Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

Paris Hilton wants to be the 'Queen of the Metaverse'

Paris Hilton wants to be the 'Queen of the Metaverse'

A fuschia Bentley drives down a twisty desert road toward the entrance of the Neon Carnival, an after-party held each year during Coachella. Paris Hilton has arrived. Her hair is in pigtails, twisted in part with white flowers, and she's wearing a sparkly pink romper that matches her platform boots. She greets fans on a red carpet, heads to a packed dance floor and eventually finds her way to the go-karts.

Hilton attends the invite-only party in person each year, but this particular scene played out last month in Paris World, Hilton's virtual experience on popular gaming platform Roblox, where she joined as an avatar. Nearly 400,000 Roblox users visited her virtual Neon Carnival that mid-April weekend, about 40 times the number of people who went in real life this year, according to Hilton. (The digital event was sponsored by Levi's and designed in part by Brent Bolthouse, the founder of the original Neon Carnival).

It's a concept Hilton has seen success with before. On New Year's Eve, she DJed a live set in the same virtual world, playing as her avatar. In Paris World, users can also buy virtual clothing, book a jet ski ride or pay to gain access to a VIP section of a club.

"I've always been an undercover nerd, so I've been obsessed with anything to do with technology and the future," Hilton told CNN Business in an interview last month. "Now my new nickname is 'The Queen of the Metaverse,'" she added, referring to a sobriquet she has used on the red carpet and in a number of her social media posts, which, according to her company 11:11 Media, first emerged in the NFT space on Twitter.

Hilton has long been a trendsetter. She arguably became an influencer before the term even existed after her reality TV show, "The Simple Life," debuted in 2003. But Hilton, the great-granddaugther of hotel mogul Conrad Hilton, has also been working to redefine her public image as a successful businesswoman and to cement her status as an innovator.

Recently, she's embraced two buzzy but speculative trends in tech: the metaverse, a vision for an immersive virtual world that still does not exist; and non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs, which refer to pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital ledger system underpinning various cryptocurrencies.

Hilton has invested in multiple tech companies, including backing digital avatar startup Genies and animation app immi, which allows some NFT owners to bring the characters in their digital artwork to life. She also bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, a pricey and highly sought after collection that's attracted celebrity buyers. Hilton has also created her own NFT artwork. One of her latest NFT pieces, called the "Iconic Crypto Queen" and created in collaboration with popular NFT artist Blake Kathryn, sold for $1.111 million -- a nod to 11:11 Media, Hilton's new company named after her favorite time of day.

Paris Hilton's avatar joins a dance party at the Neon Carnival in Paris World on Roblox, the virtual gaming platform

While the future of both the metaverse and NFTs remains unclear, arguably all the more so for the latter after a crypto market crash this month, some say there is real potential for celebrities who embrace virtual gatherings and products. "For celebrities, like brands, this is another way for them to engage with their fans and audiences," said Michael Inouye, a principal analyst at ABI Research. "This could be through virtual events, concerts, shows and more. They could sell virtual merchandise so fans could show their fandom both in their real and virtual lives."

Her bet on these digital products and services is just one piece of Hilton's growing empire. Last fall, Hilton brought all of her initiatives under 11:11 Media. The company includes her 19 product lines, such as fragrances, clothing and makeup, which have surpassed over $4 billion in all-time revenue, according to the company. It also includes her production company Slivington Manor Entertainment -- which is behind TV projects including "Cooking with Paris" and "Paris Hilton in Love" -- and her podcast company London Audio.

"We are growing quickly and want to find the talent of people who are interested in this space," said Hilton. To that end, Hilton is partnering with ZipRecruiter, an online platform for job seekers, to add more employees to her roster. 11:11 Media is soon launching a sweepstakes for someone to win a mentorship program with her in Los Angeles to learn many of the aspects of running her business.

"Mentorship is also something that's really important for me. My mentor was my grandfather," she said of the late Barron Hilton, the business magnate who was the former president, chairman and CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation. "It's just all the advice he gave me and the support has really stuck with me throughout my career. I want to be able to do that for someone else."

A voice for NFTs

In 2019, Hilton emerged as one of the earliest celebrity promoters of NFTs. She was approached by a friend who was raising money for recovery efforts related to Australia's wildfires at the time. When Hilton was asked to create a digital art piece on her iPad, she drew one of her cats, Munchkin. All proceeds went to charity.

"I then found myself on sites such as Clubhouse during the pandemic talking to artists about the NFT world and meeting with leaders in the space," she said. "I became obsessed with it and started collaborating with artists. ... It's something I really believe in."

Since then, she has become a public voice for NFTs. During an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" earlier this year, Hilton and Fallon shared pictures of their Bored Ape NFTs in a conversation that one news outlet described as "frankly, hallucinogenic." The year before, she used her time on the show to school Fallon on how NFTs work.

Paris Hilton attends the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in her "Queen of the Metaverse" dress

Other celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Lindsay Lohan and Shawn Mendes have launched their own NFTs. But recently there have been signs the NFT market may be deflating. The NFT market declined to a daily average of about 19,000 sales earlier this month compared to 225,000 in September, according to data cited by the Wall Street Journal.

In 2021, then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever published tweet as an NFT, for cryptocurrency valued at $2.9 million, but when the man who purchased it put it up for sale, it attracted offers at a fraction of the price.

The price of Bitcoin -- the largest cryptocurrency -- dropped below $30,000 earlier this month and has struggled to rise above that level since then. It remains down more than 50% from its record high in November. Other cryptocurrencies have been hit hard too in recent weeks.

Along with the risks associated with the volatility of NFTs and the broader crypto space, scams and thefts also persist. Some celebrities have also had class-action lawsuits filed against them for allegedly participating in so-called "pump and dump" crypto schemes.

"These have usually been associated with cryptocurrencies where the celebrity will hype it up and then when people invest in it they in turn around and sell their currency at a profit," said Inouye. "This speaks to the less savory side of all of NFT-blockchain-crypto, which is at least in part driven by hype and speculation."

Hilton said she's been cautious not to give advice on what people should buy, noting she's only interested in NFTs to "support the artists" and "not for investment reasons."

A public perception shift

Hilton has proven herself as a successful entrepreneur for years but she said public perception of her -- which was fixated on her heiress and socialite status -- didn't shift until the release of 2020 documentary "This is Paris." The film, released on YouTube and since viewed more than 58 million times, called out the mistreatment she allegedly faced at a boarding school facility as a teenager.

"The documentary changed my life in every single way," she said. "For so long, people had so many misconceptions of me because of the character I was playing ... almost like a coping mechanism. Now they understand who I actually am and what I've been through. I'm not a dumb blonde. I'm just very good at pretending to be one."

Since the release of the documentary, she has worked to change laws in seven states as part of an effort to crack down on abusive youth facilities. Earlier this month, Hilton visited the White House to discuss new legislation aimed protecting children in such programs.

"I will always be grateful to 'The Simple Life' because it really helped me launch my brand and all my businesses. But there is so much more to me," she said. "I want to be known and respected for the businesswoman I am, the business and brand that I've created and for being an advocate for children who have suffered from the abuse and trauma that myself and so many others have."

Hilton said she continues to look for new ways to innovate on and offline, grow her NFT collection and help others grow their own brands.

"It's amazing now with the technology available to anyone from their living room -- if they have Wi-Fi connection, an iPhone or whatever they're capturing their content on -- they are able to build a brand, support their families, be themselves and express themselves in that way," she said. "It makes me proud that I created this new genre of a celebrity. ... I love being an innovator and someone who is a first at things. It's just incredible to see what that's morphed into."


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner