poster face of the celebutante — or "famous for being famous" — social club (via ABC News). But the fact that Hilton is the original "it" girl of the aughts remains undisputed. Her 2003 reality show "The Simple Life" further established her as a household name, always dogged with controversies and sensational headlines (via the Los Angeles Times).

"I love bringing that sparkle, the rainbow, and the sun to everything I do," she said in a 2022 interview, still living up to her glam persona decades after it was first created. The noughties princess — who built a business empire that touches everything from fashion to fragrance to now NFTs — is reinventing her brand and reclaiming her story. For starters, the golden-maned beauty derided as a "dumb blonde" at the peak of her popularity has asserted that she is anything but. "I felt like I was this kind of fantasy, Barbie-princess, fairy-mermaid unicorn. Even though I was playing into a character ... " she told Vogue. Read on to learn more untold truths about the iconic Paris Hilton.

She still has a trademarked catchphrase

Paris Hilton legitimized the influencer culture long before the social media revolution. A tabloid fixture during the early millennium zeitgeist, Hilton was a trendsetting brand unto herself. The impact of the hotel heiress has been such that she is universally regarded as the "original influencer" (via Observer). In fact, Hilton's awareness of her own legacy has prompted her to lay claim to some iconic stuff. "That's hot," a catchphrase she used and popularized during her time on the reality television show "The Simple Life," is actually trademarked by her. Hilton is so serious about it that she even sued Hallmark in 2007 when the greeting cards company punned her catchphrase on a product (per Reuters). 

In her own words, Hilton has been "always ahead of my time" and said it makes her happy to see people becoming celebrities through a career path she initiated years ago (per Observer). When people come up to her and credit her for their social media vocations, "Things like that make me feel happy," she told the Los Angeles Times. But the wave of Hilton's influence is far from over, and the entrepreneur isn't done adding new phrases to her lexicon. 

Singer Charli XCX revealed in 2020 that Hilton's latest acquisition is the word "living," which she has apparently trademarked. "It's the new, 'That's hot'. It means slaying and living your best life in one word," per Hilton.

Paris was among the youngest socialites in New York City

At only 15, Paris Hilton had made a splash in New York City as one of the youngest members of the city's nightlife elite. With their venerated family name in tow, Hilton and her sister Nicky haunted the city's popular nightclubs as two of the late 1990s' most distinguished "it" girls (via Tatler). Growing up in the Waldorf Astoria (with Hilton-embossed silver spoons in their mouths), the great-granddaughters of hotelier Conrad Hilton quickly made their mark as eyeball-grabbing scenesters in both New York City and Los Angeles. A Vanity Fair cover in 2000 memorably established them as the crème de la crème of the millennium's pop culture — even though Nicky later admitted to having been "completely clueless" at the time (per the Los Angeles Times). 

"Nicky and Paris Hilton are the littlest socialites in town," read an introduction for the Hilton sisters in The New Yorker. "It was so easy to sneak out and go to clubs and parties," she told People, recalling how she remained insistent despite her parents' strictness. "I would still go out on my own." She reportedly got a kickstart as a model during her teens with Trump Model Management, an enterprise belonging to former United States President Donald Trump; Hilton's parents were less than enthusiastic about this endeavor, per Verdict

Paris Hilton hates her feet

Think Barbies don't have chinks in their armors? Ask Paris Hilton. The famed socialite, whose stunner status is intrinsic to 90s pop culture legacy and whom Vogue has deemed the "ultimate aughts muse," has a grouse with a certain part of her body: her feet. Hilton has lamented about her feet on several occasions, most notably in her 2004 book "Confessions of an Heiress" (via Showbiz CheatSheet). "I desperately hate one thing about my body: I have size 11 feet," she wrote. A downside to having feet her size, she claimed, is missing out on shoes she could have otherwise worn. "I can't wear flats because my feet are too long. At least high heels shrink how long my feet look. But forget about ever seeing me in ballet slippers or tennis shoes: I'd look like I was wearing canoes," she said. 

In 2008, though, Hilton did dare to step out in a pair of ballet flats that attracted significant attention in the press. The Daily Mail noted how "freaky" her sinewy feet looked in her closed-toe silver shoes while she was on an outing in Los Angeles with her then-boyfriend Benji Madden. Hilton has been featured on celebrity "bad feet" lists, which also feature global beauty queens like Amal Clooney and Iman, whose glam feet have bunions on display. In fact, Hilton, who launched her own shoe line in 2008, also has painful-looking bunions on her feet (via the Daily Mail). 

