She's been eclipsed in the famous-for-being-famous department by her former assistant, Kim Kardashian. But while the socialite hasn't exactly been in the spotlight in the U.S., the business of being Paris Hilton is booming, especially overseas.
Ten years since she launched her first perfume, Paris Hilton for Women, her perfume line has had $2 billion in retail revenues, according to Parlux, which creates Paris Hilton perfumes and is the manufacturer and global distributor of a number of fragrances, 22 percent of which, according to Parlux President Donald Loftus, are celebrity perfumes, including fragrances for Rihanna, Jay Z, Pitbull, Sofia Vergara and Jessica Simpson.
Last year, Parlux told Women's Wear Daily that Hilton is "their longest-standing celebrity to date, and over time, she will be the most profitable." Although the $2 billion figure can't be confirmed, Parlux also said that in the 10 years Hilton has been releasing perfumes -- 18 in total -- she's sold around 40 million bottles.
So who is buying Paris Hilton fragrances? Only 30 percent of Hilton's perfume sales are in the U.S. and the other 70 percent are in the international market. Loftus says her biggest markets are Mexico, South America (Panama and Columbia), Singapore, China, Korea, Dubai -- and England.
And what's her appeal there? “For the international market she represents glamour and an aspirational lifestyle," Loftus said. "She’s a pop-culture icon." Her success, he says, can also be attributed to her hard work. "Unlike other designers," said Loftus, "Paris will do anything to promote her perfume. It's not just a licensing deal for her. She also refreshes herself -- from reality TV to fashion icon to DJ. She also has her hand in many different arenas from fashion to music to accessories to resorts. Her reach is far and wide, as a result."
In fact, she has around 16 other licensing deals -- for handbags, shoes and watches -- according to WWD, many in markets that haven't tired of the socialite's seemingly charmed life of dressing to the nines, partying and being an international DJ.
Hilton even recently released her track "Good Time" with Lil Wayne, part of her second album, to be released this fall.
At a press event Wednesday for the release of her 18th perfume, a limited edition of her first perfume, Paris Hilton for Women, at the swank Baccarat Hotel across from the Museum of Modern Art (not a Hilton hotel!) in New York City, Paris Hilton arrived spray-tanned, in a gold metal-studded jacket and Swarovski-covered high heels. She answered questions about her perfume, the bottle -- "I like sparkly things" -- and her DJ career.
She had a brief moment to talk to International Business Times, as beauty editors discussed their various juice fasts, and Baccarat waiters came by with tiny droppers to remove melted water from a tray holding a large block of ice placed on each table in the dining room.
She once told Vanity Fair that sometimes she heard camera bulbs go off in her head because she's so used to getting her picture taken. Can she ever go incognito? "Sometimes, when I'm traveling, I put on a hoodie, sunglasses and a SARS mask. But in Dubai, when I wear a burqa, I'm still recognized. I can't figure out how. I can see people going, 'Is that Paris Hilton?'"
And if she could describe her brand in one word? Barely skipping a beat, she replied, "Incredible."