Paris Hilton said she “cried” when she saw herself on the cover of Playboy in 2005 because she never consented to the magazine using photos of her.
As the 42-year-old reality star and businesswoman writes in her recently released autobiography, “Paris: The Memoir,” she had turned down a seven-figure offer from late founder and editor-in-chief, Hugh Hefner, but still wound up making the cover anyway.
“Hef really wanted me to do a Playboy cover,” Hilton recalled. “He kept offering me more and more money, saying I wouldn’t have to be totally naked, just topless. And then saying, I didn’t have to be topless, just sheer. And then saying I could wear whatever lingerie I wanted.”
“Even when he offered seven figures, I turned it down, because I knew my mom would lose her mind, and because I had already been branded as a slut after the sex tape,” she continued. “I felt like a Playboy pictorial would just cement that in people’s minds.”
Hilton said that, in 2000, when she was living with Playboy bunnies Jennifer Rovero and Nicole Lenz in Los Angeles, and regularly attended parties with them at the Playboy Mansion, Hefner had approached her about being a cover, something she at the time thought “would be awesome.”
However, her mom Kathy Hilton — who she wrote had also been approached by the magazine when she was a teenager — told her not to do it as she regarded being a Playboy model as “so trashy.”
While Hilton listened to her mom, her image did end up appearing on the cover four years later, shortly after she appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for burger chain Carl’s Jr., which she writes was “later banned from TV for being too sexy.”
“No one was terribly surprised to see me on the cover of Playboy,” she wrote. “Except me. I was surprised. And not in a good way.”
“Hef had ‘honored’ me with the Sex Star of the Year Award, which means they can claim it’s ‘news’ and not a pictorial,” Hilton explained.
“He got a picture from an old test shoot with a woman photographer who was really great. It’s kind of an old-school pinup-girl vibe: red bustier and heels, black fishnets, very little actual skin — nothing as sexy as the Carl’s Jr. shoot.”
“I imagine it sold well because people expected to see me naked inside the magazine,” she continued. “Surprise, suckers. They got nothing. Same as me.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Hilton remembered that her “parents were pissed, and I cried,” but “none of us confronted him, because you just didn’t do that.”
Representatives for Playboy, which is still in operation but shuttered its print magazine in 2020, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.