You’ve never heard Paris Hilton like this before. She’s our guest on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast to discuss the new documentary about her, This Is Paris.

Paris Hilton is a name many people know, even if they don’t know much about her aside from the fact that she’s famous. The new YouTube documentary This Is Paris aims to change that by showing the woman and entrepreneur behind the “that’s hot” persona. When the film begins we see her in a sound booth recording a voiceover and going in-and-out of her signature Paris personality and voice. It’s amazing and surprising to witness.

On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Hilton explains why she agreed to participate in the documentary and what she hopes people will take away from it.

I felt like it was the perfect time in my life. I’ve been through so much. And there’s a lot of misconceptions about me,” said a candid Hilton. “People have never known who I truly am because I’ve never shown it before. And I was ready to tell my story. I finally, especially during shooting that film, figured out so much about about myself.”

One of the most compelling parts of This Is Paris is watching Hilton talk about lifelong trauma that stems from abuse she suffered in her teens while at the Provo Canyon boarding school in Utah. Hilton joins other survivors in the Breaking Code Silence movement to shed light on for-profit schools billed as treatment and behavior modification programs for kids. Code Silence refers to a technique by which students are forced to not talk with a targeted student, thereby socially isolating them until they hit a breaking point. Hilton hopes that opening up about her abuse will help remove the shame and stigma and encourage others to do the same.

It’s important to know that you can tell your story,” said Hilton. “When you’re young and you’re growing up, you don’t realize who you are yet. It’s easy to get manipulated by people and to feel ashamed to discuss things like that. If you’re going through something and it’s difficult and it’s hard and it’s abusive, it’s important to open up to someone who can help you, and not stay in a situation like that because you want love. It’s not love if someone is abusing you, whether it be emotionally, verbally, physically. Nobody should ever be treated like that.

During our interview, Hilton discusses This Is Paris and talks about how participating in the film helped her deal with her abuse and how she hopes to empower others to do the same. We also discuss her 19 different product lines, The Simple Life and how she handles privacy in her life.

One of my favorite moments during our conversation was around her “that’s hot” persona. She explains the origin of her “Paris” voice.

It came when I was at Provo, and I was thinking about my life when I got out of there. I just wanted to become something else,” said Hilton. “I was really inspired by Marilyn Monroe. I know that she also had two voices. When she was on camera, she would do the kind of higher pitch-like sexy baby voice. And then I heard when she was off camera, she would speak in her normal tone of voice.

Listen to my entire conversation with Hilton on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. This Is Paris is available to watch on YouTube. Also, you can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.


NEW YORK – There’s a scene in a new documentary about Paris Hilton, where the so-called socialite is speaking with former classmates from a Utah boarding school. They joke about how on her reality series “The Simple Life,” Hilton pretended to be clueless over many things- including how to perform any sort of manual labour.

One bluntly described it as “some straight-up (expletive),” as they all laughed.

I don’t think you had like a high-pitch voice back then,” was another observation.

None of this is a surprise to Hilton. What’s revealed in “This is Paris,” which debuted for free Monday on Hilton’s YouTube channel, is that the ultra glam, baby-talking young woman whose standard line was “that’s hot,” was a manufactured caricature not just for fame but self-protection, too.

Hilton says as a teen she got into the nightlife scene and would sneak out and go to clubs while her family lived at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. Her exasperated parents sent her away to various programs to straighten out. There was an outdoor wilderness camp where Hilton and another girl tried to escape. Hilton claims they were caught and beaten in front of others as punishment.

When she was 17, Hilton was finally sent to what she describes as “the worst of the worst”: Provo Canyon School in Utah.

This is the only place where it’s impossible to run away. So it’s basically like that one place that they all talk about at the other places saying, `If you run away or you’re bad, you’re going to be sent to Provo,”’ said Hilton.

She stayed at Provo for 11 months and says while there, she was abused mentally and physically, claiming staff would beat her, force her to take unknown pills, watch her shower and send her to solitary confinement without clothes as punishment.

The 39-year-old says the treatment was so “traumatizing” that she suffered nightmares and insomnia for years.

We are aware of a new documentary referencing Provo Canyon School (PCS). Please note that PCS was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to that time,” the school said in a statement on its website.

Attempts to find the previous owners for comment were unsuccessful.

Hilton says when she agreed to be the subject of “This is Paris,” it was never her intention to speak about past abuses, but she opened up as she became more comfortable with director Alexandra Dean.

