From creating reality show history with Nicole Richie onThe Simple Lifeto crafting her 25th fragrance, Electrify, there is seemingly nothing Paris Hilton has not accomplished. Recently, the party girl turned business mogul has shown that every move she makes is carefully curated. As this self proclaimed “undercover nerd” dives into the tech world and releases her own YouTube documentary, plan on continuing to see her spinning massive parties at places like The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s in Atlantic City in between business meetings.
After a recent gig at this East Coast mecca, I caught up with Ms. Hilton and we chatted what it’s like spinning for an adoring crowd, what she learned from her dearly departed grandfather, and how the little girl who dreamed of having just one perfume has crafted a true business empire.
Michael Cook: You recently performed at The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s in Atlantic City which served as a gorgeous tribute to your grandfather, who passed away that same weekend. Ironically, your grandfather was intricate helping the Caesar’s brand become one of the quintessential hospitality brands around. What is your greatest memory of your grandfather?
Paris Hilton: We have always been so close and he has always been my hero. He has been my mentor and someone that I have always looked up to and always wanted to make proud. Being born into the Hilton last name is a lot to live up to; I want to uphold my families legacy and I feel really proud that I have created my own brand on my own. My grandfather would always tell me “I am so proud of you”. He would say “You work harder and travel more than any CEO that I know”! He was so proud of what I had created and he was certain to tell me that all of the time. It meant so much to me. I know that my grandfather would have wanted me to spin that weekend, because he was a businessperson like I am, and he obviously has a lot of history with Atlantic City. I was celebrating his amazing life that night.
MC: Seeing you command the crowd from the DJ booth, despite having a massive pool and plenty of cocktails, the focus was on you the entire night. You seem to have truly found your niche in the DJ booth.
PH: I love it. I have been doing celebrity appearances, actually I started that whole thing in Las Vegas back when I was twenty one. I made that into a huge business and then parlayed that into DJ’ing. I have always been going to raves and music festivals since I’m fifteen and I just love the music. I am friends with lots of DJ’s and I have seen on stage how incredible it was. I learned everything that there was to learn about it. Now, I have been DJ’ing for nine years straight, playing out arenas and music festivals, and having DJ residencies in Ibiza and all around the world. I just played at Tomorrowland also; It’s just so incredible being up there and feeling the energy and seeing everyone smile and watching the jump, dance and scream. There are so many emotions; music is just so special to me. When I am up there, I just feel like I am on top of the world.
MC: Music truly is very electrifying, which is also the name of your new fragrance, your 25th!Electrifyis all about music, dancing and living in the moment. What made you want to name it after something that is such an important part of your life right now?
PH: Even hearing you just say that I am releasing my “25th fragrance”, it is just so amazing. As a little girl, I always dreamed of having one perfume and to say that this is my twenty fifth, it is so exciting. I am so happy and proud and I really wanted to do something like I had never done before. One of my passions is being the queen of the night; just being on stage and killing it with the neon pink lights with the lasers and the energy, I really wanted to capture that with the fragrance. I thought of the word Electrify. I feel like I electrify people when I am playing, I love to see the whole room lit! That was the whole inspiration behind the whole campaign, and even when you put the scent on, you feel like you are having the time of your life. I want people to have that memory and feel confident like they’re the life of the party!
MC: You are going to be doing a YouTube documentary that is telling your story on your own terms. We got to see a peek into who you are in the Netflix documentary,The American Meme. Every move you have made as a public person and a businesswoman has been so scrutinized and picked apart. What is making you now craft a documentary about yourself?
PH: I feel that the real story has not been told. My entire narrative and the character that the media portrayed me as for so many years is basically a character. There are also so many lies and misconceptions and many things that are not really me. I actually want to show people my real life. It shows people my life from the beginning to what I have created now. I talk about everything.The American Memewas just a little part of that, the social media aspect of my life. The documentary is a lot more about my life that no one knows. I am very honest and raw and real; people are definitely going to be very surprised when they it because it’s a different side of me than they have ever seen in their lives.
