WATCHING a preview of the new, warts-and-all documentary on Paris Hilton, I was struck by how utterly joyless her life appears to be.
The 39-year-old is whisked round the world to make soulless appearances, flogging her perfume to besotted and slightly hysterical fans, but only ever sees the inside of hotel rooms and spends most of the time complaining she’s exhausted.
What’s also immediately apparent is that the whole dumb blonde act is an utter sham, as the real Paris is as sharp as a razor blade.
She affected the persona of a squeaky-voiced, spoiled Beverly Hills brat in order to make bucketloads of cash and has been playing the paparazzi and gossip columnists like a fiddle for decades.
I salute her for that.
Her normal speaking voice is a much lower-pitched, pan-American drawl and she’s happier wearing no make-up and lounging in front of the TV in sweatpants and T-shirt.
She was supposed to appear on my show this week but backed out at the last minute, as she felt unwell.
Perhaps the enormity of pulling back the curtain and revealing the “real” Paris proved too much.
She is from an extremely privileged background, as part of the Hilton hotel family, but rebelled against her straight-laced mum and dad and, at 15 years old, obtained a fake ID and hit the New York nightspots.
Paris has created a monster and has to keep compounding the myth to ensure cash keeps flowing in.
As punishment, she was sent off to an extremely strict boarding school in Utah, where she claims to have been physically abused.
One of the most moving parts of the documentary is when she meets up with former pupils she befriended there, and they relive their experiences.
Paris is convinced her treatment at the school made her blunder into a string of bad relationships, and led to the 2003 infamous sex tape which was filmed by her then boyfriend, when she was just 18 years old, and leaked on to the internet.
It made her world-famous, but at a price. She was openly mocked and derided and became the butt of jokes from late-night talk-show hosts.
Paris says she was coerced into making the tape and was then devastated when it was released into the public domain.
I honestly think, if something similar were to happen today, our sympathies would be with the naive 18-year-old who was clearly being exploited, rather than the shaming and name-calling Paris endured.
She saw herself portrayed as a dimbo bimbo — but as a fiercely ambitious and canny young woman, she realised she could make the most of her notoriety, and a fortune from being famous for simply being famous.
Paris was the first big star of reality TV, and the first social-media influencer, but was also the punchline to some pretty cruel humour.
It’s interesting that, during the documentary, the director has to remind her not to turn into the Paris Hilton “cartoon” because, every time she sees a camera, she reverts to hair-tossing and speaking in that baby voice.
It’s fascinating to see the real Paris peeking out from behind her assisted blonde hairdo — and she’s very good company.
We also discover that she’s responsible for the whole Kardashian phenomenon. Kim Kardashian was one of her hangers-on and watched her far-more-famous friend achieve fame through reality shows.
This week, they may have announced the cancellation of Keeping Up With The Kardashians but they will surely all pop up again in spin-offs, just like whack-a-moles.
Paris was the first reality star to amass a fortune, never wears the same outfit twice and has a whole massive wardrobe just for her designer sunglasses — but I ended up feeling really sorry for her.
She’s permanently knackered and has the habit of picking men who either follow her around like obedient pet poodles or pick petulant fights with her just before she has to go on stage and do her act.
When she’s in that Paris zone, she looks dead behind the eyes.
But to her credit, she is always totally professional, with flawless make-up, dressed up to the nines and giving all of her delirious fans a selfie — this was obviously filmed pre-Covid.
Compare that brittle Paris to the fresh-faced young woman in jogging bottoms and T-shirt just pottering about the house with her dogs, and you wonder why she bothers.
She has amassed a fortune but says she will only be happy when she has made a billion dollars.
I don’t believe her. Money alone doesn’t make you happy, it just means that you can be miserable in comfort.
I do hope this documentary helps Paris fight her demons and I’d love to see her genuinely content with her life.
For burger or worse
I HAVE to give Lily Allen ten out of ten for bravery after she was spotted tucking into a big, fat, juicy takeaway burger to celebrate her wedding.
She was wearing the most beautiful pure-white, Sixties-style wedding dress.
Yet Lily still attacked the overflowing quarter-pounder with gusto, even though the mustard, ketchup, onions and lettuce could have ended up all down her front.
Big congrats to the pristine new Mrs Harbour, who married actor David Harbour from Stranger Things in a Las Vegas ceremony hosted by an Elvis impersonator.
It looked utterly joyous.
Keeley’s biggest role yet
I’VE been watching old episodes of the astoundingly brilliant Line Of Duty . . . and even when you know what’s going to happen, it’s as heartstoppingly tense as the first time around.
Writer Jed Mercurio is a man at the top of his craft.
Series two and three, starring Keeley Hawes as DI Lindsay Denton, were about as perfect as you could ever hope to see on your telly – and were career-changing for Keeley, who went on to star in Bodyguard and The Durrells.
This autumn will see her in perhaps her most demanding role to date.
Thanks to this remarkable police officer, the five killers of 20-year-old Londoner Banaz Mahmod in 2006 were brought to justice.
Shockingly, her father and brother were responsible for her death, along with three other men in a so-called honour killing.
CALL IT WHAT IT IS
All Banaz did was flee an abusive, arranged marriage and fall in love with another man. It’s a tragic story that goes to a very dark place.
So it is admirable that Keeley, who is also an executive producer on the drama, has shone a much-needed light on an appalling crime.
We should also stop using the word “honour” in this context and call it what it is: Cold-blooded murder.
You can’t be everyone’s mate, Boris
WHAT a contrast between Boris Johnson’s shambling performance at the Downing Street briefing this week and Nicola Sturgeon’s crisp, clear daily address to Scotland.
Boris looks like a man desperately trying not to be throttled by one of his own convoluted and pompous sentences, unwilling to deliver bad news because he wants to be everyone’s mate.
His declarations about mass coronavirus testing giving results within minutes have made senior advisers and health officials wince.
It was bad enough calling the scheme Operation Moonshot, as though we are in a James Bond film.
The truth is we don’t yet have the technology or the capacity for tests on such a grand scale and it’s disingenuous, at the very least, to claim otherwise.
There’s simply no point in the Prime Minister making rash promises like this if they cannot be backed up.
Nicola, meanwhile, delivers nasty medicine with the brisk efficiency of Mary Poppins – without even a spoonful of sugar to help it go down.
But at least everyone in Scotland knows where they stand.
Perfect ten for John D
I AM still trying to make sense of Tenet, the new time-travelling thriller that has singlehandedly saved Hollywood, with moviegoers returning for second and even third viewings to get their head round the complex storyline.
When I spoke this week to the film’s star John David Washington, who has the task of saving the world, he said you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.
I’m a huge admirer of this extremely likeable former gridiron player turned actor, who has paddled his own canoe and never traded on the fact his dad is the Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington.
John David auditioned for roles without casting directors or producers knowing his background – and won those roles on merit.
His big breakthrough was BlacKkKlansman but Tenet will propel him into the A-list.
Maybe one day Denzel will find himself referred to as superstar John David’s dad.
Time’s up, Geoff
FINALLY Corrie’s evil Geoff Metcalfe has been handed over to the police after his nice-but-dim son Tim realised the hideous truth about this manipulative abuser.
It has been a long time coming for Geoff, played perfectly by Ian Bartholomew, in the kind of slow-burn storyline Coronation Street does so well.
We are back to six episodes of Corrie a week from Monday.
Here’s hoping that for once the Street won’t reflect real life and this horrible character will be banged up for a very long time.
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