Paris Paris! Hilton Hilton! Meme Maker! 11:11
Paris Hilton and Liz Taylor are in the same family tree. Surely Liz had a powerful influence on how she employs several medias to keep her brand visible. This is as much as I am going to say – for now!
Throughout the heiress’ life, she’s attracted the world to monitor her every move — her platinum blonde hair flips, her hot pink velour sweatsuits, her famous fleet of chihuahuas — and yet, Hilton didn’t do anything to deserve this attention beyond simply being herself. Now, Hilton’s invention has multiplied by the millions across the Internet. Everyone’s taking selfies and flaunting their lives to an online audience that obsessively follows, likes, and shares.
But Hilton did it first — she’s the ultimate OG.
Director Bert Marcus has recognized Hilton’s novelty, and created an entire feature documentary on her impact. The American Meme, which opens tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival, sheds light on how “social media is pervading every inch of our lives,” Marcus says, and features names like Hilton, as well as Fat Jew, Emily Ratajkowski and Brittany Furlan to prove his point.
“Paris is the OG influencer and helped write the script on how to build a brand through social media,” Marcus says. “She’s a global icon that is often misunderstood and not typically seen in such a candid, vulnerable light [as in The American Meme]. The social media moguls we herald today are literally following her lead and the tactics she invented years ago, so for me it was an intriguing centerpiece that seems necessary to anchor the film’s exploration.”
PAPER caught up with Hilton to talk about her lasting cultural impact, and the ways she navigates the complex positives and negatives of online fame.
On Twitter Wednesday, the star asked her followers for romance film recommendations, writing, “What are the best romantic movies?” Fans quickly offered up ideas ranging from Overboard (“Love this movie,” she replied, “iconic”) to The Fault in Our Stars (“I’ve watched this film 5 times. So sad and amazing!” said Hilton).
One person suggested Lady Gaga’s new movie House of Gucci, acknowledging that it’s “not romantic at all but it’s very entertaining.” Hilton responded that she’s been meaning to see the film, which hit theaters last month on Thanksgiving, but has been unable because of her post-wedding travels.
Paris Hilton literally does not stop working. From The Simple Life to Netflix’s Cooking With Paris, to creating 27 fragrances and 19 product lines over the last 15 years (I’m sorry, what?!) to having a side career as one of the highest-paid female DJs in the world to her This Is Paris podcast to being an early adopter of NFTs, the world’s first influencer has had endless, wild ventures. But she’s not stopping, and now the mogul announced she’s starting her own media company: 11:11 Media. “I built a global business and brand over the last two decades” Hilton told the Wall Street Journal. “I wanted to take it to the next level and bring all my companies under one media entity.”
According to WSJ, Hilton created her new company to “cement and expand her brands,” which is incredibly vague but probably just means putting her many ventures under the same company. Though she does have some new media projects in the works: There’s going to be a Peacock reality series called Paris In Love about her engagement to venture capitalist Carter Reum, and she’s working on a new memoir that’s billed as being “both searingly honest and deeply personal.” (For all of us who may or may not have stood in line at a Barnes and Noble release of the 2004 fluff read Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose, this is major.)
We’d call it a Paris Renaissance, but she never left. The It Girl was always the world’s first influencer and while its still too early to tell the full impact she’s had on our culture, there have been some key, undeniable Paris Hilton cultural moments, including her invention of the selfie, “that’s hot,” how she made small dogs an accessory, and creating the concept of being famous for being famous.
The name 11:11 comes from Paris’ favorite time of day, and true stans will know the heiress frequently posts on Twitter at this time. (It’s not a PR gimmick: You can view all the times Paris has tweeted “11:11” here. She’s consistent.) “It’s my favorite time of day,” she told WSJ. “I love posting on Twitter at 11:11 to remind myself and my fans to ‘make a wish,’ keep taking risks and keep dreaming.”
While we couldn’t be happier for Hilton, can someone please go tell this other West Virginia “11:11 Media” they’re probably going to have to change their name?