16 Mar Paris Hilton: I’m not the dumb blonde people thought
When Paris Hilton utters her trademarked catchphrase “That’s hot!” these days, she might just be talking about what’s on the stove. After all, the Champagne-quaffing, table-dancing party monster has morphed into a businesswoman who’d rather stay home and cook dinner for her boyfriend than go out clubbing into the wee hours.
“When I moved to New York as a teenager from Los Angeles, I’d never even been to an event or a party before,” the 36-year-old hotel heiress tells me after a long day of posing for Alexa.
I was the editor of Page Six when Paris arrived in the city and chronicled her various romances and feuds with other It girls “back when New York was fun,” as she puts it. She doesn’t hold it against me.
“The first publication I was ever in was Page Six,” Paris says. “If you’re in New York City, Page Six is watching.” Paris admits she “probably” invented the art of climbing atop a table in stilettos to shake her groove thing.
But now, the CEO of Paris Hilton Entertainment — which has 28 retail stores and 20 consumer-product collections in 40 countries — only hits the scene when she is getting paid to DJ. Or if she’s promoting one of her bountiful branded wares, including shoes, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses and watches. She even has a line of accessories for dogs.
“I never go out anymore because, ‘It’s Thursday night, and this club is cool’ — I’m completely over that now,” Paris says. “I’d much rather be at home with my boyfriend, cooking, playing virtual-reality games, playing with the dogs. I’ve settled down a lot in that area. I’ve been to enough fun parties in my life. Enough to last many lifetimes.
She first met her boyfriend, Chris Zylka, 31, a hunky actor on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” six years ago at an Oscars party at the Chateau Marmont. They live together at her Beverly Hills house, which was featured in Sofia Coppola’s movie “The Bling Ring.”
Zylka, who grew up in Ohio playing football and tagging graffiti, was sleeping on the streets when he arrived in Hollywood and has 17 arm tattoos. Despite their differences, he and Paris became friends.
“Over the past few months, we fell in love, so I’m really happy,” Paris says. “Finally, a nice guy. We’re best friends. He’s, like, the perfect person. I literally don’t know what else I can ask for in life. I feel so lucky.”
As willing as she is to discuss her love life, she shies away from less-pleasant topics. The criticism Paris has endured, the nastiness of people like David Letterman — the haters who say, “She has no talent. She’s famous for being famous” — seems to roll off her back.
She wasn’t even upset when it was reported she had dated Michael Jackson. “I don’t fight with anybody. That’s so high school. We’re all adults,” Paris says. “I’ve been very well behaved. I’ve grown up so much. I’m so focused on business.” A big part of her business is fragrance. Paris says she first got the idea of building herself into a brand — paving the way for her former assistant Kim Kardashian and other copycats — with the success of her first perfume, “Paris Hilton.”
Her latest scents, “Gold Rush” and “Gold Rush Man,” are her 20th and 21st. Her fragrances are sold in 63 countries, accounting for $3 billion in sales.
“All the guys are loving it,” she says. “It just smells very sexy, how a man should smell. My boyfriend loves it.”
Paris is also proud to be following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather Conrad Hilton in the hotel business. In 2013, she opened her first, Paris Beach Club, in the Philippines, with plans for others worldwide.
“People have misconceptions about me,” Paris points out. “When I’m in front of them in a boardroom talking about my business, they know immediately I’m not the dumb blonde they thought I was.”
Her other passion is electronic dance music, and she will be the resident DJ at Amnesia, a club in Ibiza, Spain, this summer, for the fifth year.
She’s been asked to host her Foam & Diamonds party for five months but says, “Now that I’m in a serious relationship, I don’t want to be in Ibiza for five months.”
“There’s a lot that goes into it that people don’t realize,” Paris says. “I trained for six hours a day for six months, every single day training with the best people in the business. I’ve never played the same set twice.”
Besides paying some of the bills, the DJ gigs allow her to optimize her time when she travels. “If I’m flying 20 hours across the world to promote my fragrance, instead of doing that one thing, I will make sure they book up my whole schedule so I’m working as soon as I land until I leave. [I like] to make the most out of my time.”
Paris was thrilled when Kendall Jenner celebrated her 21st birthday last year by wearing a copy of the silvery, décolletage baring minidress the heiress wore at her own 21st birthday.
Asked if she is a fashion icon to the millennial generation, Paris says, “Kendall looked beautiful in that dress. It’s the perfect dress to wear for a 21st birthday. It makes me happy to see these girls be inspired by me.”
Kate Middleton is also taking dress cues from Paris. After the socialite wowed in a cream Self Portrait gown last October, the Duchess of Cambridge paraded the same design in London a week later.
Indeed, the Juicy Couture track suits, Uggs, bustiers, tiaras and logo-ed designer handbags that Paris helped popularize on “The Simple Life” in the early aughts are all back in again. This throwback-style-icon status earned her an interview with Vogue.
Her look is more conservative now and so, apparently, are her politics. Paris revealed on Australian TV that she voted for Trump — he signed her to his modeling agency when she was a teenager and blurbed her “Confessions of an Heiress” book — but doesn’t want to discuss it with me. Except to say that if she runs for president, her slogan would be “Make America Hot Again.”
She was just joking when she suggested that the White House be painted pink. Asked where she pictures herself in five years, Paris says, “I’ll be married with kids — not traveling like I do now.” She also wants more time to spend with her six dogs, three cats, a flying squirrel and a ferret. Although her famous Chihuahua Tinkerbell has passed on, her new Chihuahua is Diamond Baby, and she has a blond Pomeranian named Princess Paris Jr. Paris — who has gone sky diving six times — says, “I’m not scared of anything . . . except for bugs. I hate bees and spiders.”
Maybe her next product will be Princess Paris Pesticide.
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Fashion photos by Timothy White