MC: You are arguably one of the smartest business people of this generation. You have weaved your celebrity and fame into something very tangible. and you’ve made brilliant decisions in terms of business. You recently, along with the perfume, invested in the The Glam App.What do you think is the best lesson regarding business that you have learned along the way?
PH: I am very lucky that I come from a very business minded family. Growing up with my grandfather and my father, and what my great-grandfather created. Having that brand and having mentors and people in my life that I look up to and respect and that I can get advice from is crucial. Making my family proud has always been so important to me, and them teaching me this work ethic. I see so many children that come from privileged families, “trust fund kids” they call them. They basically don’t have any drive and are sort of handed everything. My family always instilled in me-working hard and doing things on my own. I am really happy and I feel grateful that they did not spoil me like I see with a lot of other people. It feels so incredible to be independent and do everything on my own and have that success myself. I thank my parents and my grandparents for really instilling that in me at a young age. It’s rewarding to be able to do it this way.
MC: You are consistently a huge icon of the LGBT community. What do you think it is about the LGBT community that continuousy has them showing so much love for you that is reciprocated?
PH: Love it! (laughs). We just have this amazing connection and vibe. I sometimes joke with my friends that I am a gay man trapped in a woman’s body; the way that I am and the the way I feel. I just love being happy, having fun, I love dancing, fashion and being happy. With all of this news about accepting each other and being magical and being yourself, real and authentic, I have always been that way. I feel like everyone should be true to themselves and be who they are; and be proud.
MC: You were one of the first celebrities to truly turn reality television into something truly tangible. That, along with your music, was the way that many people, including the LGBT community discovered you. Do you think that you could ever see yourself going back to the genre of reality television. perhaps with a reboot of The Simple Life?
PH: I get offers all of the time, every day. I already get enough business emails (laughs). Honestly, it’s not even really a priority for me right now. The Simple Life is so iconic. It’s the OG reality show, there is never going to be anything like it again. I love that show and I am so proud of it. My priorities are different. I am focusing on my business, I am so busy with my empire and traveling and everything. I feel like that was part of my life and now it is on to the next chapter of my life.
MC: What do yo want to do that you have not done. From creating your own scent to DJ’ing, you have done absolutely everything it seems.
PH: I feel that since I’m an Aquarius I can do anything. I feel like I am this magical unicorn who can literally be DJ’ing in Ibiza, and then in London for a board meeting, and then in Brazil the next day for a photo shoot for Carnival. My life is so exciting and I love that I get to do everything that I love and I love that my fans support everything that I do; from music to fashion to business to my perfumes. Now I am really getting involved in a lot of incredible tech deals. I have always been an undercover nerd, obsessed with anything to do with tech and gadgets and apps and virtual reality and gaming. It’s exciting with all of the new projects that I am coming out with.
I have my newest one called Roxi. It’s basically the ultimate party app. Instead of hiring a party planner and hiring your valets, doing a guest list and all those things, we have everything on the app. Basically we will send out all of your invites, you have everyone in a community together. You can hire your severs, your valet, the catering, whatever alcohol you want, security guards, balloons, basically anything that you want. You can get a DJ or a celebrity to do an appearance, our app does everything for a party. There are so many components to it and I am so excited about it. I love things that are convenient and easy, like Postmates and Uber; this is basically the UBER of party services.
MC: What would the Paris Hilton of today tell the Paris Hilton that was standing in front of cameras twenty years ago and starting her career and changing things?
PH” I would tell her “Paris, I am you from the future” (laughs). “I want you to know that you are an amazing girl with a huge heart. You are going to continue to be that person and you are going to do so many incredible things. You are going to build a huge empire, but you are also going to meet some people on the way in Hollywood that you shouldn’t surround yourself with. Make sure to watch out and always make sure to surround yourself with good people, Don’t be naive and shy, be confident and believe in yourself. You are going to have an incredible life and so very happy.