The scene in Paris Hilton’s New York City apartment on Wednesday is likely to induce sensory overload. Sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild making conversation with an Extra TV crew? But of course! Framed photo of former First Lady Nancy Reagan holding Baby Paris? Naturally. A gigantic piece of artwork depicting a group of celebrities dining together, including Darth Vader receiving a sexual favor from Snow White? Okay. A bedazzled Birkin bag perhaps too close to a lit marble fireplace? That’s hot.
Then walks in the 36-year-old heiress-turned-mogul who clearly lives in this posh pad. Donning a red and black dress, Hilton matches today’s theme: It’s Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate what she describes as the happiest period of her life — she’s engaged to actor Chris Zylka, 32, whom she calls the only man she’s ever trusted — Paris has just released “I Need You,” a love letter to Zylka in the form of a doo-wop ballad. Making the single even more personal, Zylka directed the music video last week and, along with Paris, rushed to edit footage of her popping out of a birthday cake, laying nude on a bed of red roses, and lounging in lingerie.
“He knows how to do everything and he has such a great eye,” Paris tells EW of collaborating with Zylka, who is best known for his role as Tom Garvey on HBO’s The Leftovers. “I love having him behind the camera because it just makes me feel more comfortable than having some stranger behind the camera. In the shots, you can really see the whole time that I’m thinking of him and looking over at him. I think it’s amazing when you can find a partner in life that is creative as well and that you can make art together. I love that he’s just like me in that way.”
Though Paris wrote and recorded the song with producer Michael Green years ago — a demo has been floating around YouTube since at least 2010 — she says the song is more reflective of where she is in 2018. “Back then, I wasn’t in a relationship and I didn’t feel the way I do now, so it wasn’t really the right time,” she explains. “Back then, I was releasing more fun, sexy dance songs, and now just the words are perfect for how I feel: safe and in love and crazy about my baby. [Laughs]”
Indeed, Paris’ self-titled debut album was packed with club-ready pop. In her B-grade review of the LP in 2006, EW’s Leah Greenblatt wrote, “The Hilton heiress brings the beats. And God help us, we’re dancing.” But Paris, who became a household name in part thanks to her partying antics in the early aughts, seems ready to slow down and start a collaboration she’s never done before: marriage. “I feel like this is a new point,” she says. “I’m moving on to the next step of my life. I’m more mature.”
Sitting on one of two massive couches in her living room, Paris is wearing the reportedly $2 million diamond ring with which Zylka proposed in Aspen over a New Year’s vacation. The big rock raises a big question: When will Paris say “I do”? “We’re trying to figure out a date right now,” she says. “My schedule is so insane — I literally never have a day off. I want to do it soon, though, like summertime.”
But first, the dress. “I’m actually going to look this week,” she shares. “My sister and I are going to go to some showrooms and do some fittings. I can’t say [which showrooms] yet because it’s a surprise, but some really talented and iconic designers.”
Nicky, 34, opted for a Valentino lace gown for her wedding to husband James Rothschild at Kensington Palace in 2015, and Paris has her sights set on an equally memorable affair. “I’m very inspired by Grace Kelly,” she teases. “I just thought she just looked like a princess and was so stunning. I’m also inspired by Elizabeth Taylor, so I just want it to be very classic, elegant, and fun.”
The guest list remains to be seen, but there will no doubt be speculation about whether President Donald Trump, a longtime Hilton family friend, will attend. In a Marie Claire profile published in August, Paris described Trump as having “always been so nice, so respectful, and sweet” and commented on the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. “I think that they are just trying to get attention and get fame,” she was quoted as saying, leading to a public backlash. Soon came an apology and clarification.
“I want to apologize for my comments from an interview I did last year. They were part of a much larger story and I am regretful that they were not delivered in the way I had intended,” Paris said in a statement to the media at the time. “I was speaking about my own experiences in life and the role of media and fame in our society and it was never my intention for my comments to be misapplied almost a year later. I always believe in helping women have their voices heard and helping create an environment where women feel empowered and believe in themselves. I am deeply hurt by how this has played out and also deeply sorry. Moving forward I will continue to do what I can to be an advocate for girls and women with the hopes of providing a louder voice for those who may desperately need it.”
Of course, the months since have seen the birth of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements as several powerful men in Hollywood have faced a wave of sexual assault allegations. “I love what’s happening right now with the #MeToo movement and all of these women coming together and really making these men accountable for their actions, because it’s not right what people are doing,” Paris tells EW. “It’s a great thing for everyone to come and scare these people from doing it. I think men in this industry have taken advantage of women for so many years.”
Her summertime wedding means Paris is reevaluating her DJ residency in Ibiza, where she’s served jams to clubgoers every summer for half a decade. “We’ve actually been getting calls from every single club on the island, begging me to do a residency at their club because my Amnesia party for the past five years has been the most successful party on the island,” says Paris. “So right now, I just have to make a decision. The past five years, I’ve had to live out there for like three or four months. I don’t want to do that because that’s way too long. I think I’m going to make it more exclusive and just do a couple special shows, because I have my wedding to plan. Even though I love Ibiza and I love the music and performing, my wedding is more important to me than being in Ibiza. Plus I’ve grown up a lot and I think I’d rather be more at home this summer.”
Although her new single might suggest otherwise, this next chapter does not include a second full-length album. “I feel like with how the music industry is right now, everyone I feel is just releasing singles,” says Paris, who released “I Need You” on her own label, Heiress Records. “I have enough music to put out a full album, but I’ve been recording just on my off time for the past 10 years. I have 50-something songs that I have not released. But music moves so fast nowadays that a lot of the things that I recorded a few years ago, just that sound is not what it is right now. I think I’ll just continue to release different singles.”
In addition to the new music, Paris plans to release more perfumes — she’s currently prepping her 24th fragrance, the “exotic and sexy” Platinum Rush — and take some time to settle into a routine with Zylka. She hints that Paris the Mom might be her next reinvention. “I love being a woman entrepreneur and a businesswoman and running my empire, so I’m always going to be doing that, but I also want to start a family soon,” says Paris. “I think it’s important to not travel as much, because when you’re traveling 250 days a year and you have a family, it’s too much.”