“This Is Paris” Details Emotional Abuse of Reality Star


Despite the stars wealth and good looks, Paris Hilton has had a tough upbringing. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Taylor Mascetta , Staff Writer

Everyone knows the name “Paris Hilton” the American socialite, entrepreneur and voice behind the iconic “that’s hot” catchphrase has thrived in the public eye since 1997. To many people, Hilton is living the dream. She rose to stardom and established a massive presence both in the media and economically, resulting in a life of luxury. On top of that, her family founded the Hilton Hotels empire, a lucrative business that solidified their fortune. But behind all of Paris Hilton’s glitz and glamour lie years of unresolved trauma stemming from horrific experiences in her childhood. 

Hilton released her documentary “This Is Paris” on her YouTube channel on Sept. 14. The film, which runs for about an hour and 45 minutes, explores what shaped Paris Hilton into the person she is today. Interviews with Hilton’s mother and sister, Kathy and Nicky Hilton, respectively, give glimpses into Paris Hilton’s life.

A viewer might expect the documentary to focus solely on Hilton’s lavish lifestyle, but it actually tells a very different tale. While the documentary does flaunt Hilton’s riches and wealthy upbringing, it also reveals years of struggles, abuse, trauma and excessive parental control. Hilton’s aim for the documentary is to open up about her struggles and show her genuine self to the world. The documentary largely revolves around the two sides of Paris Hilton: the self-described “character” the world sees, and her true, authentic identity. She expresses in the film’s introduction that the world thinks that they know her, but in reality they only know the character she portrays. Nobody really knows the true Paris.

The documentary starts out by walking through Hilton’s early years, exploring her childhood in Beverly Hills and her family life. As an heiress to the Hilton name, Paris’ parents expected her to uphold traditional family values and portray herself to the cameras as their perfect little girl. However, this deeply affected Hilton’s sense of individuality as a child.

“My mother just wanted me to be a Hilton,” Hilton states. “But I just wanted to be Paris.”

The documentary then intertwines Hilton’s revelations about her past traumas with clips showcasing the chaos of her daily life. She hops from one place to another, rarely staying in one location for more than 72 hours. She refuses to take a vacation, citing that she will not stop working until she makes a billion dollars. She believes that she can only relax once she achieves that milestone. 

Despite the chaos of her regular routine, Hilton still deals with her demons. Nightmares plague her every night, and she often struggles to sleep. The documentary illustrates these nightmares through animated clips, providing the viewer with a glimpse into her mind. Hilton also deals with severe trust issues, stemming from multiple traumatic experiences at a young age. She struggles with opening up to others in fear of betrayal. The documentary touches upon something that,, shot Hilton into stardom: the infamous “1 Night in Paris” sex tape with Rick Solomon. Her family looks back upon the incident with shame and fears the defamation of the family name. Hilton instead recognizes herself as the victim, revealing that Solomon coerced her into filming it in the first place.

While the world is familiar with this situation, many of Hilton’s scars have remained hidden. As a teenager, Hilton’s parents were extremely restrictive, barring her from using makeup, going on dates and being a normal teenager. As a result, Hilton searched for some semblance of freedom through nightlife. The documentary shockingly reveals that Hilton’s parents sent her to various reform schools in an attempt to regulate her rambunctious behavior, even sending her off to an outdoor wilderness program.

The documentary exposes these “emotional growth schools” by revealing their boot camp procedures and severe punishments, as well as the way they affected Hilton both physically and mentally. Hilton repeatedly escaped these institutions, yet they always roped her back in. This culminated in Hilton’s parents enrolling her in the Provo Canyon School in Utah, which was the scariest experience of all. Hilton’s experience at Provo deeply traumatized her from the moment the officials dragged her out of her home in the middle of the night. The documentary spends time examining the school’s abusive staff and mysterious drugs administered to the patients which resulted in their mental decline. Hilton also reaches out to other Provo survivors, and the documentary reveals that they plan to break their silence to help those currently in these situations. 

“This Is Paris” provides an excellent look into previously unseen aspects of Paris Hilton’s life. It fully fleshes out her true character by giving motivation to her actions, illustrating her thoughts and beliefs and providing an explanation of her current character. People may find that Hilton is a tough figure to pity she is the epitome of beauty, wealth and status. Everyone dreams to have a life just like hers. However, this documentary shows that Hilton is human too, and even she isn’t free from personal struggles and traumas. 

The documentary succeeds in bridging the gap between Hilton and the entire world, establishing her as an authentic human being with thoughts and feelings rather than just a name behind a brand. Paris Hilton may be one of the most recognizable names in the world, yet the world hasn’t truly gotten to know her until now.