The World Has Changed, Paris Hilton Has Not

There is something oddly comforting, in the midst of the chaotic cultural turmoil and turnover that’s defined this decade, that Paris Hilton hasn’t changed. Her life is still defined by jet-setting between luxury hotels and flashy night clubs; by long platinum blonde hair and a singsong voice; by a Beverly Hills mansion decked out in pink frills, Pomeranians and massive portraits of her own face.

As everyone’s favorite decade rears its bedazzled head in the form of Juicy Couture tracksuits and tiaras, people are checking back in on Paris. I suppose it only makes sense, as our nostalgia creeps out of the ’90s and into the aughts, that it would extend to the decade’s favorite It Girl. She’s the perfect canvas upon which to vomit our sentimentality: present-day Paris is a living and breathing vestige of the the exact woman the world was fascinated by 15 years ago. She’s still calling herself a socialite and saying, “That’s hot.” She still embodies a frivolous energy. She’s still so unserious.

via W

“Paris Hilton Invented Everything You’re Doing in 2017, and She Knows It,” was the headline of her profile in W Magazinepublished this morning. In it, Paris discusses how she pioneered the modern selfie and is flattered when new trends nod at her 2000s style. “To now see things on the runway, and to see girls wearing things that I used to wear is really cool because nobody really dressed like me back in the day,” she tells W. When Kendall Jenner recreated her 21st birthday look on her own 21st birthday, Paris thought it was “the ultimate compliment.”

Paris never really went away. Over the past two decades, she’s built a business empire worth billions (with a $5 million inheritance), has become a million-dollar-a-night DJ and has been posting things like this to her 6.9 million followers to high praise:

Barbie is my #SpiritAnimal ✨💖👱🏼‍♀️💖✨

A post shared by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on

It’s more that she hasn’t been treated like a pop culture icon in a while. Her brand feels vintage next to those of Kylie Jenner and Beyoncé, for instance, who set trends with a single Instagram and can’t tweet without making headlines. But could Paris Hilton be making a comeback? It’s an interesting question namely because the people we choose to celebrate, like it or not, reflect society’s values.

thinks maybe: “[B]eyond the surface level,” W writes, “she also possessed an authentic attitude that was unapologetic about being privileged, feminine, and sexual. She seemed to truly enjoy being herself to the fullest, and in 2017’s highly-curated, filtered world, the candor of that former ‘hot mess’ is, surprisingly, refreshing.”

Paris may be unapologetic, but engaging with her and her world feels like taking a break from reality. Delightful in small doses, like a handful of Skittles. It’s hard to imagine such a brand having staying power in 2017, though. We’re a generation enamored with authenticity and relatability and progressive ideals. Paris, on the other hand, is a superrich caricature of herself, with a documented past of extremely problematic comments and nary a memorable platform, wandering around her sprawling property and laughing to reporters saying, “This is like, everyday.”

She flaunts how far-removed she is, something we expect modern day personalities to avoid like the plague. Her W profile didn’t make me dislike her, necessarily, but it’s a trope with no weight to make it stick. We ask more of our celebrities in 2017. I wonder if she’s up to the task.

We won’t blame you, Paris, if you’d rather pad around your pink mansion in private. It might even be for the best.

Photo by Frazer Harrison via Getty Images.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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