The end of an era: Paris Hilton engaged

Paris Hilton, the woman who defined a certain early-2000s prototype of ultra-rich, openly vacuous reality TV stardom, is officially engaged.

Her fiance, Chris Zylka, an actor, proposed on a mountain top in Aspen, Colorado over the weekend, getting down on one knee to offer a pear-shaped diamond ring, reportedly valued at close to US $2 million, (2.6 million).

“The ring was so gorgeous and sparkling,” Hilton, 36, told People. “I was shaking as I put it on. It is the most beautiful ring that I have ever seen!”

Zylka, 32, who has been dating the former reality TV star for two years, was reportedly shaking as well.

One in a seven part series of photos of the proposal, as it appears on Hilton’s Instagram. Photo: Instagram

Hilton, who arguably functioned as a prelude to Kim Kardashian West, (the two were close friends), documented the proposal in a seven part post on her Instagram account, before uploading a video of the entire ceremony.

Diamond expert and celebrity jeweller Michael Greene, who helped design the 20 carat ring, told People that Zylka was careful to follow Hilton protocol.

“He wants the best thing for his princess. And he did all the right things. He told me he had to set up a time to meet up with Paris’ father to ask for her hand in marriage. He did the whole thing. All the traditions.”

Hilton, who has been engaged once before to Greek shipping heir and socialite Paris Latsis for six months in 2005, and had relationships with Kardashian-adjacent, Brody Jenner and actor Jared Leto, once moved in the same social circles as Nicole Richie, (her former best friend, and Simple Life co-star) Mischa Barton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

It was a time marked by Juicy Couture tracksuits, low-rise jeans, and defined abdominals.

It also marked the beginning of two mediums: celebrity blogs, such as the now notorious Perez Hilton, and women whom viewers loved to hate on reality television. In many ways, Hilton’s lack of social mores, her apparent thirst for publicity, her unabashed love of revealing clothing, her excesses and extraordinary wealth, paved the way for Keeping up with the Kardashians — a fact Hilton has never been shy about mentioning, going so far as to say she made her former close friend famous.

Although the persistent rumour that Kardashian West was not a friend but a personal assistant, is, according to Kim at least, false.

“I would work with Paris, and I would love to organise and clean out their closets and get rid of all their stuff and sell it on eBay and then shop for them, shop for her. That was my job. I loved it,” Kim recalled on Watch What Happens Live. “But people will say ‘assistant.’ They always have it wrong.”

Hilton’s engagement marks the end of her long reign as a party-hopping single woman, and the end of an era, because, as so many of us have learned by paying attention to the narrative of female reality TV stars, marriage functions as the perfect fairytale ending, and the beginning of a new creation as wife, then mother, and endorser of an entirely new ecosystem of brands – now aimed at brides.

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