Paris Hilton
Source: Getty Images

Paris Hilton: One of the OGs of "Famous for Being Famous"


Aug. 3 2021, Published 8:18 p.m. ET

There are tons of people who are attempting to get famous simply for fame's sake. They don't really excel at any one particular talent or vocation except selling an idea of themselves that isn't really livable in a pressurized situation, save for a certain online or media persona. And they've managed to make bank off of doing so.

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While this certainly isn't a new phenomenon, there's a certain California brand of it that a few famous women have followed, and many would argue that it was a trend kicked off by Angelyne, the original "social media influencer." She first posted billboards of herself posing suggestively against a hot pink background circa 1984, along with her phone number.

Years later, that idea was taken even further by Paris Hilton, but why is the hotel heiress famous?

Why is Paris Hilton famous?

While many people engaged in self-promotion to try and bring themselves fame between Angelyne's rise in prominence and Paris Hilton's, it's the latter's that will probably resonate with people more today by comparing her foray into stardom with another well-known American family — the Kardashians.

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Paris Hilton
Source: Getty Images

Paris Hilton is a Los Angeles socialite and member of the Hilton family, the notoriously wealthy owners of one of the world's largest hotel chains kicked off by Conrad Hilton.

Paris became famous after a sex tape leaked in 2004, reportedly by her ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, which depicted the two engaging in intercourse.

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Paris would go on to say that she felt as if her "life was over" after she became a household name over the tape's release, but she soon landed a reality TV show deal on Fox, The Simple Life. The show depicted her and Nicole Richie engaging in a variety of manual labor jobs that pay, well, usually minimum wage.

Kim Kardashian Paris Hilton Nicky Hilton
Source: Getty Images
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The two being American "royalty" of sorts, invited viewers to see "rich spoiled brats" be forced into situations that are entirely foreign to them. The show was a monstrous success, bringing in 13 million viewers in its first episode.

However, the early 2000s were a slightly different time. It was the first time that the population at large had an individual who was simply "famous for being famous" become so successful after basically becoming the victim of revenge porn.

Paris Hilton Kim Kardashian
Source: Getty Images
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Paris maintains that the release of 1 Night in Paris was released without her knowledge and against her will, which is a story that many didn't believe due to the fame and notoriety that came along with it. The heiress was also grilled on various media appearances, chief among them being an appearance on David Letterman where she appeared to be visibly uncomfortable as she was openly mocked on the show by the comedian.

Source: CBS
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The socialite commented on the 2007 interview years later, stating that she was "shaking and crying" backstage afterward, as audience members cackled at her discomfort.

The fragrance she would go on to promote netted some $2.5 billion in sales, and she now has an estimated net worth of $300 million, just by leveraging her public persona.

Kim Kardashian followed a similar rise to stardom.

The daughter of famed OJ Simpson lawyer Rob Kardashian credits her career start to Paris Hilton, plainly stating that she wouldn't be who she is today if it wasn't for the heiress taking her on as an assistant. The two had the media wrapped around their fingers, getting stories written about them whenever they wanted.

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Kim Kardashian Paris Hilton Anton Yelchin
Source: Getty Images

Kim's own sex tape, which reportedly was leaked by her own mother, came out the same year as her long-running reality series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Several years later, Kim has officially become a billionaire, leveraging a variety of different business ventures, paid endorsements, and strategically publicized relationships and gossip to keep her at the top of the headlines heap. And it's all thanks to Paris.

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