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‘This Is Paris’ Explained: Wait, What Happened To Paris Hilton?

The Today Show Paris Hilton Nicky Hilton Rothschild NBC
Image by Nathan Congleton / NBC

A lot of the new YouTube doc “This Is Paris” focuses on Paris Hilton’s highly teased past, which weaves through the movie’s narrative like its life’s blood. It is inextricably linked. So, what happened to Paris Hilton? In the doc, Hilton tells the audience about a reoccurring nightmare that is so traumatizing that she is afraid to sleep.

Patient “This Is Paris” viewers eventually learn the origins behind Paris Hilton’s haunted dreams. They are rooted in her parents’ attempt to keep a 15-year-old Paris out of adult clubs (think “White Lines”). The controversy is in how her parents attempted to steer Paris’s path. Imagine the early 2000s series “Higher Ground,” starring Joe Lando.

The treatment that Paris Hilton and her fellow students’ describe receiving was unethical and abusive. As she explains in “This Is Paris,” when she was 15, Hilton’s parents were desperate to keep their daughter from what they rightly believed was the imminent danger of the nightclub scene. A world that Hilton insisted on inhabiting as an underaged teen.

During “This Is Paris,” Nicky Hilton Rothchild (Paris’ younger sister by 2 years) states, “My mother would be up all night calling every nightclub, threatening them.” Viewers are not told why the parents did not choose to turn in the clubs that allowed their underaged daughter to enter. Without an answer, there are hints it was to keep the publicity down. Viewers may think differently.

What Happened To Paris Hilton


In a severe twist, Paris Hilton was “kidnapped” from her bedroom by correctional school staff while her tearful parents refused to intercede as their terrified daughter screamed for help. At one school, Hilton was beaten for trying to escape, and it got worse. There were more stints at other “boarding schools.” All of which failed to keep the teenaged Hilton in their grasp.

That is until she reached Provo, Utah. There, Paris Hilton would be forced into solitary confinement, beaten, yelled at, and berated. Other survivors shared troubling testimony about abuses of all natures. It is a harrowing thing to survive, and “This Is Paris” shows a woman highly dedicated to working as hard as possible to escape facing its full personal devastation -- until now.

My Thoughts


Let it be said, there is no excuse for those who tormented Paris Hilton and her fellow students, both past and present. However, the situation was not entirely black-and-white for the Hilton family before they made their undoubtedly difficult decision. Paris Hilton’s behavior was troubling. As everyone knows, before a person is 18, they are not a legal adult. A parent has jurisdiction over their child, and I believe that should be respected.

A teenager does not have the right to skip school to stay up all night partying in an alcohol/drug-fueled scene. Not to mention other troubling aspects it harbors. Sexual exploitation is real, and Paris Hilton was in genuine danger that she was not entirely capable of recognizing as a teen. Full brain maturation does not occur until 25, per NPR, and at almost 40, Hilton should have a clearer interpretation of her past.

How Paris Hilton Feels Now


That said, after watching “This Is Paris,” YouTube suggested Paris Hilton’s interview on Drew Barrymore’s new talk show. So, I clicked on it and watched. In it, Hilton claims she did nothing to deserve her parents’ desperate attempt to seek treatment for her rebellious behavior. Yes, really. It is worth watching in its entirety so, please do:



The Hilton parents chose the wrong means to correct their daughter and her path to their obvious horror. For Paris Hilton to say that her behavior as a teen did not merit a parental intervention, I find distressing. A 15-year-old dancing around in clubs is not acceptable. Nor should a child be the one to decide if that is okay.

A loving parent has every right to guide their child into adulthood (see: “Endless Love”) as long as their motives are not harmful. Guiding the growth of a child requires discipline, not overcorrection. This is a delicate skill, similar to driving a car. The steering wheel must be in the hands of a capable adult who can safely recover when the tires go off the road without wiping out.

In Summation


Is there something wrong with wanting to keep your kid out of a night club? No. Plus, what kind of club lets a teen in where there could be underage drinking? Exactly. If Paris Hilton wants to do those things now as an adult, by all means. That is her right. She is an adult now. Back then, no way.

Paris Hilton’s justifiably concerned parents were also within their rights to want to protect her from growing up too fast in a world where there truly is no going back to regain a lost childhood. Paris still had more life to live as a kid, even if she may not have thought so. Sadly, those they entrusted with helping her extend her childhood, only furthered its end.

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