Paris Hilton Paved the Way for Other Socialites Today: A Look Back at Her Rise to Fame

She’s got star power. Paris Hilton was first introduced to fans as a hotel heiress and socialite, but she’s managed to turn her fame into an empire that she’s continued to expand over the years. The media personality became even more popular with her show The Simple Life, which premiered in 2003 and documented her wild and fun-filled escapades with BFF Nicole Richie as they “moved in with a farm family for five weeks to experience life as they have never known it.”

The series was a big success, and it went on for five seasons in total. However, just weeks before her big TV debut, her infamous sex tape was leaked to the public, and she feared it would be the end of her career.

Hilton later addressed how much the incident impacted her and made her feel violated. “It felt like I’d lost part of my soul and been talked about in such cruel and mean ways,” she said in a documentary titled The American Meme.

“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.”

By working toward her goals, the former model was able to redefine herself and she proved that incident wasn’t going to prevent her from becoming the woman she wanted to be. Hilton turned her name and likeness into a successful fashion, accessories and fragrance line. And she didn’t stop there.

The star showed off her acting skills in the film House of Wax, which earned her a Teen Choice Award for her performance, and her first book, Confessions of An Heiress, even scored a spot on the New York Times best-seller list.

Furthermore, Hilton has openly discussed how she “loves changing people’s minds” about her music. The business mogul previously announced she was extending her run as Ibiza’s sole American female DJ with a residency.

Hilton continues to secure disc jockey gigs, having recently shared her excitement about hitting the turntables for a major event. “This year I DJ-ed at not only one, but two Epic #SuperbowlLIV parties and had so much fun,” she wrote.

While Hilton has used her star power to help skyrocket her career in other fields, she is also using her status to help raise awareness for important causes.

In her documentary, This Is Paris, the activist revealed she was “tortured” while away at boarding school as a child. “I want these places shut down,” she said in a video clip. “I want them to be held accountable. And I want to be a voice for children and now adults everywhere who have had similar experiences. I want it to stop for good and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see Paris Hilton’s rise to fame!

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