She's been viewed as a sex symbol, a reality show starlet, and a punchline. Is that really all there is to her or is it merely a character of her own creation? The intimate and confessional feature length documentary This is Paris is an attempt to shed light on the real Paris Hilton, clear up long standing misconceptions and rehabilitate her tarnished image.
The great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, Paris was seemingly raised in the lap of luxury. She carried that image into her career and business ventures. In her reality TV show The Simple Life, she came across as a vapid and over-privileged buffoon. The exposure of a private sex tape further degraded her image in the eyes of a vulturous media and a condemning public. She was the first in a long line of public figures who became famous for being famous, and her rise to stardom also gave birth to many of the social media phenomena that run rampant today.
"That’s not me," Paris contends in the opening moments of the film. "No one knows who I am really am." Those closest to her - including her mother and sister Nicky - offer their recollections of Paris as a young child, a beautiful and precocious tomboy who loved animals. But her childhood was shattered by an incident of abuse she suffered while in boarding school. It's a secret she's kept hidden from public until the release of this film.
Plagued by frequent nightmares and the bruising demands of her brand machine, Paris slowly begins to let down her guard in front of the cameras. It's a new experience for her; she's accustomed to maintaining the strict posture of a runway model or the carefully cultivated persona of a dumbed-down reality star.
As the years have progressed, she began to recognize the limitations of this persona, and worked to establish a more respectable brand worthy of her family name. Her name is now carried on 17 worldwide brands across the beauty spectrum. Her perfumes alone have grossed well in excess of three billion dollars.
This is is a surprisingly human portrait and will likely entertain and enlighten both her die-hard fans and most skeptical detractors.
Directed by: Alexandra Dean