Paris Hilton Shares Childhood Trauma, ‘Struggles With Being Normal’ in New Documentary

Everyone knows who Paris Hilton is. Or rather, they think they know. A new tell-all documentary about the life of

Paris Hilton

Everyone knows who Paris Hilton is. Or rather, they think they know. A new tell-all documentary about the life of the heiress shows fans that Hilton is so much more than most people realize. When the reality super-star opens up about trauma from her childhood and struggles with trying to live normally, fans will be drawn into a never-before seen part of her life. 

Hilton was born into wealth, but forged her own career

Hilton was born on February 17th, 1981 in New York City. Grand-daughter of Hilton Hotel founder Conrad Hilton, Paris was born into wealth. The now-39-year-old became a household name after she and fellow heiress Nicole Richie began a four-year journey into the world of reality TV as Hilton and Richie shared their TV personas with the world in The Simple Life. On The Simple Life, Hilton and Richie showed the world the jet-setting lifestyle of the super-rich. The young socialite established a career as a model and actress, and successfully launched her own music career and fashion brands. But fame also exacted it’s toll from Hilton, and she ran into trouble with the law and struggled in personal relationships as the overwhelming crush of fame and public life put pressure on the young star. 

Documentary promises a glimpse into Hilton’s life that fans have never been privy to

In a trailer released for the upcoming documentary, “This is Paris,” Hilton shows fans what they can expect. The trailer opens with Hilton walking into the foyer of her house, dog tucked fashionably under her arm. A photographer waiting to catch her turn around the corner reminds her, “Go back, do it again. Real walk.” 

Hilton chuckles, “what do you mean, I’m not on a runway?” The Heiress turns around to try the entrance again, and gives a graceful leap down a step.

Fame and the public eye 

The scene cuts into images of Hilton in the gaze of paparazzi and photographers, lights flashing everywhere and billboards showing her face. A voice-over of Hilton sounding somber and drained explains, “I feel like the whole world thinks they know me. No one really knows who I am.”

Driving her car, the heiress apologizes to the camera crew with her and says, “Sorry, I’m so used to playing a character. It’s hard for me to like, be normal.”

Paris Hilton

“I’m always putting on this facade or just like happy, perfect life.”

Hilton is asked whether she’s happy or not 

Hilton is asked, “are you happy?”

Hilton nods instantly, but the brittle smile and laugh she gives as she responds, “sometimes,” makes you wonder if she’s responding instinctively rather than honestly. 

Allusion to childhood trauma and abuse

A voice-over by sister Nicky explains while Hilton arrives in glamour to a packed show in Belgium, “They say trauma, the mind may forget, but the body never forgets. It’s trapped and it can come out whenever.”

The next scene shows Hilton pulling off false eyelashes in the mirror and crawling into bed, pulling a blanket around herself, and her voice-over can be heard, “I don’t even know who I am sometimes. I didn’t used to be that way. Something happened in my childhood that I’ve never talked about with anyone.”

Nicky, sitting on a couch with Paris, describes a scene from their childhood, “I just heard screaming, bloody murder.”

Paris explains, “I couldn’t tell you guys because every time I tried, I’d get punished by them.”

A home movie cuts in of a young Hilton at school as a hand-wringing teenager with a pasted-on smile, and presumably her father’s voice can be heard saying, “Here we are, Paris’ school!”

Hilton reflects on whether her TV persona is enough for the creative heiress

Hilton continues somberly, “I still have nightmares about it. The only thing that saved my sanity was thinking about who I wanted to become when I got out of there. I created this brand and this persona and character, and I’ve been stuck with her ever since.”  

Off-camera, someone asks Hilton, “is that enough?”

Eyes brimming with emotion, Hilton says tensely, “No.”

The abuse Hilton experienced is horrifying to hear recounted

In an interview with PEOPLE, Hilton described her horrifying experience at school, “‘The staff would say terrible things. They were constantly making me feel bad about myself and bully me. I think it was their goal to break us down. And they were physically abusive, hitting and strangling us. They wanted to instill fear in the kids so we’d be too scared to disobey them.’

Four of Hilton’s former teen classmates also appear in the documentary, making similar allegations about Provo Canyon School, including that they were often force-fed medication and held down by restraints as punishment.

When one of her classmates told staff that Hilton had plans to run away (‘you couldn’t trust anyone there,’ she says), she says she was placed in solitary confinement. “They would use that as punishment, sometimes 20 hours a day.’

Paris Hilton

The fear of continued abuse began to take its toll on the once vibrant teen.

‘I was having panic attacks and crying every single day,’ says Hilton. ‘I was just so miserable. I felt like a prisoner and I hated life.’”

Nothing fans have ever seen before

No matter what Hilton reveals in the documentary, it’s clear that she’s going to show fans something they’ve never seen before. This glimpse into her personal life and the way her mind works will expose a side of Hilton that she’s carefully cultivated away from the cameras. While fans may be eagerly anticipating what they may learn about their favorite actress and super-star, it’s also good to keep in mind how brave it is for Hilton to speak out about her childhood trauma. It’s never easy to disclose something that has traumatized you, and doing so publicly requires double the courage. This is Paris will undoubtedly be the show to watch when it airs on YouTube on September 14th.