Thursday, November 12, 2020

Documentary Review: This is Paris

I always wondered if people on reality TV sometimes had some sort of public persona that they present of themselves, some sort of image they project because it sells. With her documentary, This is Paris, original influencer Paris Hilton reveals that what you see is not necessarily real, as she shares the reason for this image and the life she has behind the scenes.

The revelation that Paris Hilton does not sound the way that she does and that she is not as ditzy as she used to portray herself in The Simple Life was not that much of a surprise. I think that knowing the businesses that she owns and the way she has monetized herself and her personal brand all these years is a clear sign of someone who has a good head on her shoulders. 

The revelation was that she was using this image to protect herself, as a front that she presents to other people to keep them at a distance due to past trauma from when she was placed in a "boarding school" by her parents. She shared that she has had trouble sleeping because of this trauma and that she has had fears that were a result of her experiences in those schools that she has been in, one of them being Provo Canyon School in Utah.

I found it surprising that people placed children in schools for troubled teens like this in the US. It is unbelievable that people pay large sums of money where their children are abused and traumatized so much that these events affect these children well into their adulthood. It is also surprising that despite the people who have spoken out against these schools they are still operating today.

The determination to succeed that Paris has makes sense given the kind of trauma she had where people kept putting her down and treated her (and other kids in that school) in less than humane conditions. It is just sad to see that despite her success in her career she says that the money and all the material things have not made her happy. It sounds as if she is running after something that still evades her. I hope that she finds her happiness in life sooner rather than later.

I have read that people are criticizing her documentary as a means to “rebrand” into a serious businesswoman and using her experience at Provo Canyon to do that. Some critics have said that there was not enough focus on her Provo Canyon experience in the documentary which proves it was more something to create hype for her documentary than a look into the issue of abusive schools for troubled youth. They said it was a poor little rich girl story and some were not that sympathetic. I thought that was a bit unfair. 

The documentary was called This is Paris. It was about her as a person and about her life in general. Her experience in Provo Canyon was just part of it, which was why the focus was not entirely on that. I remember reading that the documentary was not even supposed to tackle that part of her life, but that the director encouraged her to make it a part of it. Considering the trauma that it caused her, I would think that sharing as much as she did was already a difficult thing for her to do. 

It was nice to see a different side to Paris Hilton, who seemed lighter and more carefree in her unguarded moments where she seems more boyish than her current image presents her. I truly hope she finds the kind of happiness and peace of mind that she deserves despite her traumatic past.

This is Paris is available on YouTube.  


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