Perez Hilton: Entertainer, Blogger, Pop Culture Icon & Inspiration to All

Photo: Tony Felgueiras/Flickr
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Tony Felgueiras

Photo: Tony Felgueiras/Flickr http://bit.ly/1dYCZZx

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Photo: Tony Felgueiras/Flickr http://bit.ly/1dYCZZx

Photo: Tony Felgueiras/Flickr
http://bit.ly/1dYCZZx

In 2004, the entertainment industry was taken in a completely different direction, a pink direction, to be exact. Yes, the global superstar and household name being referred to is Perez Hilton, owner and operator of PerezHilton.com – the most successful and well-known entertainment blog in the world. In addition to celebrity news, Hilton also covers the world of fashion, with a section on his site called Coco Perez. Now being ten-years-plus in the blogging world, Hilton is even bigger than ever. From frequent television appearances, to being a father and so much more, many wonder what it’s like to be Mr. Hilton on a daily basis. Luckily, I was incredibly fortunate to have spoken with this entertainment legend, asking him questions on a variety of topics: his advice for college students, memorable celebrity encounters and most importantly, how to turn your dreams into an incredible reality. Without further ado, let’s talk to Perez:

B: You have one of the most successful (and well-known) entertainment blogs in the world. What’s it like to operate PerezHilton.com on a daily basis? Obviously, you’re doing what you love, but is it ever stressful?

P: Well, it is a LOT of work on a daily basis – I’m ten years plus in, and I STILL work insanely hard, which is what you need if you want to excel at anything, whether it be work, relationships, fitness, you need to put in the hours; it’s as simple as that, and I do. As a result of that [laughs], I do get stressed at times, because I don’t get that much sleep, but that’s alright – on the weekends I sleep a little bit more; and I love what I do, so I feel really blessed.

B: Besides being a pop culture enthusiast, what was the main drive for starting PerezHilton.com in 2004?

P: It seemed easy. It seemed easy and fun, if it would have been technologically difficult or confusing, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I am a tech idiot – that may surprise people and I’m surprised myself that I somehow ended up working in the internet, but I love it ‘cause it allows me to use my creativity and the background I have in the arts to entertain people; I’m an entertainer and I call myself that before anything else.

B: Without a doubt, you’re the most entertaining man on the planet – you do everything! Which entertainment icon would you say is your idol? In what way(s) do they inspire you?

P: I would say that Madonna is my ultimate entertainment icon because she is very talented, in many different ways; not only does she create great music, she creates great visuals, she creates great moments, she gets people talking, she has an incredible work ethic and she’s relevant STILL thirty-years plus into her career.

B: Alright, I think its safe to say you’re Madonna’s biggest fan! Can you recall your first time meeting “The Queen?” How was it? Do you two still keep in touch?

P: The first time that I met Madonna was in 2008 at her concert in Las Vegas. I was surprised when her publicist Liz Rosenberg texted me, saying to meet her because Madonna wanted to say hello to me…and I just, was in shock, I wasn’t expecting that; so I go backstage and Madonna says “I’m so happy we finally met,” and that word ‘finally’ just drove me crazy, like Madonna knew who I was and had been wanting to meet me? Insane…and yes, you know, I am very friendly with Madonna’s whole team, and every once in a while I’ll send her a little message of love and support [laughs]!

B: Still on the topic of Madonna, did you ever consider starting a Madonna-only blog? You know, covering the latest and greatest Madonna news?

P: No, I would never start a Madonna-only-blog, why? Because, there’s already multiple ones out there; and besides, I’d rather talk Madonna on my website and, you know, reach larger audience.

B: Back on track, you’ve virtually met and interviewed every celebrity possible – what was the greatest interview experience you’ve had? Who was your favorite interviewee? Most rewarding?

P: I would say the best interview I ever had, the best interview experience I ever had was the first time I met Gloria Estefan in 2007. I had only been blogging – or maybe it was 2006…let me think…I think it was 2006; I had only been blogging two-and-a-half years and to meet her was such a dream come true; she was one of my idols growing up and I knew I made it when I got to meet and interview Gloria.

B: Having attended NYU, and graduating with honors, did you write for the school’s student paper NYU News? If so, please tell me that you were the leading entertainment reporter.

