Paris Hilton Says She Was Playing a 'Character' on The Simple Life: 'I Knew What I Was Doing'
Paris Hilton is opening up a side of herself that the world has never seen before.
The DJ spoke about the misconceptions of her life during a TV Critics Association press tour event on Saturday. While promoting her new YouTube documentary series, This Is Paris, Hilton revealed that she was actually playing a “character” on her breakout reality show, The Simple Life.
“I knew what I was doing but the whole world didn’t, so it was kind of frustrating to me to be perceived in that way because it’s not who I am at all,” she told PEOPLE at event. “But it was such an amazing and entertaining show that I would just think of it as entertainment.”
Hilton said though the “mean” jokes made at her expense did affect her in ways, she “can completely understand” why they were made looking back.
“Obviously, I’ve grown as a person,” she said. “I’m an adult now, but just to be judged and have so many misconceptions based on a character that I had invented myself was frustrating.”
“At the same time, I built a huge brand off doing it,” she continued. “So, I don’t really regret it and I’m happy that people are going to finally see this film.”
Hilton starred in The Simple Life from 2003 to 2005 alongside Nicole Richie. The show followed the pair on their escapades in small and rural towns and later, corporate America.
While onstage, Hilton also talked about The Simple of Life, telling the audience: “I was having fun with it. I think, you know, I was in on the joke. People thought that’s who I really was, so sometimes it is annoying that people assume that I am kind of that, you know, blonde airhead that I was playing on the show. But I love, also, proving people wrong and any time they meet me in real life they’re always very surprised. So, it makes me happy to know that I created something that basically started an entire new generation of people.”
Meanwhile, the star spoke about finding her true self during the production of This Is Paris, which will also shed light on the heiress’ personal life as well as reveal an untold story about a past trauma.
“During this film, I have discovered so much about myself that I did not even know. It was almost like a therapeutic experience,” she shared. “My old persona, that was who I was before when I started my brand. But now, I want to show the true boss babe that I am.”
Executive producer Aaron Saidman also said, “The early persona of Paris Hilton that we all grew up with was sort of the original impetus for why we wanted to make this documentary, because I thought I knew Paris Hilton as well just like much of the public.”
Saidman then admitted, “I came to discover that I was wrong and that wasn’t really the image of her. I was reading old press articles about Paris and one of the interesting insights in all the press and all of the conversations that we’ve been having about the Hilton family for the last 20-some years is that we’ve been having this conversation with each other. We haven’t really heard the sort of authentic inner truth from Paris herself. And if we did, it was that persona that you were referring to. So, that was why we wanted to hear what she was really like and what she was really going through.”
For Hilton, that meant leaving nothing off-limits and giving This Is Paris director Alexandra Dean complete control. She also shared it was “definitely” difficult to get to a point to “speak about subjects that have never ever been publicly discussed.”
“When I first got approached about doing this documentary by Aaron, I was very reluctant to do it. And I didn’t really want to take the meeting, because I wasn’t ready to really show myself. So it was something very hard, because in this film I really show who I truly am,” she said. “I’ve been playing this character for so long. And now, even during this film, I really discovered a lot about myself and who I really am, and I wanted the world to see that there are a lot of misconceptions. And I’ve been judged based on a character that I created in the beginning of my career. And now I feel like it’s finally time that people see who the real Paris is.”
This Is Paris is set to premiere on YouTube in May.