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Confessions of an Heiress
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Chapter One: How to be an Heiress
A lot of people seem to have the wrong idea about me. In fact, pretty much everything I read about myself is totally ridiculous. Newspapers and magazines write that I'm spoiled and privileged, and that all I do is dance on tabletops and party with my friends. They think I instantly became famous because I was born into a rich, well-known family, and everything has come so easily to me. They like to think everything they read about me in the tabloids is true. Well, you can't always believe what you read, right? So I've finally decided to give you a sneak peek into my very hyped life -- so you can know the real me.
I haven't bothered to correct what's been written about me so far because, well, gossips believe whatever they want anyway. The people I care about know the real me. If I'm happy with who I am, what difference does it make?
And that's the bottom line for me. While the stuff printed about me over the last few years is amusing and makes me laugh, I've finally decided to let the world know: Okay, I get it. Everyone can have fun with my image because I like to have fun with it too. My friends know that while I like my lifestyle, I don't take it -- or my media image -- all that seriously. I do take my family seriously. I take my dog, Tinkerbell, seriously. I take my work seriously. But I don't take myself all that seriously.
Now, I have to confess to you: Despite what you've read, being a famous heiress is not that easy. It is, of course, fun and exciting, and it comes in handy for air travel. But look around you, and in the gossip columns: Not every heiress is famous. Or fun. There are a lot of boring heiresses out there. What a waste, I say! These are people who are so afraid of what other people might think or write about them, they don't take advantage of all the possibilities that being an heiress hands you on a silver platter. They think there's a prescribed way of "being an heiress" that you're supposed to conform to. It involves wearing white gloves, big hats, and pearls, having some dowdy debut or a coming-out party, and going to fancy, snobby all-girl colleges -- boring, old-fashioned stuff like that.
I totally disagree. There is no sin worse in life than being boring -- and nothing worse than letting other people tell you what to do. I was one of the few heiresses to walk the runway as a model. A lot of people thought that was shocking. Why did I do it? Was it a desperate cry for attention, like the papers said? Hardly. It's not like I need any more attention. Did I do it for money? Of course not. Modeling doesn't pay that well, anyway, unless you're Gisele or Cindy Crawford, or, like Patti Hansen, you get to marry a rock star. I did it because it was fun.
Well, suddenly, everyone got all freaked out. It seems modeling wasn't on the list of socially acceptable activities for heiresses. Then, a year later, every other socialite started walking the runway. Now you can't keep them off the runway. Now there are model agents in New York and L.A. who specialize in getting socialites jobs as models. And if I hadn't pursued it, it might never have happened. I mean, if I didn't do it, who would have? By being brave -- and channeling my "inner heiress" -- I created a new opportunity for young heiresses.
That is what being an heiress means to me: being in charge. After all, if you have money and certain advantages, no one should be in charge of your life but you. Especially after the age of twenty-one. I'm twenty-three now, but in a lot of ways, I always took matters into my own hands. I knew I wanted to be a model, actress, and singer from a pretty young age, so I told my parents, and they could tell I was serious. In so many ways, being an heiress is really all in your head. If you follow your own plans and dreams and you don't let anyone talk you out of them, then you'll start to get the hang of being an heiress. It's all about feeling entitled, which seems, for some weird reason, to make a very big impression -- a good one. And who's more empowered than an heiress? Heiresses are born with privileges. If you walk into a room and know you're the most exciting person in the room because...you are, then you're feeling like an heiress. All you need after that is a good handbag, a great pose, and very high heels, and you're on your way. (Long blond hair doesn't hurt, either.)
The best way for me to tell everyone how to act and feel like an heiress is by doing this book. First of all, the book parties will be really fun! But beyond that, I want to put it out there that if you can channel your own inner heiress, create your own image, and project an extreme sense of confidence -- even if you don't really feel it every moment -- people will treat you differently. Sure, heiresses are born with privileges. But if an heiress doesn't project natural-born superconfidence, no one is going to take her seriously or put her on the pedestal she deserves to be on. Put yourself on your own pedestal, and then everybody else will, too. Always act like you're on camera, and the spotlight's on you. Always behave like you are the center of attention. Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown. I do. And it's always worked for me.
And try adding a little attitude to your normal behavior. For instance, if you expect people to do things for you, they will. If you act like a doormat, no one will lift a finger for you. That does not mean you should ever be mean, or snobby. A true heiress is never mean to anyone -- except a girl who steals her boyfriend. An heiress should be a little above it all, but sweet. She can afford to be kind because she's well bred and never in a hurry. And she shouldn't go around spilling her guts to everyone. Have some secrets, I say. Secrets are very important assets if you're going to be an heiress.
Even if you have no secrets -- and everyone does -- you've got to make people think that you do. If people read a few tidbits about you in Vanity Fair or on "Page Six," they instantly want to know more. They will want to know everything about you. If there's one thing I've learned, it's this: People need to believe your life is better than theirs.
