Turning a blog into an empire
The gig: As the self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media,” Hilton has become a pop culture phenom with his Hollywood gossip blog, which draws about 7 million page views a day. PerezHilton.com is filled with snarky comments and paparazzi photos and helped usher in 24-hour celebrity “info-tainment.”
Education: Bachelor’s degree in drama from New York University.
Former jobs: Publicist, actor and journalist at gay publications and tabloid Star magazine.
Got the idea: Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, began blogging as a hobby after seeing how easy it was. He focused on Hollywood “because it was something I was inherently curious about, fascinated with. And, let’s face it, celebrities -- a lot of them -- are crazy.”
Along the path: Started his blog, then called PageSixSixSix, in 2004 with a post about Howard Stern. Within months, tabloid TV show “The Insider” dubbed it “Hollywood’s most-hated website.” This led to a huge boost in Web traffic.
Name change: After getting sued by the New York Post, which publishes gossip section Page Six, Hilton changed the blog’s name to PerezHilton.com. The name reflects his Cuban roots and “the wacky world of celebrities.” And what does pal Paris Hilton think? “She loves it.”
How it works: Hilton, 30, constantly checks his e-mail, text messages and voice mail and scours the Web for the latest gossip on “A-listers to D-listers to Z-listers,” updating his blog an average of 40 times a day. His sources include publicists, agents, managers, dog walkers, nannies and celebrities themselves. Advertisers pay as much as $54,000 to run a one-day ad package on the site.
First big purchase: A new Toyota Camry.
Most surreal moment: When Madonna made him a video in which she seductively asked, “Who do you love more: me or [Hilton’s dog] Teddy?” Naturally, Hilton posted the clip -- and his response -- on his blog.
Guilty pleasure: “Cheesy pop music,” especially British group Girls Aloud.
The Perez brand: Hilton debuted a clothing line, sold exclusively at retail chain Hot Topic, last week. He also appears in a summer movie, “Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild,” hosts a syndicated radio show, is writing a book on celebrities and is in talks to start his own record label. “I want my own little empire.”
What fame hasn’t brought: Hilton dishes that “in 2007, I got laid once. One time. Which, for a gay man, is unheard of. That’s like, celibate.”
In his own words: “I think what I do is noble. I think my job title is entertainer. I shine the light on celebrities behaving badly, and I also shine the light on those that get it right. And those that get it right, I applaud.”