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“I think I have a selfie from when I was a little kid, like on a disposable camera.”Selfies aren’t the only thing Paris Hilton did first: The heiress turned the stuffy New York social scene upside-down in the early 2000s, setting not only every fashion and lifestyle trend at the time, but also defining what it meant to be an ‘influencer’ before we even had a word for it.“We started a whole new genre of celebrity that no one had ever seen before,” said Hilton.
At the age of 19, Hilton was signed to Donald Trump’s modeling agency, T Management, becoming one of the first signed scions long before her Millennial protégés, Paris Jackson, Sofia Richie, and a whole crew of celebrity children parlayed their last names into full-time careers.
Hilton’s house is so on brand, you wonder if she actually lives there, or if it is a set. And on her kitchen counter are three cookie jars labeled Uppers, Poppers, and Quaaludes.
(All empty.) Her house even smells on brand—every few minutes you can hear as a firing squad of timed air fresheners secretes a flowery scent throughout the space.
As she presented me with over a decade’s worth of technology, it became clear that while fellow 2000s icon Kim Kardashian may claim to “remember everything,” Paris Hilton hangs on to it, too.
Some might commend the likes of Kardashian for moving beyond their past lives, growing apart from Hilton in the process, while others say they couldn’t have existed in the first place had Hilton not paved the way. No one but Paris Hilton knows the exact location of her old Sidekick cell phone.”Despite Hilton’s longtime dependency on various cellular devices, it is perhaps visionaries like Steve Jobs who are indebted to her, seeing that it was Hilton who took their creations beyond their wildest expectations, inventing along the way the maligned but ubiquitous selfie.“If a beeper had a camera, I would have taken a selfie with it,” said Hilton later, agreeing that she was truthfully the matriarch of the modern phenomenon.“Anybody with a phone can do it.”In the year 2017, with a Trump in the White House, the phrase “celebrity entrepreneur” no longer a laughable sobriquet, and the Kardashians firmly ensconced in the highest echelons of American society, it’s starting to look and feel a lot like the 2000s again.As a result, nostalgia is running rampant in popular culture, and Paris Hilton is shaping up to be a pioneer and prophet of the zeitgeist as we know it.