She was controversy's favorite child during the early millennium

Paris Hilton was as famous for her notorious carousing as she was for all the controversy that tailed her through the aughts. It was a major scandal, in fact, that thrust the hotel heiress into the global spotlight in 2004. Around the time her reality television show "The Simple Life" launched, a sex tape featuring Hilton and her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon was leaked for the world to see (via The Guardian). The video, which dated back to 2001 and showed a 19-year-old Hilton, was also disturbingly distributed as a porn film titled "1 Night in Paris" by Salomon (per Page Six). The widely publicized incident prompted legal disputes between Hilton and Salomon, and resulted in Hilton receiving $400,000 in damages, reported Vox. Reflecting on the incident, Hilton told Vanity Fair in 2021: "It's always there in the back of my mind. ... It still gives me post-traumatic stress disorder to talk about it." 

In September 2006, Hilton captured headlines once again when she was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. In what E! News described as "one of the defining moments of the mid-00s Hollywood party scene," Hilton went to jail in 2007 following an alleged speeding episode. "No one is above the law. I surely am not," she said at the time about her 45-day sentence, calling it a "learning experience." Media coverage on Hilton's movements, meanwhile, abetted the sensationalism around her and, as Vox noted, was hardly kind.

Paris has opened up about facing childhood trauma and abuse

Fashion mogul Paris Hilton has confessed to having had more than her share of trauma during her youth. A hotel heiress, the now 41-year-old had a sheltered upbringing, calling the opulent Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City her home (via People). But her rebellious streak as a teenager, which found an outlet in parties and socialite circuits around the city, prompted her parents to pack her off to boarding school in the 1990s. One of these institutions was the Provo Canyon School in Utah, where Hilton spent close to a year, and where she claims she faced abuse. It was "continuous torture," she told People, claiming the school staff bullied her. "And they were physically abusive, hitting and strangling us." 

Hilton revealed she was once even placed in solitary confinement for attempting to run away from school. "I was having panic attacks and crying every single day," she said. In an article for The Times in 2021, Hilton elaborated that for her, boarding school was nothing short of a "living hell" and "involved verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse" that affected her with post-traumatic stress disorder. She also reflected on the abuse in her 2020 documentary "This Is Paris," which marked the first time her parents learned of the treatment she endured in school, she told Variety. It was this experience that led her to manufacture a "Barbie persona" to numb the pain (via People). 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She reached out to Lindsay Lohan after their infamous feud

One of pop culture's most popular frenemy pairs, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have traced a long (and tumultuous, to say the least) journey. Hollywood's glam "it" girls during the early millennium, they were known for their shared appetite for nightlife. In fact, Hilton and Lohan, together with Britney Spears, formed the holy trinity of the 2000s — as remarked by Hilton herself, on an iconic picture of the trio carpooling during a night out (via E! News). But by 2006, things went downhill. The first hit reportedly came when the "Parent Trap" actress was linked to Hilton's ex-boyfriend Stavros Niarchos, resulting in a bitter fight between the two women at the Hyde nightclub in Los Angeles (via Complex). 

Not long after that, Hilton's friend and fellow partygoer Brandon Davis hurled some tasteless, expletive-ridden insults at Lohan in the press. Hilton, also present at the scene, was accused of laughing at Davis' tirade (via TMZ). Lohan hit back, saying Hilton was "very comfortable making videos," referring to the socialite's notorious sex tape (via Elle). While the two celebs apparently made up somewhere along the way, it still wasn't all rosy. The most recent hint of reconciliation came when Hilton said on Andy Cohen's show that she had extended the olive branch to Lohan upon hearing the news of her engagement in 2021: "We're not, like, in high school. I think it was very immature and now everything is all good." 

Though she sports straight locks, Paris' hair is naturally curly

It's difficult to imagine Paris Hilton with hair other than her trademark straight blonde cut. It may come as a surprise to most that the beauty queen actually has naturally curly hair. She revealed this obscure fact about herself, along with a list of others — did you know Hilton is the proud owner of pet rats? – to Us Weekly

Though her natural hair has figured minimally in her media image, Paris' famous mane has contributed greatly to the creation of her noughties persona as the "dumb blonde." As noted by Allure, bob cuts and extensions have long been part of the Hilton hair stylebook, though the socialite hasn't shied away from experimenting on her luscious locks. 

Back in 2017, Hilton ditched her blonde tresses for baby pink hair: "A cotton candy color pink hair on the tips of my hair," she told Teen Vogue. That year, she also went bronde (a mix of brown and blonde) for a bit, which Marie Claire deemed the "end of an era." Her change to brunette hair also raised eyebrows, though Hilton later revealed that it was only a wig. A new short bob she sported in 2021 was inspired by journalist Katie Couric, Hilton said. She revealed that she was initially nervous to cut her hair. She took the plunge after her fiancé Carter Reum assured her she would look "stunning" (via Today).

