In the early 00s, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t know the name, Paris Hilton.
Although still a notable figure, her fame now is nothing compared to the heiress early days as a partying socialite whose helped define reality TV with MTV’s The Simple Life.
Locally, Hilton caused a stir in 2003 after a Melbourne Cup tryst with a then 21-year-old Rob “Millsy” Mills, shortly after he appeared on the first series of Australian Idol. It cemented her celebrity status in Australia.
Hilton was the Kardashians before there were “the Kardashians”. In fact, she was the one who introduced Kim to the world.
Now, the 39-year-old heir to the Hilton fortune has released a new documentary, This is Paris and it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen — or heard — from her. Literally.
Apart from the parties, outrageous and expensive fashion, her sidekick Nicole Richie and her numerous pets, Hilton’s is well known for her “baby voice”.
While promoting her new documentary — which we’ll get to in a moment — Hilton spoke about her rise to fame, proving that her infamous tone was nothing but a façade.
During an interview with Sunrise’s Edwina Bartholomew, Hilton admitted that she had been playing a “character” this whole time.
“This entire time, I have been playing a character, so the world has never truly known who I am,” she said, her signature baby voice gone.
“The real me is someone who is actually brilliant. I’m not a dumb blonde, I’m just really good at pretending to be one,” she said.
The self-confessed “dumb blonde” act saw her reach global fame — and as her sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild once put it: “[Paris] didn’t get this far being dumb.”
Hilton used the “fake voice” for her famous catchphrase “that’s hot” and even during interviews however with the release of This is Paris, decided that it was “time for the world to finally know who I was.”
“I feel like I’ve been through so much,” she added. “There’s so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about me. I don’t want to be remembered as some airhead. I want to be respected for the businesswoman I am.”
Hilton’s new documentary is a no-holds-barred look at her life, including the mental, emotional and physical abuse she endured while attending a boarding school — Utah’s Provo Canyon School.
“I buried my truth for so long,” she said in an interview with People. “But I’m proud of the strong woman I’ve become. People might assume everything in my life came easy to me, but I want to show the world who I truly am.”
“I knew it was going to be worse than anywhere else,” Hilton said, adding, “It was supposed to be a school, but [classes] were not the focus at all. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture,” she said before adding, “I was having panic attacks and crying every single day. “I was just so miserable. I felt like a prisoner and I hated life.”
Following the 11 months at the boarding school, her TV series, The Simple Life (alongside Richie) would portray her as a rebellious teen who was spoiled and lived with her family in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The persona wasn’t far from the truth — in fact, it was very accurate.
Her family, parents Rick and Kathy, and younger siblings Nicky, 36, Barron, 30, and Conrad, 26 watched on as she would “sneak out and go to clubs and parties”.
“My parents were so strict that it made me want to rebel. They’d [punish me] by taking away my cellphone, taking away my credit card, but it didn’t work. I would still go out on my own,” she said.
20 years on, Hilton has finally been able to open up about the trauma in hopes that she can finally move on.
“It feels like my nightmare is over,” she says. “And I’m going to watch the movie with my parents — I think it will be good for us, but emotional too. There are no more secrets.”
This Is Paris premieres on September 15 AEST on Hilton’s YouTube channel.
WATCH: The official trailer for This is Paris.