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Paris Hilton vs. Provo Canyon School, Explained

Ask anyone what they know about Paris Hilton and most people will say the following: She’s a socialite who came from money from a hotel empire, she’s a fashion icon, she starred on “The Simple Life,” she was Kim Kardashian’s employer, she coined the phrases: “That’s hot,” “loves it,” and “sliving.” You get the picture. However, what a lot of people don’t know is how her life was growing up as a kid in this crazy environment she was raised in. In her recent Youtube documentary “This is Paris,” the influencer bears it all. Viewers realize just how much of her upbringing was hidden from the public eye.

Person with a clap board on set
Photo by Avel Chuklanov from Unsplash

As someone who was raised in a haughty environment, all Paris wanted to do was act out. Never did she think all the fun she had clubbing would lead to the most traumatic time of her life. After watching their daughter rebel time and time again, Paris’s parents took extreme measures and had her sent away to Provo Canyon School, a sort of boarding school for troubled children. “I was abducted, strangled, stripped, and drugged,” recalls Hilton remembering when two men took her from her bed in the middle of the night to transport her there. During her stay, she wasn’t treated like a person and was stripped of her dignity. 

Paris is creating a movement to break code silence and make sure no child goes through what she had to again. She ends her documentary with clips of her and other women she got to know during her time there, along with a photoshoot they did together to spread awareness for this cause. More influencers are coming out about the time they spent at Provo Canyon School as well. Makeup artist Kat Von D opened up and told her viewers that she was also sent there at a different time. Hilton also hosted a rally outside of Provo Canyon School back in October.

Now, these survivors must go through the government to get help in making these changes. On February 9, Hilton testified about her experiences at Provo Canyon school during a Utah state senate committee hearing. Her objective was to get a bill passed that would require more government oversight of youth residential treatment centers and require them to document when they use restraints. She was joined by Amanda Nguyen who is best known for founding the nonprofit organization Rise Now that helps write up laws for survivors. The team met with lieutenant governor Deidre Henderson, and Mike McKell to relay their message. Her testimony helped represent those who could not speak about what they went through. Ultimately, it was unanimously agreed to pass the measure, which signified a big win for everyone involved in this movement. 

people sitting in chairs and taking notes
The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

If we should take anything away from this it should be that you should always fight for what’s right. Hilton is known for portraying a ditzy-like character and creating this persona that she shaped for herself. This being said, if you were to take that all away she is actually a very smart person who has been through a lot. Not once did Paris let how she’s viewed by the public eye get in the way of what she wanted to accomplish. Hilton had a lot of people relying on her and it’s a testament to her character how she handled the situation. Take a note from her playbook and don’t let anything stop you from doing what needs to be done. 


Kate Katz

U Mass Amherst '24

Kate is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a New Yorker at heart. She is a journalism major and hopes to work in the broadcast field. Kate also writes for the Amherst WIRE on their entertainment team. She is so grateful to be able to share her work with such a wide audience of readers.
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