Paris Hilton is ready to take back her story, share ups and downs

Paris Hilton adds her voice to the chorus of women campaigning to reclaim her narrative from the media and public.

This week, she released Paris: The Memoir and shared what it was like for her growing up as a Hilton — she was sent to programs for troubled teens but found psychological and physical abuse, a leaked sextape, the fabrication of a party girl image and high voice and co-star on the reality show The Simple Life with Nicole Richie.

In 2020, Hilton released a YouTube documentary, This is Paris, detailing her experiences at the schools. “That was the first time I got really vulnerable and real and shared my story and what I’ve been through,” Hilton said.

Today, Hilton is involved in lobbying and has had a son with husband Carter Reum.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Hilton talks about speaking out, slowing down and what she thinks about being labeled a celebrity.

Responses may have been edited for brevity and clarity.


AP: You’re one of the few women who’s taken control of your story in recent years. Was there anyone who inspired you to do the same or consider doing the same?

HILTON: I was at the premiere of Demi Lovato’s documentary a few years ago and I was just so blown away by her honesty and her vulnerability and speaking about so many private moments in her life. That really inspired me to feel free to be open and be more honest about what I’ve been going through because especially in Hollywood it can be really tough, especially mentally. Lots of people go through things, and we all try to project that perfect life, but life isn’t perfect.

AP: If you could imagine how this book would be received, what would it be like?

HILTON: I’ve been misunderstood and underappreciated for so long, and there’s just so much more to me than what people think. It really all started with my documentary This Is Paris. That was the first time I got really vulnerable and real and told my story and what I had been through.

AP: The public knows a lot about your ups and downs, but you’ve shared things like sexual assault and having an abortion in your book. Was that difficult?

HILTON: A lot of the things I wrote in the book were very difficult to write, a lot of memories I’ve tried not to think about for so many years. But I think it was important to include them because it’s part of my story. All I know is that there are many women out there who need to hear this story too.

AP: Despite your many hats as an entrepreneur, DJ, with 30 fragrances and a billion dollar business – you are still labeled as a celebrity. Does it disturb you?

HILTON: I don’t really like the term celebrity because I feel like I just do so much more, but I feel like now people are finally recognizing and seeing me for the businesswoman I am.

AP: How’s your lobbying going against programs that supposedly reform so-called bad kids?

HILTON: We’ve accomplished so much in the last two years and I’ve already changed laws in eight states and even Ireland. I will be returning to Washington, DC in April to introduce new legislation and we already have bipartisan support. So I just pray that everyone does the right thing because over 150,000 children are sent to these facilities each year. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry… I won’t stop fighting until change is made.

AP: You write about how it wasn’t easy communicating with your parents about what happened to you. Could you really discuss this with them?

HILTON: My family and I have never been closer, and they had no idea what was happening behind closed doors in those places. They have misleading marketing. My parents just thought I went to a regular boarding school and all the brochures have these pictures of kids smiling with rainbows and riding horses. I understand everything now, especially as an adult. My parents and I talked about everything and it was very healing for us. My mother came to Washington DC with me and is there to support me.

AP: You’re a new mom! (Hilton’s son, Phoenix Barron Hilton Reum, was born via surrogate.) Are you dialing back all your travel and business commitments?

HILTON: I often say no just because I want to be there for every moment, so I try to do as much as possible from home, building my podcasting studio there, my recording studio for my music, a photo studio for photo shoots. I try to work from home as much as possible so I can get in and out of his room because I’m just so obsessed with my little boy.

AP: You also write in your book about how you have ADHD and your husband researched it when you were together to understand you better.

HILTON: He’s just so supportive. And he talks to my ADHD doctor and really did so much research. He basically knows more about it than I do and teaches me these things every day. That was really great.

AP: Even sharing that you have ADHD helps people feel seen.

HILTON: When humans can use it properly, it can actually be a superpower. That’s why I think I’ve always been ahead of my time in my career, taking risks and being an innovator and someone who thinks outside the box. I really attribute this to my ADHD. People should watch the movie The Disruptors to understand more.

AP: Last question. In your book that you share, you have five cell phones. One is dedicated to prank calls. Do you have these with you today?

Hilton: Yes. I only have a few of these here. (Hilton holds up three phones.) I love prank calls with my mom.

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