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I’ll Always Have Paris: Falling in and out of obsession with all things Paris Hilton

By: Olivia Hill

“I hope you don’t look up to her,” my mother scoffed from our kitchen. I don’t remember what my hero had done now to solicit that comment, but I responded with a halfhearted “I don’t.

The truth was: I had thought Paris Hilton was a joke, as I had thought most “girly” things were at age twelve. But as soon as the rush of puberty hit, so came with it the influences of public figures and pop culture. I was a teenager growing up in Southern California, just freeways away from Hollywood, and boy, was Paris getting media attention in the early 2000’s. As a quick recap: there was the sex tape, the feud with her best friend Nicole Richie, the DUI, the county jail time, all done while recording an album and filming a few reality TV shows. I know, after that rap sheet, it seems even more asinine that I looked up to her during my formidable years.

It wasn’t that I aspired to have my own mug shot taken—but for the record, I’d hope mine would turn out more like Ms. Hilton’s than Ms. Lohan’s—but rather, it was the confidence she radiated throughout all her uppers and depressants. As an awkward teen, I wanted that cool, effortless vibe that came with a small dog in a big purse. So as a fan, I did “research” that bordered on obsession. I wanted to attain as much knowledge about her to find out if “the haterzzzz” were justified or if the socialite was a misunderstood symbol of feminism. I would analyze countless interviews to find out who she used “her baby speech” on as a ploy for media time, versus who she opened up to with her naturally low voice. I thought I could see past the well-coordinated media stunts, and saw a girl who was smart enough to plan them. I would hang onto all her business ventures and use them as proof that she really had built her own empire—not fully understanding at the time that her family name tied to old money gave her a great springboard to launch from. I also saw a girl who had said countless times that she didn’t loathe the paparazzi because she understood they were just trying to feed their families, but was upset that they showed up to snap pictures at her grandmother’s funeral. To me, she was a real human.

By the time I rounded out my teen years, my obsession had faded and The Kardashians now ruled supreme in the media world. I couldn’t understand anyone’s obsession with that family, much like how my mother would never understand my love for Paris.

My waning interest meant I hardly kept tabs on her, until April 1st of 2017.  Paris Hilton had paired with SodaStream for a viral video—this time in the prank sense rather than the other kind of video that makes you famous—and I appreciated her directed sense of humor.

After watching, I did a casual Google News Search to see what she had been up to. The search was filled with blogs saying she was in a happy relationship and actively taking up gigs as a DJ around the world. I almost closed the window completely when a click-bait-y title caught my eye: “Paris Hilton Votes For Trump.”

Here’s where the she-said, she-said gets a little blurry: some articles say she didn’t vote at all, and others say she was “supporting an old family friend.” And with out a clear consensus I was back to my old teen self, sifting through all the tabloids to find the good in my hero. But the more I searched, the worse it became: in 2016 she was quoted bashing the women who had accused Trump of assault, and in 2017 she was apologizing for such words. After all this back and forth, even the benign articles of her DJ stories had lost their pink sparkle that was once so enticing.

Maybe I was poisoned by the (probably true) rumors that she had voted for our 45th. Or maybe my frontal cortex had just grown a centimeter of maturity and wisdom since the days I had braces. Whatever it may have been, it became apparent that it was time to leave her with my imaginary friends and my “sentient” stuffed animals: in my nostalgic past.

Class of Seventy Four
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