After all, everyone needs a fantasy. Okay, maybe I don't, but most rich people want something they can't have. If they have one Rolls-Royce, they fantasize about having two. If they have a closet full of Chanel, they want a closet full of Gucci.
I'm a fantasy to a lot of people. They want to think that I have more fun than they do, have fewer problems, wake up looking great, go to sleep looking great, can buy and eat anything in the world I want, and get any hot guy I want. They think I'm "Paris Barbie." (I take that as a compliment. Barbie is my total fashion icon!) No one wants to think that I have a normal life or problems. They prefer to imagine someone has the Perfect Life, and I guess mine seems like that to a lot of people. I've only been me, so I can't tell if my life is perfect or not.
The way I keep people wondering about me is to smile all the time and say as little as possible. Smile beautifully, smile big, smile confidently, and everyone thinks you've got all kinds of secret things going on. And that keeps them wanting more. And when they want more, you are automatically interesting. If you give too much away, no one needs to know anything else. You've given it all away -- and for free. And if you do that, well, you're never going to have any money. Or make any money. It's what they call "supply and demand."
So, while I'm going to reveal some of my secrets here, don't get your hopes up too high. I'll never reveal ALL of them. How tacky would that be? An heiress never reveals how much money she's worth, or her family's worth. An heiress hardly ever refers to money, period. An heiress never reveals how many guys she's dated, or...whatever. There are definitely a number of things an heiress won't talk about. You can imagine what they are. There's a big difference between being fun and provocative and being totally over-the-top and gross. An heiress knows how to tread that fine line -- in stilettos.
I've noticed that my girlfriends want to tell their friends everything. They need to talk about every tight T-shirt they buy, every carbohydrate they eat, every insecurity they have, every single thing a guy says to them. These girls have no secrets. So no one needs to talk behind their backs. They've spilled it all. I don't do that.
Rule Number One: Heiresses aren't needy. If an heiress is feeling a little insecure, she should go shopping. And if she still doesn't feel any better, she should go to Paris. Or Saint-Tropez. For the weekend, if necessary. Because there's always another fun place to visit, another set of fun people, another cute outfit waiting to be snapped up. There's no reason for an heiress to ever EVER be bored.
Rule Number Two: An heiress should never be too serious. Being too serious is very dull, and is a sign you have no imagination or personality. No one really wants to hang out with anyone too serious. An heiress is so confident -- and why shouldn't she be? -- that she should always be able to make fun of herself. First of all, if you make fun of yourself, no one gets upset when you make fun of other people. And if you make fun of yourself first, no one gets the urge to do it behind your back. You've taken all the power away from them -- AND made them laugh. It's a double whammy.
Here are my fail-safe instructions on how to be an heiress and live like you have a privileged life -- and I am serious about them. Most of them, anyway.
1 BE BORN INTO THE RIGHT FAMILY. Choose your chromosomes wisely. This may seem like ludicrous advice, but actually it isn't. If an heiress is in control of everything, why shouldn't she be in control of who she's born to? You know how everyone always says there are no accidents? Well, I believe you choose who you're born to. And if you do have the misfortune of being born into the wrong family, remember: No one has to know. Airing family laundry is definitely a big no-no for an heiress. You can always reinvent yourself and your lineage if you have to. Half of Park Avenue and Bel Air have. Lineage can be a state of mind.
2 HAVE A GREAT NAME. If you are going to be an heiress, you can't have a normal name, unless you're British. All British people have plain names, and that works pretty well over there. But in America, you've got to have a name that stands out. I love my name. Paris is my favorite city. And Paris without the P is "heiress," isn't it? In sixth grade, people would make fun of me and call me "France" or "London." Well, I'm going to name my own daughter Paris! An heiress needs to have a glamorous -- or a really cute -- name. My sister Nicky's name is cute. An heiress's dog also needs to have a cute name. My teacup Chihuahua is named Tinkerbell, so she acts like a Tinkerbell. If you have a cute name, you will act cute. If you have a glam name, you will act glam. It's that simple. Future moms should make a note of that.
3 HAVE ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS SKIN, BUT DON'T FRET OVER IT. Pile makeup on and never, ever have a breakout. Perfect skin is a birthright, and it means you can never really take a bad photograph. No amount of junk food or Coca-Cola can change your skin. And if, God forbid, it does, have a great makeup artist standing by. It can't hurt.
4 EAT ONLY FAST FOOD OR THE MOST FABULOUS FOOD. Greasy chips or perfect crab cakes. Cotton candy or caviar. Fast food or fois gras. French fries or black-pepper shrimp from the Ivy in L.A. Cheesy junk or expensive cheese. Being an heiress is all about extremes.
5 DEVELOP A WAY OF ENTERING A ROOM THAT LOOKS ROYAL AND REGAL BUT NOT SNOBBY. Learn how to pose in an onslaught of flashing lights without blinking. (Note to celebrities: You can always improve.) Always know your best angle -- for your body and your face -- and work it. Study your own pictures and you'll figure it out.
