In a new documentary, Paris Hilton opens up about her not-so-simple life.
The hotel heiress and fashion mogul are one of the much-followed subjects of The American Meme, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival late Friday night and tracks the rises (and falls) of social-media stars such as Hilton, Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky and Brittany Furlan.
Hilton, 37, is awarded the most screen time, recounting how she catapulted to fame at 19 after a risqué photo shoot for Vanity Fair with her sister, Nicky Hilton, and went on to star in reality TV show The Simple Life with Nicole Richie. But she perhaps made the most headlines in 2004 with her turn in a leaked sex tape with former boyfriend Rick Salomon, the fallout of which devastated Hilton.
“It was like being raped,” she says in the documentary. “It felt like I’d lost part of my soul and been talked about in such cruel and meaningful ways. I literally wanted to die at some points. I was like, ‘I just don’t want to live,’ because I thought everything was taken away from me. I didn’t want to be known as that.”
Hilton wanted to be a part of Meme, directed by Bert Marcus (How to Make Money Selling Drugs), so she could reveal sides of herself that may not be familiar to those outside of her 8.7 million Instagram followers.
“I felt like the world was introduced to me through The Simple Life,” Hilton said at a post-screening Q&A. “There was no reality television back then, so it was very new. There were no social media, so I basically created this character that was basically what I thought the audience wanted, like, ‘Oh, she’s rich, so she needs to be a spoiled airhead’ — basically what the producers told me to do.
“When Bert told me about this film, he basically said, ‘Paris, you’re the O.G. of all this,’ ” she continued. “I really trusted him and was very vulnerable about things I had never spoken about before, and basically just wanted to show the real me, because I don’t think I ever have before.”
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