When Paris Hilton appeared on the scene as a pop culture icon, many people wondered what the rich hotel heiress was famous for besides the thick stack of credit cards in her designer purse. Neither a singer nor actress, the pretty party girl seemed to snag headlines solely for her lavish lifestyle. As it turned out, Hilton was blazing a new path of celebrydom in the United States. The pampered princess turned into a paparazzi pet just by hanging out with hunks, cavorting at clubs, and licensing her own lines of lingerie, doggie fashions and perfume. The pop culture pioneer even mentored fellow socialite Kim Kardashian on how to obtain her new form of fame, a friendly favor Paris may now be regretting.
Although Paris has a new so-called reality TV show, "The World According to Paris," premiering on Oxygen June 1, some pop culture pundits suspect Hilton's 15 minutes of fame could be over. The news from Paris has not been so perky these days. Last fall she copped a plea for hiding cocaine in her purse and fibbing to police . More recently, Paris has been in the hot seat after a German insurance company sued her for failing to return $60,000 of borrowed jewelry.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian, the breakout sister of the Kardashian family seems to have taken over Paris's role of celebrity-for-no-reason media darling. With her current sister adventure series "Kourtney and Kim Take New York" and raging romance with hoopster Kris Humphries, headlines about Kim have been far more positive than those hyping Paris's perpetual problems.
Defending her daughter, Paris's mother, Kathy Hilton, caustically remarked on Kim's rising popularity. Taking off her white gloves, a source told the New York Post mama Hilton pooh poohed Kim's success and implied Kim Kardashian was a Paris clone. "Kim copied every thing Paris has done," the Post reported. "Paris is the original reality star."
Even Paris's maternal aunts are getting more notoriety than their niece these days. Kathy Hilton half-sisters Kim and Kyle Richards became household names when they appeared as two of the six felines involved in the Beverly Hills version of the "Real Housewives" series on Bravo. Kyle Richards proceeded to get in a prolonged cat fight with Kelsey Grammer's ex-wife Camille Grammer over the course of this year's RHOBH, and Kim Richards and cast mate Taylor Armstrong engaged in hissing matches in several episodes of the show.
At 30, Paris may be too old to sustain her party girl, clubbing ways without looking like an over-aged teenager. Even her appearance at more mature events, such as film festivals, has been dissed by the likes of Robert Redford, who blamed part of the slide of his Sundance Film Festival to the onslaught of famous actors and their media magnets. "When they came, the paparazzi came. And then fashion came. The next thing [we knew], we had Paris, which had nothing to do with anything," he said dismissively.
Whether Hilton has become an irrelevant annoyance or an irrepressible pop culture icon will be measured partly by the success of her new reality TV show in June.
What do you think? Has Paris Hilton's popularity peaked or does the pop culture princess still rein over her reality TV sisters?
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