P: No, I didn’t write for NYU’s student newspaper, although here’s an interesting little tidbit, I always liked to think outside the box and do things my own way, and game the system – so being the clever NYU student attending the Tisch School of the Arts that I was, I found out that journalism classes for Tisch students counted towards math and science requirements; so I got rid of all my math and science requirements by taking two journalism classes at NYU and I loved it!

B: The story of PerezHilton.com is truly incredible – you’re an inspiration to all. What’s one piece of advice you would have given yourself when you were first starting out? Would you have done anything differently?

P: The one piece of advice I would have given myself when I was starting out is…um, oh god, that’s a good question, um, I would have just given myself some health advice [laughs] – I would have said your job is going to be all consuming, but, you can’t ignore your health, it’s important to be active and eat healthfully; and you know, for years I ignored that and allowed myself to get very heavy, and you know it’s not easy, but it’s easier to get on the right track when you’re younger; so I wish I would have told myself that. And what would I have done differently? I would have done a lot differently, most importantly I would have still been fun, and clever, and sassy, but not in a mean and hurtful way. I wish I could have taken back a lot of the things that were just really cruel that I said about celebrities – that’s not cool.

B: Following up, what’s some advice you can give to college students who want to follow in your footsteps? Now, what about in terms of starting their own blog?

P: Alright, my advice to any college student regardless of whether they want to start their own blog, or follow in my footsteps is I often like to quote the musical Gypsy, and there’s a great line in that show: “you gotta’ get a gimmick if you wanna’ get ahead,” and that is so true – meaning you need to find what it is inside of you which makes you special, and different from everybody else, and share it with the world. When you’re able to do that, that’s when you can really shine and succeed.

B: The entertainment industry is one of the toughest industries to get into. What advice could you give to aspiring entertainment hopefuls in college?

P: My advice is, give yourself a time limit – I would say, give yourselves four years, and if by twenty-six you haven’t done what you’ve set-out to do, or close, or are on your way there, then reevaluate what makes you happy, because you don’t want to be thirty and…you know, trying to be an actor in Hollywood and have worked at a restaurant for the last ten years; or you don’t want to be thirty-two and have worked at a restaurant for the last ten years.”

B: In college, we’re constantly told that internships are everything – they’ll help you land your first job. What’s your view on internships? Were you ever an intern? Have any stories about interning?

P: Alright, I was never an intern, but I absolutely agree with that statement and my view on them – and I have actually two pieces of advice, one is, which I didn’t follow this but, I will tell my son this in the future, go to school in whatever city you want to live in after you graduate. So let’s say you’re from Topeka, Kansas, but you really want to live in New York City after college – go to college in New York City so that you can start interning in the city you want to live in; and I would also say start interning your freshman year, and leave after every semester. Leave every internship and leave them wanting more, so that by the time you’re done with college, you have tons of people in your address book that you can, you know, reach out to help you find a job.

B: Okay, I’m sure you’re aware, but you’re a fashion icon. Would you ever start your own clothing line? If so, what would your collection consist of?

P: I would definitely start my own fashion line, and it depends what it is. If I’m designing for women, I would make something really chic; if I’m designing for everyone, I’d make something really pop and colorful; if I’m designing for men, I would – include them in the everyone – unisex to men.

B: Okay, I have to ask – being the huge Britney Spears fan that I am (no shame), what was it like to work with Brit? Especially, what was it like to have been the opening video to her Circus tour in 2009?

P: Well, I didn’t work with Britney and I met her after I was in her opening video, for the Circus tour, but her team was awesome, and that was such a huge moment for me – I OPENED HER TOUR, and it was the best part of the show [laughs]!

B: Besides having worked with Britney, who’s someone you’d like to collaborate in the future? We know Madonna would be the first, but who’d be the second?

P: I would love to do something with Taylor Swift. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since 2007, 2008, and it’s awesome to have seen her grow and become accepted by so many people, and become the biggest pop star in the planet of the moment.

B: Finally, what’s some advice you can give to college students about life in general?

P: My advice to college students about life in general is say yes to as much as possible, get out there – sleep is for the weak.

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