BY Marc-Daniel Sidarous

So, I became best friend’s with Paris Hilton over the weekend. 

Well, sort of. She retweeted me and followed me on Twitter – and by the laws of the internet that makes us besties, minimum. Pics to prove it down below.

The reason I even tweeted about my future wife in the first place is because of her new documentary on YouTube, This is Paris.

It’s marketed as the most revealing look at Paris Hilton yet. If you watch the documentary, knowing nothing about the subject matter; you might think it’s an insider’s view of the party lifestyle of one of the most famous heiresses on the planet. For the first thirty seconds or so, that’s what it leads you to believe.

Until it doesn’t.

The viewer is taken to a hotel room with Paris, at about 2 or 3 in the morning. Why is she awake? In Paris’ words – the recurring nightmares keep her from sleeping.

One of the first big reveals is that Paris’ whole public persona is fake. All of it. She puts on that trademark high pitched voice, she can never go outside without sunglasses, she acts dumber than she really is – everything you thought about her is probably wrong.

It’s all an act. An act masking terrible trauma.

Yet she’s been doing it for so long, some aspects begin to blend in with her ‘authentic’ self. Her voice, for instance. She talks like a regular person – except when she’s uncomfortable and when she’s lying.

The two standout moments in the documentary where the fake Paris voice makes an appearance is when her sister asks her if making a billion dollars will make her happy (she says yes, but with the voice) and when she says I love you to her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.

You may go into this with a certain amount of scepticism. About her, about her story, whatever. You might not feel sorry for a woman that inherited millions of dollars from her grandfather (although they claim her father was excluded from his will – something I do question given the affluence on display in the snippets of home videos from Paris’ childhood years) but after watching, it’s very hard not to feel anything at all for her.

Another particularly uncomfortable moment in the film is when Paris gets to DJ at the Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium. She’s super excited and nervous at the same time. It’s the biggest gig of her DJing career. She’s been working on her set for months and literally moments before she is about to take the stage, her boyfriend (who dropped her laptop just before) becomes insanely jealous of her and brings her to tears, and then has the nerve to try and force her to kiss him and pretend nothing even happened. Rightly, she kicks him out of the festival and breaks-up with him.

That’s when the audience gets another devastating insight into Paris’ life. She has to buy a new laptop every time she ends a relationship because of the risk of an ex hacking into her computer – and by implication, extorting her. We also learn that several of those relationships have been abusive, both physically and emotionally.

Perhaps her most infamous relationship was the one that led to her sex tape. She was 20 and he was in his 40s. He pressured her into having sex on camera and used the footage to build a name for himself. Instead of that creep being shunned from society, he was making late night TV appearances while Paris was being slut shamed on the front pages.

The biggest reveal comes at the end. Paris’ overly controlling parents, when she was sixteen, sent her to Provo Canyon School in Utah. The school bills itself as a place to ‘reform troubled teens.’

It’s not a school – it’s a concentration camp. Students are regularly drugged, beaten, emotionally abused, tortured, kept in solitary confinement for 20 hours at a time. The school’s ethos is to completely break the child, so they can be rebuilt. It’s not based on anything and only results in anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, inability to make meaningful relationships, etc. All issues Paris is dealing with. I use present tense here because it’s still operating.

Everything you think you knew; everything I thought I knew about Paris Hilton, is wrong. It’s a good lesson in sympathy and empathy – not just for this one rich and famous person, but anyone in your life. You don’t know the demons they are facing. If you make assumptions about someone and they turn out to be wrong – be prepared to apologise.

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