6 NEVER, EVER WAKE UP BEFORE TEN; NEVER GO TO BED BEFORE THREE. Normal hours are for normal people. You never want to be normal. Anyone can be normal. How boring. I'm yawning.
7 ALWAYS TELL EVERYONE WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR. Then do what you want. That way, no one ever gets mad at you. They get very confused, then blame it on themselves. If anyone confronts you, smile sweetly and act coyly. Particularly with guys. And bosses. Try not to have bosses if you can avoid them. Or have your manager deal with them.
8 NEVER HAVE ONLY ONE CELL PHONE WHEN YOU CAN HAVE MANY. Lose one all the time. That way, if you haven't called someone back, you can blame it on the lost phone. It's very important to get a new model the minute it comes out. Nokias, Ericksons, Motorolas -- those are the coolest. Always have at least two numbers: a friend line and a business line. If I feel like avoiding a call, I answer my phone in a phony British accent and say, "Hello, Paris Hilton's line," or something like that. I do that if I'm expecting a call from a guy I've changed my mind about and I don't want to have dinner with him anymore. Every woman has the right to change her mind from time to time; therefore heiresses have more of a right.
9 NEVER WEAR THE SAME THING TWICE. This is particularly important if you're going to be photographed a lot, which I am. If you double up, people will think you have only one outfit -- and that's annoying. And untrue.
10 DON'T WEAR A DRESS THAT'S IN ALL THE MAGAZINES. That's for girls with no imagination who just buy what magazines tell them to buy. Look for the cool, unusual dress that no one else has the nerve to wear. Dare to be different. Dare to wear colors and prints. All the boring New York socialite girls wear black. Do you ever see a girl in a magazine wearing black? I don't think so. Don't run out and buy the bag of the moment or the dress of the moment. I like expensive things, but I like cheap things, too. I like anything that's cute and makes me happy. I haven't met too many clothes I didn't like -- except black clothes.
11 IF YOU'RE HAPPY, WEAR PINK. If you're depressed, wear black. Black is for people who don't want to have fun with clothes and who are always hiding -- in other words, depressed. No one with a truly great body wears black, trust me. And if you really want to stand out and be confident, wear white.
12 MAKE PLANS, PLANS, AND MORE PLANS. Invite everyone you know to come along. If there aren't enough hours in the day, don't worry, there will be. You live in a different time zone: Heiress Time.
13 ACT DITZY. LOSE THINGS. It throws people off and makes them think you're "adorable," and less together than you really are.
14 IF ALL ELSE FAILS, ACT BORED. Not boring. There's a huge difference.
15 PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ARE OKAY, in limited amounts, but only with your serious boyfriend, because that's exactly what someone with a famous family name is NOT supposed to do. It makes other boys think you're dangerous, so they will all want you, too. Guys like women they're a little afraid of. No, make that a lot afraid of.
16 ALWAYS HAVE A VERY BIG BODYGUARD. It intimidates guys. If a guy does have the nerve to approach you when your bodyguard is around, you know he's got to be pretty fearless.
17 ALWAYS HAVE A TAN. It looks like you've been in an exotic (i.e., expensive) place. It can never look fake, even if it is. Get the spray-on tan, so it doesn't get all over your clothes.
18 CHANGE YOUR HAIRSTYLE ALL THE TIME. Everyone expects you to have the same hairstyle in every photo, and only dull people do that. Tell everyone you're wearing hair extensions even if you aren't, because they don't expect you to tell them.
19 NEVER DRINK DIET SODA. It shows you have no nerve. Only drink real colas, caffeine-packed energy drinks, or Vitamin Water. Hate champagne, because that's what everyone expects you to love. Energy drinks are the best party drinks. You never get tired. You never have a hangover. And you can make fun of all the loaded people who think they're clever but are really acting stupid.
20 FEAR NOTHING -- EXCEPT INSECTS. And sweaty guys who insist on kissing you when they come up to say hello. There's nothing worse than a sweaty guy who kisses you on both cheeks. Once is bad enough, but to have to go through it twice is really two times too much.
21 NEVER BE PREDICTABLE. Always surprise people. That way, they will never get tired of you.
22 IF THE MEDIA PLAYS WITH YOU, WELL, PLAY WITH THEM. I went on Saturday Night Live soon after my name was in the headlines every day for something I wasn't too proud of, and which had really upset my family. On "Weekend Update" with Jimmy Fallon, the script had him asking me, "Is it hard to get a room in the Paris Hilton? Is it roomy?" and he wanted to cut it. But I wouldn't let him. No way. That was the funniest line. And I got the upper hand with the media the moment he said it on national TV. That's when it all clicked and things started to change. People knew I could laugh at myself, and that one bad incident was not going to make me lock myself in my room.
23 LAST BUT NOT LEAST: MAKE FUN OF YOURSELF. NEVER TAKE YOURSELF, OR RULES, TOO SERIOUSLY (see all above rules).
Excerpted from Confessions of an Heiress by Paris Hilton. Copyright © 2004 by Paris Hilton. All rights reserved. Posted with permission of the publisher. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.