Paris Hilton loves the character of "Paris Hilton" just as much as you do. Via her 2003 reality show The Simple Life, Hilton became a pop culture icon — she effectively built the "hot blonde" archetype that we know today: carefree, unapologetic, and perpetually wearing sunglasses. In 2017, with Tumblr and Twitter perpetuating various memes from the show, that character is more popular than ever. When was the last time you sent a GIF of Paris Hilton over text? (For me, it was Monday of this week.) Hilton sends those GIFs, too. Oh, and she's a big fan of her own memes.
You might argue that this makes Hilton the queen of reality TV — her show, which she describes as "before its time," seemingly introduced a new generation of semi-scripted reality shows. She was, after all, the first to capitalize on publicity by making appearances at clubs and parties. Today, that's a fundamental part of the "Instagram influencer" lifestyle."
However, Hilton, 36, couldn't be described as just a "reality star" today. She heralds herself as a businesswoman and a DJ, and she continues to release new music. In 2015, she earned the "Best Female DJ of The Year" award at the NRJ Awards in France. For the past five years, she's hosted a weekly party at the club Amnesia — "the biggest, most legendary club in Ibiza, if not the world," in her words — and is about to launch her 22nd fragrance, called Rose Rush. Refinery29 spoke to Hilton about the DJ life, the appeal of foam, and, most importantly, her new music.
Refinery29: So, what exactly is Foam & Diamonds?
Paris Hilton: "It's my party I've been doing — I have a DJ residency [in Ibiza]. And it's at Amnesia, which is the biggest, most legendary club in Ibiza, if not the world, and it's basically this really amazing energy — the crowd is insane. I DJ for a couple of hours and do a foam party."
You've been doing it for so long! Why do you keep coming back?
"I've been deejaying for 8 years and [in Ibiza] for 5 years. I love it, especially [in Ibiza], because I love the energy of the people. It's so much fun to be up there, seeing everybody have so much fun. It's an amazingly lucrative business. I really like to optimize my time as a business woman, so when I'm having to travel for 15 hours or more, I like to make sure it's not just for a meeting. I have my team book me whatever is the best club or music festival or private party or whatever's happening so I could make the most out of my time."
How did you get your start deejaying?`
"I got started deejaying through my friend DJ AM many many years ago. Just for fun, we would do it at house parties. I was the first one who started doing the whole 'celebrity appearances at clubs' thing. And then, from there, I started seeing that it was more about the DJ, so I really studied, and hired the best people in the business to learn the craft. After doing my first show, I really got into it and started doing bookings all around the world."
So you've trained pretty extensively — what exactly does that training entail?
"It's actually very technical. It's not just something where you put in a song. You need to know the system. When you look at it, it's just this giant board, there's so many different buttons, and knobs, and filters. It's really about learning the art of DJing. There are some other DJs who just play from a computer, but I play from the most advanced systems that are out there. It does take a lot of training to actually learn these systems."
This week, you teased a new song — "Summer Reign" — on your Twitter. Why the new release?
"Well I released my last single last summer — 'High Off My Love' — and the summer before that I had 'Come Alive.' Every summer, I love being in Ibiza and using it as a showcase. I'd been writing these songs for the past year, and I thought 'Summer Reign' was the perfect title for it. We're doing a lot of versions — a tropical version, a house version, a dance version. A lot of my friends are remixing it. I love the words; they're really powerful. They speak about love, and summer, and my summer, and I've just never been in a better place in my life. I'm just really happy and this is a really happy, uplifting club anthem. "
Are you aware of how much people love "Stars Are Blind"? It's really very beloved.
"Yeah! I love social media because I love staying in contact with my fans, and just reading everything they say. I can't believe we just had the 11-year anniversary of "Stars Are Blind," that's crazy to me how much time flies. The song is so timeless — everybody says it's iconic, and I feel like it's just one of those summer songs that will be around forever. It makes me so proud. I've been searching on YouTube — there's all these different remixes of it. Actually, we're working on the new 2017 remix of "Stars Are Blind" to drop this summer in Ibiza."
Do you play "Stars Are Blind" in your sets?
"Yes. Every show, I open with whatever my new single is. Right now, I've been opening with 'Summer Reign.' And then every show I close with 'Stars Are Blind.' I always just get up on the DJ booth, and I sing it to the crowd. And the whole crowd knows the words — it's a really incredible feeling. Just, looking at everybody singing the words and screaming. I love it."
You're also coming out with a new fragrance! Rose Rush. In honor of it, what do you think fragrance should do for someone?
"I think perfume is one of the best accessories. It's something people remember you by. When I meet somebody and I smell their perfume, it's something I'll always remember. It's the first impression you get on somebody."
"I love [the bottle], too — I always make really beautiful bottles because I love bringing them out with me. It's like a really beautiful accessory to bring out and spray on my friends."
How would you describe the smell of Rose Rush?
It's fresh and rose and sexy. And beautiful.
It recently came to light that you share memes of yourself on Instagram. Do you have a favourite meme of yourself?
"Ugh, there are so many. I like all The Simple Life ones. There are so many funny ones from The Simple Life. I can't remember which ones exactly, but there's a lot of them. I just think The Simple Life is so iconic and fun. [It was] before its time. I loved it. Even the kids today are still enjoying the show, and making all these funny memes from it."
Do you have a favourite episode?
"Actually, my boyfriend [Chris Zylka] and I watch it all the time, so there are a lot of really funny ones that I remember. I think one of the most funny ones was when Nicole and I worked at Sonic. We were just dressed up on those big milkshake outfits, and we were running around and causing trouble. We always had so much fun on that show. [Nicole Richie] so funny."
In 2016, there are a ton of reboots. Would you ever do a Simple Life reboot?
"They've been talking to me about it and asking me for a while. I've just been so busy with everything else going on. Reality TV is not really a priority for me; I get offered every single day from different networks and producers coming up with ideas. I just don't think anything has been innovative or exciting to me. So, I'd rather focus on my business. I feel like that show was just everything. So, it would be really hard to recreate that."
Do you watch any current reality shows?
"I actually don't watch that much television because I am constantly traveling. The only shows I watch are my boyfriend's show — The Leftovers on HBO."
What did you think of the last season? It was crazy.
"Yeah, Damon is a genius. I was obsessed with Lost. He really knows how to just make your mind spin. And it was epic, and I loved it."
It's been 10 years since the series finale of The Simple Life. In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?
"No, not really. I'm very proud of the show. I think the one thing about it is that people think because of the character I played — people assume before they meet me that I'm a really ditzy dumb blonde. That's the one thing that kind of annoys me sometimes. They just think because of the reality show that's who I really am. But that was just a character that I created. I didn't realise what a huge success [it would be] — that I would have to continue playing this character for five years. With everything that's happening, though, with my business, I think people can understand that you couldn't possibly get this far being a dumb blonde."
Would you ever do your own line of emojis?
"They've actually approached me for years now to do it, but again I've been so busy with other projects, and every time they send me the emojis I'm not happy with them. So, it's just been a process — me getting different artists, and then not liking what they're doing. But eventually I will, once I find the perfect artist."
Help me out. What's the appeal of foam?
"It's just — there's nothing like it! It's so much fun, especially after you've been dancing after six hours. It just feels amazing. It's fluffy and you dance in it. It's just so crazy and so different. Because — obviously — what kind of party can you go to where there's foam? So that's why I came up with the name "Foam & Diamonds" because I thought it worked well together. Basically, when you dance, you just feel like you're dancing in heaven or something. I can't really describe it."
Lastly, do you ever send GIFs of yourself saying "that's hot" to your friends?
That makes me so delighted.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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