Paris Hilton Turned Partying Into A Serious Career
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Before Kim Kardashian was so much as a burst blood vessel in Kris Humphries' eye, Paris Hilton was the person everyone hated for being rich and famous for absolutely no reason. Well, those days are over: Paris Hilton's family money is gone. Her asshole grandfather went and gave it all away to charity, leaving Paris with only $5 million, which isn't even enough to buy Jean-Claude Van Damme's house. This is usually the setup for a whimsical romantic comedy in which the formerly stuck-up heroine learns that money can't buy everything, but you'll be happy to know that Paris doesn't need to learn that particular lesson, and probably never will. While we were all asking, "Why is she even famous?" oblivious to the irony of the fact that we were answering our own question, Paris was outfoxing all of us.
What appeared to us to be a simple case of spoiled rich kids doing what spoiled rich kids do was actually a carefully crafted marketing campaign. The only reason we didn't recognize it was because Paris wasn't selling anything we recognized as a product -- she was selling herself. Every time she showed up on the red carpet, got photographed at parties, or opened her stupid, stupid mouth, she was, quite simply, creating a brand, the same way Coca-Cola or, say, Hilton Hotels does.
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images"Buy my me! Buy my me! Buy my me!"
And now, that brand is worth billions. All she has to do is put her name on a product, and the next morning she finds a shiny new beachfront property under her pillow. Her perfume alone has done over $1.8 billion in sales, and she owns 60 retail stores that sell only her products. To hear her talk about it these days, she sounds more Warren Buffett than Jessica Simpson: "I always wake early to deal with transatlantic business calls, then there are meet-and-greets. Sometimes there are face-to-face business meetings where I'll discuss the progress of certain products. Sometimes there are photoshoots or interviews. If I'm DJing, I'll do soundchecks before a gig. It's a rigorous schedule, but I'm a hard worker. My social channels also take work; they're very considered."
Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images It's worth it to hear the crowd go crazy after she unleashes her patented "Volume Up" maneuver.