In the early 2000s, Paris Hilton was the poster child for the spoiled Beverly Hills lifestyle. But recently, the now-39-year-old heiress has revealed that she was hiding a dark past beneath all the pink, rhinestones, and purse-sized dogs she toted around. Over the past year, including in her documentary This Is Paris, Hilton has claimed that while she was attending Provo Canyon School in Utah, she experienced verbal and physical abuse. And now, she’s sharing photos from that time in her life.
Hilton was sent to the boarding school because she was rebellious as a teen, and was there for nearly a year. In a statement to People, Provo Canyon School said regarding the allegations, “Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time.” Hilton was at the school in the late ’90s. (Provo Canyon also has a lengthier statement on its website.)
On Thursday, Jan. 21, Hilton posted photos from the time after she attended the allegedly abusive school. Read on to see what she’s said about that time in her life.
Hilton says the photos show “the pain in [her] eyes.”
Hilton shared two photos of herself on Instagram in which she’s wearing an NYPD hat and T-shirt. “These photos were taken when I was 18 and had recently came home from the horrible experiences I went through at #ProvoCanyonSchool,” Hilton wrote. “I can see the pain in my eyes. I was so traumatized that I pretended everything was okay, trying to block out the painful memories.”
She’s proud of the woman she’s become.
“Looking at this now, I know that the teen me would be so incredibly proud of the woman I am today,” Hilton continued in her Instagram post. “Being brave and using my voice to make a difference and save children from having to endure the abuse myself and so many others have had to go through.”
Along with a short slideshow of the images, Hilton included a snippet of her 2006 song “Heartbeat” and the lyric “I was so sad, only I didn’t show it.”
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Hilton first opened up about the school last year.
In her documentary This Is Paris, which was released in Sept. 2020, Hilton said she was rebellious and would often sneak out as a teenager. When taking away her phone or credit card didn’t work, she was sent to boarding school, where she said she experienced physical and verbal abuse. In addition to Hilton’s claims, four classmates make allegations about the school in the documentary.
“From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture,” Hilton told People around the time This Is Paris was released. “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.”
She’s now fighting to get schools meant for “troubled” teens shut down.
Hilton has made it her mission to fight back against boarding schools that are meant for “troubled” teens. In Oct. 2020, she led a protest in Provo, Utah with others who say they experienced abuse while at boarding schools. She also helped launch a website database that contains the stories of others who were part of the “troubled teen industry” and works with the organization Breaking Code Silence.
Hilton told USA Today in December that she and those she works with would like to take their mission to the Biden Administration. “There’s a lot more work to do,” she told the publication. “I’m not going to stop until it’s done.” And for more on what the Biden administration has been doing thus far, check out The White House Just Mandated Masks in These 5 Places.