Say what you will about Paris Hilton, but the girl is ... successful. According to a new feature in the May issue of Esquire, the hotel heiress rakes in around $10 million a year thanks to the personal appearances she makes, her many licensing deals, and other business ventures. Essentially, she's a brand.
The "My New BFF" star has nine fragrances (she's launching a 10th one this year), 19 product lines worldwide, which include everything from handbags to hair extensions, is working on a second album, and even has another TV show in the works. Of course, Paris, 29, probably wouldn't be where she is today had she not been born into the high-profile Hilton family, but she is a hustler. As a result, she's got a beautiful mini-mansion (adorned with many photos of herself) in Hollywood, two brightly-colored Bentleys, and a menagerie of pets including a Siamese cat named Princess Annabelle, five dogs, an African gray parrot (which her ex-boyfriend Doug Reinhardt named Hank), and a miniature pig she calls Princess Pigelette.
"My house is kind of like a reflection of my life and my accomplishments and what I've done," says Paris in Esquire's May issue. "And I've done it all on my own. When my parents and my grandfather came over for the first time, I was so proud. It just feels good to, like, walk around and be like, I earned all this, you know? I see some of my friends I grew up with from rich families. Their parents spoiled them, and they never made them work and just give them an allowance. And now they're like 30 and still living off the parents, having to ask for everything, being on a budget. It's nice to feel accomplished and independent. I don't have to depend on anyone but myself."
Paris grew up not too far away in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Bel Air, where she claims she was extremely sheltered. "My parents were so strict," she reveals. "I wasn't allowed to go on a date, I wasn't allowed to wear makeup. They were really, really strict. When you're living in Bel Air in a house, you have no car, you're a teenager, you can't do anything. There's nowhere to walk. I was literally, like, stuck." Until she turned 15 and her family moved to NYC, which is where she secretly accepted Donald Trump's offer to join the Trump Modeling Agency without her parents' permission. Suddenly, "my sister [Nicky] and I started getting invited to all these parties and all these socialite events, and we became, like, the Hilton Sisters, and everyone started photographing us." In turn, a star was born.
Today, Paris has sort of become a modern-day version of her idol, Marilyn Monroe. And just as Marilyn had a dumb blonde reputation, so does Paris, who insists she only uses her baby voice when she's nervous. When she signed up to appear in "The Simple Life," she recalls the producers specifically giving her these directions: "Paris, be the dumbest you can be. Just be a dumb, ditzy blonde -- like 'Legally Blonde' meets 'Green Acres' meets 'Clueless.'" (Apparently, Nicole Richie -- who Paris says she is friends with again -- was instructed to be "the mean one.") Turns out, playing stupid has served Hilton very well.
To read the complete interview with Paris, pick up the May issue of Esquire.
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