Many of Marilyn’s fans can empathise with her difficult childhood and mental health struggles. One of her most famous admirers, socialite turned reality TV star Paris Hilton, has until now been more associated with the ‘dumb blonde’ image Marilyn tried to escape. But in a new documentary, This is Paris, she reveals her own experience of abuse; and as she explains in an interview for CNET, Marilyn’s glamorous persona helped Paris to find her own voice.
“One of the most compelling parts of This Is Paris is watching Hilton talk about lifelong trauma that stems from abuse she suffered in her teens while at the Provo Canyon boarding school in Utah. Hilton joins other survivors in the Breaking Code Silence movement to shed light on for-profit schools billed as treatment and behavior modification programs for kids … ‘It’s important to know that you can tell your story,’ said Hilton. ‘When you’re young and you’re growing up, you don’t realize who you are yet. It’s easy to get manipulated by people and to feel ashamed to discuss things like that.’
One of my favorite moments during our conversation was around her ‘that’s hot’ persona. She explains the origin of her ‘Paris’ voice. ‘It came when I was at Provo, and I was thinking about my life when I got out of there. I just wanted to become something else,’ said Hilton. ‘I was really inspired by Marilyn Monroe. I know that she also had two voices. When she was on camera, she would do the kind of higher pitch-like sexy baby voice. And then I heard when she was off camera, she would speak in her normal tone of voice.'”