This is Paris is the work of a budding activist. The fact that it premiered on YouTube, a platform that people of all economic strata can access, alerts us to the fact that whatever the message is in this movie, the producers do have a message about unregulated teen rehabilitation centers that are rampant through the United States.
I was fascinated by the fact that Paris Hilton’s mother was a child model for Sears and Roebuck Catalogue, early 70s era. Paris was modeling around the same age. She never knew a life that wasn’t wealthy, private, and somewhat caged in.
We see the glamorous part in the beginning. She spends her time partying on the Sunset Strip, only to be taken advantage by a guy who videotapes their encounters together and releases it to the world. Joan Rivers, the late comedian, is seen poking fun at her troubles as if this were all a career choice approved by her parents.
The parents aren’t quite how to control everything. They send her to the Provo Canyon School, an organization known for credible accounts of abuse. You can read about the Provo school from a variety of sites throughout the internet. The Hiltons decided to hire an escort service to take their daughter to the school. An ‘escort service’, for the uninitiated, are people whose job it is to transport a troubled teen from their homes to their future places of incarceration.
Paris is awakened at night and taken from her bed by two guys. She is pulled from the bedroom, put in a motorized vehicle, and away she goes to Provo! She is subject to moments of isolation, abuse, and labor.
When she got out of Provo, she starred in the series The Simple Life. Her screen persona seemed unfamiliar with physical labor, but that was an act. Those who were also incarcerated at Provo with Paris knew better.
Now that she regained some independence, Paris reunited with former students of the Provo home. Katherine McNamara, who was with Paris in Provo, becomes the centerpiece that pulls this movie together. She describes not only the scope of the troubled teen industry, but what other survivors of this home experienced.
Paris vows to spend the rest of her days closing down schools like this, and to also achieve her dream of being a billionaire. Can one have justice for troubled teens and still make a billion? Perhaps a Paris Hilton Millstone Collection might do the trick? Just inscribe this biblical verse on the inner circle: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matt. 18:6“?
I’d buy it and I’m not even religious! That could probably sell well with the Paris Hilton brand with funds going to activism to either close down or regulate all troubled teen centers and children’s homes.
Paris Hilton made good on her activist vow since This is Paris. She protested outside her school. Testified before the Utah State Legislature about the harm such unlicensed places inflicted on teens and the need for accountability.
She also sells her image and merchandise in her role as an influencer. The movie does point out that Paris Hilton was the original influencer before the influencers existed. Let’s hope her influence pays off in the ultimate way: with regulation of the troubled teen industry.
Dwayne Walker is the author of ‘Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What?‘