The concept of celebrity worship has reached new heights across the globe in recent years. The surge in the number of tabloid and entertainment magazines, as well as the emergence of television programs dedicated entirely to the latest happenings in the world of entertainment, suggests that the public's desire for knowledge about the lives of celebrities and quasi-celebrities has increased due to the fact that the media over plays their lives. Celebrity culture has entered the collective consciousness of modern society to an extent that the phenomenon of celebrity is not earned by any personal talent or deed, but merely acquired as a result of our fascination. This new kind of celebrity is popular simply because of the image associated with their public personas, and is best exemplified by American heiress Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton is an ideal model for the personification of image worship because her status as a celebrity is not based on any personal achievement, but is rather the result of combining skillful marketing with the public's desire and fascination for a pop culture icon.
Paris Whitney Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain. She was born on February 17, 1981 in New York and is 25 years old. She has three siblings Nicky, Conrad and Barron and currently resides in Hollywood with her sister Nicky. As children, Paris and her siblings frequently moved between their parents' many upscale residences in Beverly Hills, the Hamptons and Bel-Air. While still a teenager, at the age of 15, Paris started modeling for various designers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Heatherette and Alvin Valley. Paris' first foray into the celebrity spotlight was her alleged alliance with movie star Leonardo Di Caprio in 2000, followed by several other celebrities. However, despite appearing in various music videos for other musicians, possessing a robust modeling career, which included ads for Guess and Christian Dior among others, and being a regular at American and European social events and clubs, Paris was not a paparazzi staple till 2003.
It was in that year that a private tape which she had made with her ex-boyfriend, Rick Soloman, was released as a pornographic movie entitled One Night in Paris. The controversy surrounding the tape, which was made when Paris was 19 years old, garnered her massive amounts of publicity and propelled her into the international spotlight. The video has since become the best selling pornographic movie in history. It wasn't meant to advance Paris' career but it did.
The immediate result of the massive success of the tape was that Paris Hilton became a household name worldwide. From magazine covers to TV shows to Internet blogs, Paris Hilton was the centre of attention, and every move of hers was followed closely. Her hard partying lifestyle, combined with her good looks and newfound fame, immediately garnered the attention of teenagers and twenty-something's because she encapsulated the desired lifestyle to those who are living marginal, routine lives. This meant she had a built-in audience when her show, The Simple Life, filmed with close friend Nicole Richie, debuted in the fall of 2003, and thus was a huge success. The image of Paris presented to the viewers of the show was one in which she was depicted as being rich and spoiled. The show became a huge success due to the fact that it enabled the target sociological group to connect with her, since she was now living the life they are trying to escape from. According to Richard Maltby popular culture provides escapism that is not an escape from or to anywhere, but an escape of our utopian selves,' (Storey, 7). The audience was escaping from their own reality and watching Paris live their lives. Paris has mentioned that "anyone who thinks that's really me is in for a big surprise. It's just a character I'm playing." (Hilton, 112). That character...