For nearly a decade we’ve known Perez Hilton as the snarky celebrity gossip blogger, a genre he popularized, if not created. Originally famous for never holding back his harsh opinions, and drawing obscene objects over photos of the celebrities everybody loved to hate, a lot has changed over the years. These days Perez is the doting father of two children (born to him via surrogate), he owns and operates several successful blogs/websites (including the original PerezHilton.com- which has been significantly cleaned up over the years) is currently staring in Full House: The Musical Parody as Danny Tanner, and circulates as both a television and radio personality. A couple weeks ago I sat down with Perez during a personal appearance at Macy’s.
How has recently becoming a father, both for the first and second time, changed your outlook?
It’s changed my outlook so much because it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I naively thought having two kids close in age would be like having one and a half, but it feels more like having three! Which is great, it’s just not what I expected or prepared for. In addition to the extra love and joy and happiness and smiles came a lot of intense fear and anxiety. So this year I’ve really been dealing with anxiety in a major way, that I’ve never really faced before. It’s positive because it’s making me think about the future. I’ve got to be prepared. I’ve got to be smart. I’ve got to save. I’ve got to invest. I can’t overspend. I have to get them into the right schools…. Ahhhhh. For awhile there this year it was overwhelming! But I’ve gotten over that and now it’s just a slight omnipresent anxiety. [Laughs] Right now it’s on a low flame.
You currently have so many different projects going on- What are you having the most fun with?
My new podcast! You can listen to it on play.it or subscribe on iTunes. The reasons I’m enjoying it so much are A. I had really low expectations when I started doing it, I only started doing it because I had to as part of my new radio deal, and B. It’s really an amazing opportunity to share who I truly am with listeners. Even though I’ve been around for 11 years people don’t really know who I am as a person. People know things I’ve said about celebrities, or maybe things I’ve done in the past but they don’t really know me. They don’t know why I think the way I do, or things I’ve experienced in my life, or what I find funny. So this show really gives me a chance to talk not just about the trending topics of the week, but also reveal a bit about myself.
We’ve seen you go through an amazing transformation during your time in the spotlight. What do you attribute that to?
I just grew up! I was in my mid-twenties when I started blogging, I was only 26. I think if you have a “2″ in front of your age you’re allowed to be an idiot, you’re allowed to make as many mistakes as you want, but once you have at least a “3″ in front of your age you need to start behaving like an adult. You can still do some of the things you did when you were younger but you shouldn’t be doing them the same way. You can still go out and go to a bar with your friends, but when you’re 35 you don’t need to be doing 5 shots of tequila. I still do what I did before, I just approach things differently now.
Since we’re here at Macy’s today, what can you tell me about your relationship with fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion, though I come at it with a very different point of view. I would rather be on the worst dressed list than no list at all. I purposely wear things that I think are super loud or really crazy, Elton John inspired, because I know it will get people talking and I’d rather get people talking than look really chic and sophisticated. Classically handsome is boring. Classically handsome isn’t going to get me talked about, but my Big Mac outfit from a few weeks ago made it on to WWD at fashion week. I got a bad grade, but I was on that list!
Over the years, what’s been your best celebrity encounter?
Madonna! When she invited me backstage to meet her before one of her shows in 2008, I was beside myself. I had reviewed the show the night before and mentioned that I thought she played too much guitar, so during the concert she said “I’d like to dedicate this song on the guitar to my good friend Perez” then she gave me a microphone during the encore and I was singing one of the songs with her. That was beyond my wildest dreams!
Which celebrity has surprised you the most?
I would say Taylor Swift has surprised me the most because she hasn’t changed though out the years, if anything she’s become nicer. If anything she’s become more amazing! I’m so inspired by her, her work ethic, her talent, her smarts, her humanitarian spirit, the way she connects with her fans. She meets them for free before and after concerts, other artists charge $500 to do that! She does so much for others, and is on top of her game at the same time.
Give me some good, snarky, old-school Perez… Which celebrity needs to get their act together?
I have to say Kylie Jenner. I mean, she’s only 18, but in many ways she should be acting more mature because she’s been in an adult world for so long. You look at her peers and I don’t think they’re acting quite like she is. Chole Moretz is her age, and couldn’t be any more different. She has it so together and is so posed. I have to say Kylie Jenner.
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]