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Where’s Paris Hilton been? Busy building a global empire

Where’s Paris Hilton been? Busy building a global empire
Paris Hilton poses with a bottle of her 20th fragrance, called Gold Rush. (Sara Jaye Weiss)

Paris Hilton already has enough job titles to dwarf other multi-hyphenated celebrities. She's a jet-setting DJ and recording artist. She designs sunglasses and shoes and formulates perfumes. She opens hotels that have nothing to do with her famous family. And, an upcoming addition to her list of business roles will be Paris Hilton, tech investor.

It's all part of Hilton's agenda to be more than the club-hopping socialite and heiress she once was considered to be when she was younger; her name a frequent punchline for late-night talk show hosts, especially when her reality show, "The Simple Life," co-starring fashion designer (and fellow multi-hyphenated celebrity) Nicole Richie was still on the air.

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Hilton, who's 35, says she spends 300 days of the year on a plane, managing a global brand, which includes 50 eponymous boutiques — granted you'd have to go to Doha in Qatar or Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to shop in one of Hilton's stores. She put her first name on a luxury beach club in Paranaque City in the Philippines, and she is working on a second in the country's Pampanga province. She says there will be branded Paris hotels in the future in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas.

The latest addition to her burgeoning empire is called Gold Rush, her 20th fragrance since 2004. Hilton reportedly has sold $1.5 billion in her perfumes alone. Gold Rush eau de parfum (3.4 fluid ounces, $60) is available now at HSN.com and starting Aug. 1 at Perfumania.com.

"Just like I've grown up and matured, I wanted my new fragrance to do the same thing," Hilton said on a late June afternoon in a Beverly Hills hotel suite. Bottles of the fragrance — it's in the shape of a gold-and-glass bustier gown — were placed throughout the room, which was filled with an assortment of publicists, assistants and camera crews. For the event, Hilton wore an emerald-green dress and diamond solitaire earrings; her makeup was subdued, and her conversation was thoughtful.

Why create a new fragrance?

It's completely different from any perfume I've released before. I like to make sure I'm always bringing something new and special. When a woman wears it, I want her to feel confident — like the rush of new love.

What got you interested in perfumes anyway?

When I was little, I'd be going through my mother's [Kathy Hilton's] boudoir. She collected perfumes and had a big crystal cabinet filled with them. My sister [Nicky Hilton Rothschild] and I used to play with my mother's shoes and makeup and spray her perfumes all over ourselves. I've had a love for perfumes since then, and that's what got me started. I said to my mother, "One day, I'm going to have my own perfume." I didn't realize I'd have 20.

Aren't the fragrances simply a small part of everything you do?

I've got 17 product lines — sunglasses, shoes, clothing, makeup, watches. There are 50 Paris Hilton stores now, and we're opening 200 more. I'm getting into real estate, following [in] my family's footsteps, but my own thing, without the Hilton name. Soon I'll be announcing some huge projects in the tech world — really insane projects that are so futuristic and cool. It's top secret right now, so I can't talk about them yet.

Has it been hard to get people to take you seriously as a businesswoman?

A lot of people, when they saw "The Simple Life," assumed that was who I was in real life. Now, they see me in a boardroom and how I am and what I've accomplished. I think I've proven myself.

Before they meet me, people don't understand that about me. I work really hard. I optimize my time. I'm constantly traveling, but I'll never just do one thing. I have design meetings, appearances, interviews, photo shoots, look at properties, do charity work. At night, if there's a club or music festival I want to check out, I'll do that too. Success is something that fulfills me and makes me happy and proud.

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