Paris Hilton’s highly-anticipated documentary This Is Paris is finally here and holy shit, I am sobbing.
The doco, which is available to watch for free on YouTube, details the countless instances of alleged abuse that forced her to create the airhead Paris Hilton character we all know and love.
I never thought I’d use the word “relatable” to describe Paris Hilton, but here we are, because if this documentary showcased anything, it’s that the story Paris tells is one that most of us can relate to in one way or another.
Before I go any further, I’m just going to come right out and say it: this is a must watch.
This isn’t one of those documentaries to add to the ever-growing list of things you’ll never actually get around to watching. This is raw, this is real and you need to watch it.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers, obviously.
She kicks off the documentary by revealing that the story she ended up telling isn’t the one she planned on sharing, but the process of filming basically helped her to come to terms with the trauma and abuse she faced as a teen.
Throughout the documentary, Paris explains how she feels like the world never really got to know the real her, but felt like they did.
“I feel like the whole world thinks they know me because I’ve been playing this character for so long,” she said. “That’s not me.”
Although we aren’t all multi-millionaire heiresses, that’s a feeling many of us can relate to in one way or another. But the relatability of the documentary doesn’t stop there.
Hilton goes on to explain how her parents always taught her to portray that everything was perfect, which left her feeling like she had to carry on the family legacy, rather than being her true self.
“My mum just wanted me to be a Hilton and I just wanted to be Paris.”
But thankfully, through interviews with Paris, and those closest to her like her sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild, the real Paris Hilton is truly revealed in the documentary.
“She’s a chick that likes to scrapbook at home with her dogs and eat leftovers,” her sister Nicky describes. “She’s very normal.”
But despite calling her incredibly normal and intelligent, Nicky also isn’t afraid to call her out in the documentary, truly showcasing a regular sister relationship that anyone with siblings can relate to. This was the first moment I sort of looked at myself and was like, “oh, Paris Hilton really isn’t *that* different to me.”
“She has so many ‘yes’ people and kiss-asses around her,” Nicky blatantly put it, a feeling that will resonate with anyone who’s ever had to be the rude awakening to someone who is surrounded by ‘yes’ people.
In a confronting scene in her daughter’s bedroom, Nicky asks Paris if she ever wants kids, prompting her to open up about her struggles in finding love and starting a family because it was difficult for her to find a partner who truly felt like her equal.
But this is where the story gets especially dark, so a warning if stories of abusive relationships may be triggering for you.
“I’m freaked out by people, especially men,” she says, segway-ing into the Paris Hilton story we all know too well: the sex tape.
At this point, we’ve already covered the situation in depth, it was only last week that I discussed how I feel like we all owe Paris Hilton an apology for the way we treated her. But even I was shocked by the words that come out of her mouth in this documentary.
“If that happened today, it would not be the same story at all. But they made *me* the bad person, like I did something bad.”
Honestly, I didn’t even remember quite how bad it was until I was forced to re-watch those brutal news clips in the documentary, with the likes of Joan Rivers basically asserting that Hilton was an embarrassment to the family for her role in the sex tape that she never consented to releasing.
Those clips become so much more haunting when you hear Paris discuss how she felt pressured into making the tape as a young girl who was just in love and would’ve done anything to make her partner happy. She explains how she was told nobody would ever see the tape, and ultimately agreed to it, only for it to become front page news just a few years later.
“It was like being electronically raped,” she brutally put it.
But Hilton blames the whole sex tape saga, and the reason she ever trusted her ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, on trauma she endured years earlier.
Although the promotion for the documentary already revealed that she had faced alleged abuse at Provo Canyon School, those interviews were really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her traumatic past.
Throughout the doco, Paris explains how she ran away from countless ’emotional growth schools’ in her troubled youth, which involved at least one official who allegedly “beat the hell out of us in front of everyone.”
