With his keyboard he has the power to make or break careers.
Perez Hilton is the blogger who has become as famous as the stars he writes about.
His name is a comic jab at hotel heiress and tabloid fodder Paris Hilton, and his blog has become a must-read for celebrities’ fans around the world.
But while Hilton often breaks news, he’s as controversial as he is ubiquitous.
One of his trademarks is “outing” celebrities who he has reason to believe are gay. He has repeatedly been sued for defamation and copyright infringement after publishing photos on his site.
Fittingly, Hilton calls his blog “Hollywood’s most-hated website.” But being hated hasn’t ruined his career: Hilton has been tapped for a TV program and radio show.
Q: How does one go about becoming the world’s leading celebrity blogger?
A: When I started blogging a few years ago I thought only my friends and family would read my blog, and I didn’t even think they would like it. After six months I got on TV, and then people started getting really interested.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I’ve done everything. I’ve been an actor, a publicist, and a journalist. It’s a great preparation for this job.
Q: Where do you get your gossip?
A: Now people usually contact me. It ranges from people in the entertainment industry, both executives and lower-level people; celebrities themselves, their nannies and others who work for them. Lots of strangers e-mail me gossip as well, but I have to be careful with information from people I don’t know.
Q: How do celebrities treat you?
A: (Singer) Avril Lavigne hates me, but others, like Madonna, love me. She just made a video for me that I have posted on my blog.
Q: How is your gossip different from what one reads in magazines?
A: I don’t pay for information, so readers know that the information on my blog is more accurate than what they read in magazines. When people talk to me, money is not their motivation. The only time I was definitely wrong was when I wrote that Fidel Castro was dead.
Q: How do you find out about celebrities outside Los Angeles?
A: My blog is a community, and my readers are my friends. That’s why I write in the third person. I genuinely love my readers. They send me information about people I should write about. For example, I get about 100 e-mails every day from readers with suggestions about music I should listen to, and I listen to every song.
Q: Why do you have so many different hair colours?
A: Learn from the best. I try to be like Madonna and keep reinventing myself.