Last week, when Paris Hilton was set to begin a press tour for her new Netflix show, “Cooking With Paris,” the socialite-turned-businesswoman woke up to tabloid rumors that falsely reported she and her fiancé, venture capitalist Carter Reum, were expecting their first child.
Hilton’s response to the fake pregnancy news provides a glimpse into her ever-growing empire — and the brains behind her burgeoning businesses.
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“I can’t wait to have children in 2022, but I am just preparing for the wedding right now,” Hilton clarified on her podcast, “This Is Paris,” which launched in February. “I’m shooting my new TV docu-series, capturing it all. It’s called ‘Paris in Love’ on Peacock,” she continued, expertly working in a mention of one of her two upcoming shows, though she has additional projects in development. She added, “You can’t always believe what you read. … You can come to the source,” seamlessly plugging her iHeartRadio venture.
Perhaps, Hilton surmised, the undergarment that she was photographed wearing on date night at Nobu Malibu was to blame for paparazzi believing she was with child. “I’m assuming it was the Paris Hilton push-up bra from my new lingerie line,” she said casually.
Hilton’s lingerie brand is just one piece of the 40-year-old entrepreneur’s multibillion-dollar company, which consists of 45 branded stores and 19 product lines spanning skincare and 27 fragrances, and has surpassed $4 billion in global revenue — not to mention numerous brand partnerships in the areas of wellness and fashion. She is an investor and expert in the NFT space; she also has her podcast, a memoir in the works, a new production company under an overall deal with Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, an upcoming streaming reality wedding series and the new cooking show at Netflix.
“I was just having a meeting with my team yesterday and going over all of the businesses that we’ve launched in just the past year,” Hilton tells Variety. “It’s amazing that one person is doing so many different types of things.”
More in demand than ever, the hotel heiress says she is motivated by a desire to create her own success, one independent of the fame and wealth into which she was born, as the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels.
“There are a lot of misconceptions. I feel like I’ve been underestimated a lot in my life, but I love to prove people wrong,” Hilton says. “Everyone assumes, ‘Oh, everything is just handed to her and she’s so spoiled.’ That couldn’t be any farther from the truth.”
A major turning point for the TV personality, who first entered the pop culture zeitgeist in the late ’90s as a fixture of the New York City nightlife scene, was her critically acclaimed YouTube documentary “This Is Paris,” which premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. In it, she reveals the verbal and physical abuse she experienced as a teenager at the Provo Canyon boarding school in Utah. Today, Hilton is working with federal legislators to change laws to ensure all children are protected from the pain she endured.
“I’ve always wanted to prove all those people wrong and work so hard and become so successful that no one could ever control me,” she says. “A big driving force has been having that independence and freedom to do whatever I want and never have to ask for anything in life, ever again.”
After the doc was released, Hilton’s public image evolved from international DJ and party girl to a multilayered woman whose upbringing may have been misjudged. Today, she finally feels like she is getting the respect she deserves.
“People understand that I’m not the ‘Simple Life’ character and understand that there is actually a lot more to me,” she says of her reality show with Nicole Richie that ran from 2003 to 2007.
In “Cooking With Paris,” Hilton says she is not playing a character. With its satirical spin on the genre, the show features Hilton inviting famous friends and family — including rapper Saweetie; Kim Kardashian; her sister, Nicky Hilton; and her mother, Kathy — to her Beverly Hills mansion to prepare a meal. In the kitchen she is overdressed, wearing sky-high heels and sequined gloves. While baking a cake, she decides to go off recipe and throw in cotton candy as an impromptu ingredient.
“That is part of my personality. I’m very playful and I’m a kid at heart,” Hilton says. “‘Cooking With Paris’ reminds me of ‘The Simple Life’ because that’s how I was on that show. But now, I’m very self-aware of what I am doing.”
Despite her over-the-top appearance, Hilton says she is a naturally shy person. When the camera is on, she turns up her persona while guarding her true self.
“Sometimes I revert back to the character and my voice will get a little bit higher when I get a little bit shy,” Hilton explains of her signature squeaky inflection. “I feel like because I’ve played that character for my entire career, it will always be a part of me — but when I need to be in the boardroom for business meetings, that’s when I’m serious.”
“Cooking With Paris” was conceived by accident. During the pandemic, while Hilton was bored at home, one of her superfans suggested she make her “sliving” lasagna (that’s her combined term for “slaying” and “living”), and after her culinary tutorial went viral, she was approached by a variety of networks and production companies to create a cooking show.
The Netflix series features fantasy sequences that Hilton says are designed to show the audience that she’s “in on the joke.” After all, she doesn’t know how to cook.
“I’m not a trained chef. I don’t know what I’m doing,” Hilton says. “Most cooking shows are very boring and I don’t watch them. I wanted to ‘Paris-ize’ it.”
When asked if she’s thought about producing her own line of (likely crystal-embellished) cookware, in true Hilton fashion the wheels are already turning. “I’ve made every product possible,” she says. “So yeah, that’s a good idea.”
Cooking up more business ventures in the kitchen? That’s hot — literally.