You truly have to watch the documentary to understand the extent of these abuse allegations, which are not just limited to Provo Canyon School. But the real takeaway is how this trauma has impacted the person she is to this day.
I guess this is what I mean when I say that this is such a deeply relatable and confronting watch. Even if you’ve never had a sex tape leaked or been abused at boarding school, Hilton’s story still feels uncomfortably familiar, and it left me with a strange feeling of guilt for how poorly I thought of her until recently.
For decades we’ve ridiculed this woman, treating her like a piece of tabloid fodder, when she’s actually far more relatable than you’d think.
As a result of the trauma she allegedly endured, Hilton explains how she feels like she’s never been able to experience real love, have children or have those normal life experiences many of us take for granted. Her years of suffering in silence with the grim reality of her past has left her feeling numb to love and afraid to grow up, leading her into toxic relationships and situations that only seem to mask her trauma with further pain.
It’s confronting, it’ll make you cry, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll probably bring up whatever past trauma you’ve buried.
But the absolute nail in the coffin moment for me was the fact that even in filming this documentary, her pain was far from over. Throughout the doco, we’re introduced to her boyfriend Aleks (spoiler alert: he’s actually her ex-boyfriend).
As a diehard Paris Hilton fan, I obviously noticed that this isn’t her current boyfriend Carter Reum, but hoo boy, I was not prepared to watch her deal with a toxic relationship on camera.
Just minutes before her Tomorrowland DJ set that was the biggest show she’d ever played, her boyfriend at the time gets jealous, clearly feels emasculated and becomes really manipulative and borderline emotionally abusive (or at least that’s what it looked like). It’s a lot to watch.
Obviously, Hilton isn’t perfect in the situation either, but hearing the sheer emotion in her voice as she begged and pleaded with him to stop hit me like a tonne of bricks. I’m not exaggerating when I say I was sobbing watching this scene.
You’re an hour into watching this documentary about this strong woman who is ready to heal from the abuse and trauma of her past, and then it just hits you that she’s still *living* it. You just want to hug her, or yell at him, or do… something. But you’re watching through a lens and just have to sort of, let it happen while knowing just how much it would’ve destroyed her.
Thankfully, you then get to see her absolutely slay her DJ set. But it’s really confronting to watch, knowing how shit she must’ve been feeling.
Towards the end of the doco, she dives deeper into the horrific abuse she faced, explaining that FIVE of her previous relationships have ended in physical abuse, which is just *so* heartbreaking
“I wanted love so bad that I was willing to accept being hit,” she says.
It’s fucking heartbreaking. Sure, the abuse sucks, but the thing that really hit me is that even in such a moment of strength and power, you can still sorta tell that Paris feels like she *allowed* this to happen, as if it was somehow her fault that she was the victim of such horrific abuse.
The film concludes with Paris finally telling her mum the truth about her abuse at boarding school and good god, it absolutely broke me. I was a puddle of tears on the floor.
After years of low-key resenting her parents for not helping her out of these abusive situations, her mum finally hears the reality and explains how they would’ve done anything to protect her if they had known the truth. It’s this weird final moment where you just sort-of wish it was a fictional story where the protagonist wakes up and it was all a horrible dream. But it’s… not.
There’s no happy ending, you’re just left staring at your own reflection in the black end-screen, trying to process all of the raw emotion you’re dealing with.
Honestly, that sort of sums up the whole documentary for me. As someone who was absolutely complicit in the horrible way we treated Paris Hilton, it feels really confronting to have this all revealed now, knowing that you can’t go back and undo the judgement and the horrible comments that she had to endure throughout all of this.
I went into this documentary with sky-high expectations and somehow it still managed to exceed even my greatest expectations.
There’s only so much I can fit into a recap of this truly exceptional documentary, but I’ll just leave you with a nice, little TL;DR to tie it up: This Is Paris is real, it’s relatable and it’s emotionally confronting in ways I never thought possible. But it’s not something you’re going to regret watching.