Hilton said while she was at Provo, she decided she wanted complete control in her life and image. That meant she would never tell anyone about what happened to her there. She also wanted to be very, very wealthy.

I saw success as freedom and I just imagined this glamorous life. .. I made all these plans of what I wanted to be. And all I cared about was being successful and independent.

For someone who has been criticized for being famous for no reason, Hilton has built a multi-billion dollar company around her image. She has branded stores in the Middle East and Asia, is a successful DJ, and has released 27 fragrances, among other products.

It turns out that whole machine, all that attention she got, the paparazzi, the insta-fame, it was all a creation of this traumatized girl trying to figure out how to climb her way out of this hole she was in,” said Dean. “She attracted it all. In some ways she created it all. What I want people to know is that they should give her credit for being immensely innovative, but they should also understand that what they watched was not the person, but the shield that she constructed to protect herself.”

Hilton says since speaking out about what happened at Provo, she feels free. She’s now sleeping through the night and no longer has nightmares. She also says she’s happy and in a healthy relationship with businessman Carter Reum.

Her life has slowed down in the past six months due to the pandemic, and she’s no longer travelling for work. Hilton says she likes it this way and plans to continue to be more choosy about leaving home. “I’m moving on to the next phase of my life,” she said.

She’s also hopeful that speaking out against programs like Provo will deter parents from sending their kids to similar situations.

“I would never recommend that to any family ever, because I think it just causes more drama and more issues than anyone would ever have.” She’s now a part of the Breaking Code Silence movement, a network dedicated to raising awareness about the “troubled teen industry.

The parents are manipulated and lied to and told a completely different story,” she said. “I think it’s important to do your research.”


Who Is Paris Hilton, Really?

by karina/September 13, 2020/No Comments

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Lounging cross-legged on her bed at home in Beverly Hills and wearing a turquoise hoodie, Paris Hilton appeared at ease. There were none of the affectations that have defined her public image for two decades: the flat baby voice, the tiny, shimmering outfits, the faux ditziness, the stance that everything cool was “hot.”

I built this kind of shield around me and kind of this persona, almost to hide behind, because I’ve been through so much where I just didn’t even want to think about it anymore,” Ms. Hilton, 39, said over Zoom. Behind her stood a towering mirror illuminated by a sea of LED lights that refracted off her platinum hair like diamonds.

Before there were influencers, there was Paris Hilton: a beautiful blank slate of a person onto whom all kinds of ideas and brand sponsorships could be projected. She was the celebrity burnished, if not created, by a sex tape. She was the face of the Sidekick (and the victim of a Sidekick hack that brought more of her personal life into the public eye). She was a reality star, trying her hand at manual labor as a rich person. She recorded music, modeled, appeared at parties, made TV cameos, wrote an advice book. And she was mercilessly criticized, written off as “famous for being famous.”

Regardless of whether that characterization was fair at the time, it seems pretty hard to defend these days. Ms. Hilton spends more than 250 days of the year traveling the world as a D.J., raking in a reported $1 million per gig. She oversees more than 19 product lines, including fragrances, clothing (for humans and pets) and accessories. And so many people are now famous for being famous, she might now seem more venerable pioneer than contemptible fly-by-night.

Now, moreover, she’s ready to talk about the past. On Sept. 14, the documentary “This Is Paris” will be released on YouTube. It aims to crack the facade she created in the aughts, focusing instead on the decade that preceded her fame.

Ms. Hilton said that she gave the director, Alexandra Dean, full creative control over the project. “It was really difficult for me because I’m so used to having so much control and ‘The Simple Life,’ just having everything perfect and edited,” she said. “And with this, I had just to let go of all that control and let them use everything.

There are moments of opulence in the film — jet-setting around the world, endless racks of gowns and stilettos and closets stacked with jewelry she’s never worn — and she’s quick to remind that she’s “never been photographed in the same thing twice.

But at the heart of the documentary is trauma, stemming from Ms. Hilton’s years spent in boarding schools for troubled teens. The last one she attended was Provo Canyon School, a psychiatric residential treatment center in Utah, where she would spend 11 months.

They just assumed it was like a normal boarding school because that’s the way that they portray it to parents and people who are putting their children in these places,” Ms. Hilton said of her parents, Kathy and Rick Hilton (her mother appears in the documentary). Before the making of the film, Ms. Hilton had never told her family about what happened to her.

Full interview: