The Photo That Changed Paris Hilton’s Life Forever Involved Breaking Into a Mansion

Paris Hilton is one of the world’s biggest celebrities, an heiress famous for being famous. But she’s also curated dozens of product lines and created a unique brand all her own. Sure, Hilton is undoubtedly wealthy. But she’s also done plenty to parlay her fame into even greater financial prosperity and remains a hard-working entrepreneur juggling many projects.

She’s come a long way from her days of Juicy Couture tracksuits and popping paparazzi flashbulbs. But it seems like only yesterday when she began her meteoric rise to fame. And much of it can be traced to a single photograph, snapped when she was only 19 years old. 

When was Paris Hilton born?

Paris Hilton attends "The Rover" premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2014, in Cannes, France.
Paris Hilton | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Paris Hilton was born in 1981 to Rick and Kathy Hilton. Wealth surrounded Hilton, the oldest of four children, from the time she was just a baby. As a child, she was good friends with stars such as Michael Jackson.

Despite her privileged upbringing, Hilton’s parents still wanted her to have a good education. She attended expensive schools such as the Palm Valley School and Dwight School. 

Hilton’s striking beauty brought her a great deal of attention at a very young age. She even worked as a child model for several years. At 19 years old, she signed with Donald Trump’s modeling agency and began stepping out at nightclubs and events more regularly.

Even then, Hilton was building a brand that would change the way the world viewed celebrity culture. 

What photo changed Paris Hilton’s life forever?

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At the age of 19, Paris Hilton was already a regular fixture in gossip columns. But she had yet to achieve worldwide fame. All of that would change after she posed for famed celebrity photographer David LaChapelle in a photo that got tongues wagging, the podcast Even the Rich recently revealed in the episode “Paris Hilton: The Not So Simple Life.”

LaChapelle shot the photo — showing Hilton in a pink miniskirt and see-through black fishnet top while flipping the bird to the camera — at her grandparents’ palatial estate. The infamous pic, taken after she broke into the mansion on a mission to score some great photos with LaChapelle, defined Hilton’s public persona. 

As the podcast episode explains, the photo of a young Hilton flipping the middle finger would also become a “prison sentence” — stereotyping her as nothing more than a pretty face. 

What is she doing these days?

Throughout the early 2000s, no celebrity garnered more buzz than Paris Hilton. From her eyebrow-raising ensembles to her escapades with stars like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, Hilton seemed to be everywhere at once.

As the years passed, Hilton’s fame never really waned. Still, she seemed to step out of the spotlight for extended periods to concentrate on her multiple business ventures, including fragrance lines and accessory design.

These days, Hilton is enjoying a career renaissance after opening up about her experience with abuse as a girl. She’s also as invested in her fans as ever, connecting regularly with them over social media.

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