Paris Hilton in Dubai on Manny Pacquiao's wife and her BFFs
Given that it’s been almost two years since Paris Hilton first found her Dubai best friend, you would have thought she’d have been over to visit more often.
But no, this week saw the first return from the model/actress/singer/brand/business woman/fashion designer/author/philanthropist/empire (her words) since 2009’s filming of the reality programme Paris Hilton’s Dubai BFF (which, of course, as you know, stands for Best Friend Forever).
Now, leaving all concern for the literal meanings of ‘best’ and ‘forever’ firmly at the door, Hilton has managed to accumulate four BFFs over the past few years through such shows. Finding a best mate through a television series might seem a bizarre method to make friends, but this is Paris Hilton and – as many stars have previously claimed – fame can be a somewhat lonely business. The Dubai show, which is finally now airing on MTV, saw 23 girls battle to become Paris’ regional right-hand woman and not receive the dreaded TTYN (Talk To You Never), Paris’ very own version of ‘You’re Fired’ (although fortunately without Trump’s chubby finger). But what exactly does being a Hilton BFF entail?
“Oh, you know, just BBM, texts, calls and when I come over here I’ll visit her,” she smiles. “We’re planning a trip where she’s going to come and see me in LA.” Paris also says it’s “probable” that her BFFs will all be brought together, letting imaginations run wild about the prospect of an explosive superlative showdown, something which would no doubt be filmed for our viewing pleasure (because that’s what best friends are for). Thankfully, it seems even Paris is realising the extent to which you can stretch the dictionary. While she admits that other countries across the world have asked her to film similar shows,she says perhaps it’s time to call it a day. “I’ve really enjoyed doing it, but I have enough BFFs,” she giggles.
Despite this, it seems Paris has perhaps found room for another buddy, this time in the shape of Manny Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee, who she befriended after Manny’s recent fight in Vegas. “I’m going to the Philippines soon, I’ve got a huge deal to open three new Paris Hilton stores there.”
Speaking to Paris is a bizarre experience. No conversation before has come with such a sizeable amount of preconceived luggage gathered from years of celebrity-obsessed magazines and TV shows, all stuff I knew I shouldn’t have been paying attention to, but I was tired and my copy of War and Peace was upstairs.
Despite everything I might have heard about her, she’s unassailably nice, smiles sweetly and looks me in the eye when she’s talking. But given that we’ve got a video camera pointed at her as well, I can’t help but feel it’s all part of the show. It’s a little like talking to a press release. Her answers are clear and concise, but steer so far from anything even approaching an edge of controversy they sound as if they’ve been flattened with a carefully rehearsed PR steamroller first. It’s almost as if she’s done it before. Which, of course, she has. Several bazillion times. Even when a phone accidentally goes off mid-question and we’re forced to film it again for the camera, she repeats herself verbatim, even keeping the tone the same and chuckling at the right spot (at the bit where she tells me she’d perhaps like one day to be ‘President Paris’).
But then, at the same time, she’s hard to criticise to any sizeable degree. She is exactly what she says she is, a brand, much like Nike, Starbucks and Crest Toothpaste. She’s a brand with 30 stores, 17 product lines and 12 (12!) fragrances. She even speaks in slogans. What was ‘That’s Hot’ (a phrase she famously trademarked in 2007), has now become ‘That’s Huge’, which she utters at regular intervals. Apparently, she’s already copyrighted ‘That’s Huge’. What’s next? That’s Massive? That’s Colossal? That’s Behemothic? Get in there quick guys, Paris is buying up the lot.
“Creating the brand has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,” she says when I ask whether she’s tired of having her every move critiqued, making my own childish dreams of flying Superman-like over my school playground seem somewhat lacklustre by comparison. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, it’s part of my life.”
And this life of pap-happy tabloid-fodderdom seems destined to continue for some time. While Paris may have put her BFF collection on the back-burner, her next show will see the cameras follow her every move in The World According To Paris. Whereas other such fly-on-the-wall reality shows have resulted in relationship meltdowns and infighting, it’s likely Paris will emerge from this unscathed, smiling and probably with a few more fragrances to launch.
If only she had been less polite and friendly, it would be easier to be more scathing. But good luck to her.