Paris Hilton has a proficient musical side

Though Paris Hilton is best known for her extravagant scenester lifestyle, the hotel heiress also has a noteworthy music career. By her own claim, music has been with her since childhood: "I've played piano since I was 5," Hilton said, adding that she can also play the violin (via Us Weekly). From weekly lessons to monthly recitals, Hilton's musical inclinations were honed early in life. "Music has been a huge passion of mine ever since I was a little girl," she told Interview. And as an adult, she delivered on her passion with a smashing single, "Stars Are Blind," on her debut album in 2006. It peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 list, spending 12 weeks on the chart (via Billboard). 

Hilton counts the song among her favorites from her repertoire, and its legacy as a "summer song" has endured since its release. While she has admitted to her quintessential Paris persona as being a ruse, for Hilton, music is serious business. "For the music, it was never really about the character, it was more about me as an artist," she told Bustle. Music videos are also part of Hilton's varied résumé, with songs like "Heartbeat" and "Best Friend's Ass" standing out. Hilton is also a sought-after DJ, having played in venues from Shanghai to Ibiza, reportedly even making around a whopping $1 million per gig. 

She knew her husband for 15 years before they fell in love

Love works in mysterious ways. For Paris Hilton, it came 15 years after she first met the man who would be her future husband. Carter Reum, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur (per Vogue), had apparently been in the hotel heiress' ambit for several years before romance bloomed. When Reum's sister invited her for Thanksgiving, Hilton said she and Reum "just had this incredible chemistry," Hilton told People in 2020. She further said the two had been inseparable since their first date, and that Reum reminded her of her father: "He makes me feel safe and happy." The pair began dating in November 2019 and went public with their relationship in January 2020 at the Golden Globes (via E! News). 

"I truly believe that we were custom-made for each other and meant to be. Nothing in my life has ever felt so right or so perfect," a lovestruck Hilton wrote in an Instagram post in December 2020, just two months short of her engagement to Reum, who popped the question with a dazzling $1 million ring (per Brides). This was notably the fourth engagement ring for Hilton, who has had a long line of suitors. After her most recent breakup with actor Chris Zylka, Hilton said she thought she "was going to be alone forever" (via People). She and Reum tied the knot in November 2021 on the Hilton estate (via Town & Country). 

Kim Kardashian once worked for Paris

Kim Kardashian is to the present generation what Paris Hilton was to millennials. The hotel heiress and fashion mogul was influencer-in-chief before the advent of social media transferred that crown to Kardashian. But prior to becoming Instagram royalty, Kardashian was in the employ of America's leading "it" girl. 

During the early 2000s, Kardashian came into the spotlight as Hilton's stylist and assistant on the reality show "The Simple Life," which starred Hilton and her BFF Nicole Richie. Though Kardashian has attempted to shake off the tag of Hilton's assistant, she does credit her ex-boss with kickstarting her career. On "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," the socialite said she would do anything for Hilton: "She literally gave me a career, and I totally acknowledge that." 

Hilton said she and Kardashian go way back. ""We've known each other since we were little girls, we've always been friends," Hilton said (via Entertainment Tonight). "It's nice to inspire people, so yeah, I'm really proud of her and what she's done, though."

Fame wars temporarily clouded Hilton and Kardashian's friendship, per Grazia, but they have since resumed as pals and collaborators, with Kardashian even making a cameo in Hilton's music video for "Best Friend's Ass."

Paris Hilton considers herself to be a tomboy

The world may know her for her signature Barbie-like identity, but away from all the dazzle, Paris Hilton considers herself a true-blue tomboy. Alongside her fashion and beauty empire, the hotel heiress takes a keen interest in things that may not be considered particularly glamorous. "I love to go fishing. I love sports. I used to play ice hockey," she told People in 2009, adding that she was a completely different person at home. Sports apparently excite her, and she invested herself deeply in them throughout her childhood. From ice hockey to softball, she displayed her skill across games. "I've actually always been a huge tomboy," she claimed (via Hindustan Times). "I love watching American football games and I love watching Moto GP, which is why I bought my own team." 

Though Hilton famously was the poster face of the "dumb blonde" stereotype through the early millennium, she has refuted that in recent years, saying she was playing a character. "With the character, it's mostly kind of this blonde, bubbly, kind of Barbie airhead. ... I'm not a dumb blonde, I'm just very good at pretending to be one," she told CBS' Tracy Smith. In the 2020 documentary "This Is Paris," Hilton's sister Nicky Hilton also testified to Paris' real persona, saying she was "a boy at heart" (via Nylon). "She's a chick who likes to scrap up at home with her dogs, eat leftovers."