Paris Hilton was once the toast of the town and perhaps one of Hollywood’s most famous socialites. Whether you loved her or hated her, you’d see her face everywhere. She waged epic feuds with fellow socialites Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian, and enjoyed a five-season run with her breakout reality TV show, The Simple Life. Even her leaked sex tape seemed to kick off a plethora of other celebrity sex tapes, practically setting a precedent that the scandalous footage was somehow en vogue. Hilton has been a best-selling author, actress, model, brand ambassador, DJ, and a veritable household name, but why haven’t we heard much from her lately? Here’s a few reasons why she may be skirting the spotlight.
In a recording obtained by Radar Online, the “Stars Are Blind” singer was accused of going on a homophobic diatribe in 2012. The audio, reportedly recorded by a cab driver, revealed Hilton saying that “most [gay men] probably have AIDS,” followed by, “Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. They’re disgusting. I would be so scared if I was a gay guy. [You’d], like, die of AIDS.”
When the scandal went public, Hilton’s camp released a statement deflecting the criticism. A rep for the starlet said (via Radar Online), “Paris Hilton’s comments were to express that it is dangerous for anyone to have unprotected s3x that could lead to a life threatening disease. The conversation became heated, after a close gay friend told her in a cab ride, a story about a gay man who has AIDS, and is knowingly having unprotected s3x. He also discussed a website that encourages random sex by gay men with strangers. As she was being shown the website her comments were in reference to those people promoting themselves on the site. The cab driver who recorded this, only provided a portion of the conversation. It was not her intent to make any derogatory comments about all gays. Paris Hilton is a huge supporter of the gay community and would never purposefully make any negative statements about anyone’s s3xual orientation.”
Though that controversial conversation wasn’t a career-ender, Hilton’s language certainly didn’t help her celebrity status.
She said black men are ‘gross’
In a 1999 interview with journalist Neil Strauss, an 18-year-old Hilton reportedly expressed disgust at the mere idea of dating a black man. In an excerpt of the interview, which was published in Strauss’ book, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, Hilton says she went on a date with a celebrity who starred in Saving Private Ryan, but after making out with him, they went somewhere with better lighting and she realized “he was black,” so she “made an excuse and left.”
“I can’t stand black guys,” she says in the excerpt (via LA Weekly). “I would never touch one. It’s gross.”
Who was this actor of color? According to Slate, multiple sites speculated Hilton was talking about multiracial star Vin Diesel, noting that during the same interview, Strauss reportedly asked the heiress “how black” a guy has to be for her to consider him off-limits. “One percent is enough for me,” she replied.
Racism, Hilton? That’s not hot.
She’s been consumed by her massive perfume line
Between 2004 and 2016, Hilton released 20 different perfumes that attracted an estimated $2 billion dollars in profit.
Referencing a scent aptly named “Gold Rush,” Hilton told WWD magazine, “I love how this one makes you feel. You feel really confident when you wear it. I like something that really brings attention to you, and something that people remember.” She added, “My fragrances in the beginning were more girly, almost Disney fantasy-like with characters in fairy dust and me dressed as a fairy. Now, with Gold Rush, it is more mature and very sophisticated. It’s a completely different scent.”
“I’ve been in this business so long, I’m a pro at it,” she said. “I know what the consumer wants, and I know what I want. I’ve smelled so many scents, and I basically have everything memorized. I always want to do something different from the last one.”
The perfume business isn’t the only thing keeping her busy
Hilton’s business acumen extends beyond fragrances. She also runs her own accessory line that includes handbags, wallets, beauty cases, and jewelry. According to WWD, 50 stores globally were selling her products as of July 2016 with another 200 shopping opportunities opening in China by the year’s end. “I’m a completely different person,” she told People in September 2016. “I’ve grown so much as a person and a woman…I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve worked really hard, and I’ve built my empire. I run my company with 17 different product lines. I’m going nonstop, constantly traveling.”
In a 2014 interview with WWD, the mogul estimated she’d spent 300 of the last 365 days on the move, insisting that her glitzy appearances, though they seem to be all fun and games, are actually part of a greater business strategy. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that when I’m at all these events it is for work and I’m being paid to be there and promote a product or whatever club or restaurant has hired me to be there,” she said. “People got to know me from being a New York socialite and a teenager at every party at every club since I was a kid. But I’ve actually turned that into a huge business. It is a part of my brand that I’m having fun and living an exciting life and being the life of the party, but it’s a lot of work.” Like many people who are famous for doing nothing, Hilton attempted to legitimize her fame by appearing in a number of absolutely horrible movies. Her first real starring turn was in 2005’s House of Wax, for which she earned the annual Golden Raspberry Award for worst supporting actress, and a rough 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
A year later, she followed up the effort with the direct-to-DVD Bottoms Up, co-starring Kevin Smith-favorite Jason Mewes, which only scored 22% with Rotten Tomatoes’ audience. Her most serious offense, however, is the 2008 comedy — and we use that word lightly — The Hottie and the Nottie, which comes in at an amazing 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. It earned Hilton another two Razzies, and spent some time on IMDB as the worst film of all time. It currently rests at about number fifteen, beaten by another Hilton gem, Pledge This, at number 6.
She should probably just stick to perfume.
She still grapples with the fallout from her s3x tape
In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan (via CNN), Hilton said she still grapples with the fallout from her s3x tape. “…when people look at me they think that I’m something I’m not just because of one incident one night with someone who I was in love with,” she said. “People assume ‘Oh, she’s a slut’ because of one thing that happened to me, and it’s hard because I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life and explain it to my children. It’s something that’s changed my life forever and I’ll never be able to erase it.”
Hilton blames her ex-boyfriend, poker player Rick Salomon, for the debacle. “It was devastating because that was someone I was with for a few years,” she told The Telegraph in 2015. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully trust any man again after that. It was just the most hurtful and awful thing that anyone could do to a little girl. I was very young, it wasn’t my fault.”
Hilton was 19 years old when the tape was filmed, according to New York Magazine.
Turntables keep a girl busy
Hilton’s top-dollar DJ jobs keep her occupied on the regular. In September 2016, Refinery29 reported that Hilton was paid $300,000 for a gig in Serbia.
She told People in 2016 that she transitioned into the DJ scene while booking club appearances around the world. “I was always in the DJ booth, telling the DJs what to play, so the club owners were like, ‘Why don’t you try it?'” Hilton said, “I was nervous to try [it] at at first because it’s very technical, but I trained with the best in the business for about six hours a day for six months.”
HIlton said her first performance was after a Jennifer Lopez concert—a gig that brought in 30,000 people. “I felt that energy and really fell in love with being a DJ and got really into it,” she told People. “Now I’m starting to produce my own beats.”
She’s looking for love
One endeavor that can be an absolute time-suck is seeking your soulmate, and Hilton said she’s still looking for hers. According to a 2016 interview with People, Hilton spoke endearingly about younger sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild, who is married to aristocrat James Rothschild and building a family of her own. “I’ve never seen Nicky so happy,” she said. “She’s got a man that’s so loyal. I don’t trust because I got hurt so much in my life that I don’t want to put myself out there to get hurt again.”
Even so, it sounds like Hilton is still open to the idea of forever and always. “I would love one day to find my soulmate and someone who I could give my life to and build a life with and a family,” she admitted. “Hopefully one day.”