Film Review: This Is Paris
After 20 years of playing the dumb blonde, she’s happy for people to know that’s not her - she’s just very good at pretending to be one.
Trigger Warning: This article deals with child abuse which some may find distressing.
This segment is from the Large Almond Latte Podcast Episode: The Pending Extinction of the Mean Girl & This is Paris.
If you’ve ever given Paris Hilton more than two minutes of surface level attention, you would have realised that someone who is the world's highest paid female DJ at $1 million per gig, with19 product lines and 27 fragrances worth over $3 billion, and who travels for work 250 days a year, probably has a little more substance than “That’s hot.”
Pioneer. Source: GiPHY.
Give a bit of thought and you’ll realise that Paris is a pioneer. She’s the original reality tv star, the OG influencer. Who didn’t get velour tracksuit pants because Paris had them? Paris invented the selfie. Her tick shouldn’t even be blue, it should be gold because it’s embarrassing to put her in the same category as ex-Bachelor and MAFS contestants. She’s the goddess of social media. She was the first person to be quote unquote ‘famous for being famous,’ which she has been mercilessly criticised for. But, what trend have you started? What have you pioneered lately? She’s a trailblazer.
Of course, This Is Paris shows some of what you’d expect - opulence and materialism, rooms filled with clothes and shoes she’s never worn, closets full of jewellery that would be like porn for me to organise. At one point, she notes that she’s never been photographed in the same thing twice. But if they didn’t show these scenes, the essence of the movie would be completely unbelievable, because this is only the side of Paris the world has seen for the past 20 years - the superficial heiress Paris.
Source: Your Tango.
If you never gave the real Paris your time, this documentary lays it bare for you. At its essence, this film deals with Paris’ childhood trauma.
For those who don't know, Paris was the OG Serena Van Der Wootsen. Moving to New York from LA at 14, Paris was wild. Fake ID, at the clubs every night...well, you’ve seen Gossip Girl. As a response, her parents sent her to several boarding schools for troubled teens which she kept escaping. The last, most brutal one was the Provo Canyon School, a psychiatric residential treatment centre in Utah, where she would spend 11 months.
Paris didn’t know she was going there. What she does remember, and still has nightmares about to this day, is being asleep in her bed and being awoken by two men kidnapping her. She cried and screamed as she was dragged outside her bedroom, only to see both her parents standing there crying.
While she was at Provo, Paris recalls being constantly drugged up and shares a story of one time refusing her pills. When she was caught, she was sent to solitary confinement for 20 hours without clothes. She also talks of verbal, physical and sexual abuse that occurred while she was there.
When she left at the age of 18, she left with the drive to work and succeed so she would be financially secure and her parents could never do that to her again. She admits that she won’t stop working until she makes $1 billion, because then she will be 'comfortable' and not have to worry.
She also left Provo with PTSD and an extreme fear of trusting anyone.
So can you imagine the additional trauma Rick Soloman caused her when she met him at 18? She was in love and would do anything for him. Then he releases a sex tape of this teenage girl, without her consent, to the entire world, and it was she who got the backlash. Although dropping your own sex tape became somewhat of a blue print to fame, (see: Kimmy K),Paris did not consent to the release of this. She said, “To have that come out, such a private moment, and for the whole world to be watching it and laughing like it’s some sort of entertainment, was just traumatising” and that it made her feel “electronically raped.”
The film addresses her ongoing lack of trust in relationships. She admits she gets a new computer every time she gets a new boyfriend, because they will undoubtedly at some stage threaten her with its contents. In the documentary, she can be seen installing spyware in her house before her boyfriend stays there while she’s out of town. She has every right to be suspicious of this new boyfriend Aleks Novakovic, because he turns out to be yet another complete dead shit, who gets drunk and nearly ruins her set at Tomorrowland.
He's the worst. Source: Buzzfeed.
She also admits to having been in no less than five abusive relationships, experiencing everything from verbal abuse to strangulation, admitting her trauma has prevented her from truly seeing what’s acceptable behaviour, and “That definitely affected me in my relationships because I just didn’t know what real love was, and from being abused, you just get kind of used to it almost where you think it’s normal."
She’s never been able to speak to her parents about the abuse she experienced at Provo, let alone let it tarnish her ‘dumb blonde’ image, but in this film, she hands over all creative control to director Alexandra Dean. She’s ready to face the truth and tell her real story.
She reunites with former students who had similar experience to her, and uses her social platform to expose institutions that administer cruel psychiatric treatment to minors.
Source: This is Paris.
After 20 years of playing the dumb blonde, Paris told The New York Times that she’s happy for people to know that’s not her - she’s just very good at pretending to be one.
Sure, this movie is a documentary told from Paris’ side, and a critical eye could see it as a rebranding exercise, but I for one have always been a big fan of Paris and I thought this documentary was a raw insight into a damaged soul. She also said making this film was like therapy for her, and I honestly hope she’s come out on the other side stronger.
This is Paris is currently on Youtube.
Thirsty for more? Enlighten your earholes with a new ep of the Large Almond Latte Podcast every Tuesday.