Paris Hilton managed to turn "that's hot!" into a viable catchphrase in the early 2000s, and that alone makes a case for her talent as a brand-builder. But the heiress and one time sex tape star turned businesswoman told Access Hollywood that The Simple Life gave people the wrong impression that she's some kind of airhead, and she'd like you to start taking her seriously now.

"I am a very hardworking businesswoman and entrepreneur, and that’s what I want to be known as now," says Hilton. Her endeavors are rumored to be worth around $1 billion, and include fragrance lines, Paris Hilton stores across Asia and the Middle East, handbags, shoes, acrylic nails and false eyelashes.

So where did this misimpression come from? The answer, as so many former reality show players have said before, is that a conniving producer is to blame. When it came to the show she starred in with friend Nicole "Sanasa!" Richie, Hilton claims she was told to play a certain role on camera.

"They said 'Nicole you play the trouble maker, Paris you play the ditzy airhead.' We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into or what a huge success it would be and that I’d have to continue playing this character for five years."

 

"You kind of just get trapped in that character when you have to continue doing it on a TV show," says Paris, who played a "dumb blonde" archetypical version of herself on the show that ran from 2003-2007.

Nevertheless, Paris says she knows being "in on" the caricature ultimately played to her benefit in the long run.

"I don’t mind because I feel like I really parlayed it into a huge business and it was a lot of fun," she says. "I think if I was my serious self on the show it wouldn’t have been such a huge success."

And the "Stars Are Blind" singer has proved an inspiration for at least one heiress-turned-brand, who also rose to fame on a reality show: Kendall Jenner, who dressed in homage to "vintage Paris Hilton vibes" with a recreation of a classic Paris look on her 21st birthday party.

Please give Paris Hilton the gravitas she deserves going forward.

 

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