Perez Hilton built his empire by being the Queen of Mean and his relevance is proof of that
Perez Hilton is up in everyone's business and he's always saying the most controversial things. Take the latest scandal he's embroiled in. After Brunei announced its new anti-LGBTQIA laws, he went on to claim that Prince Azim, who is the son of the Sultan of the country and fourth in line to the throne, is as gay as they come. While he recently argued that his outing the prince doesn't put him in danger, it is still a pretty rude thing to do. But, love him or hate him, there seems to be no way to ignore him, and Perez knows it. And the multi-million empire he has created is ample proof of that. If his blogs can make Fergie mention him in a song, well, he's definitely on the map.
A classic blogger to riches story, Hilton started his blog back in 2004 with a post about Howard Stern. At the time, it was called PageSixSixSix.com and Hilton was still Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. At a time when social media wasn't a thing, Perez's salacious blog was what was giving the world their much-needed dose of celebrity gossip. Everything he said has been unapologetic and unrefined, but he doesn't care, which is perhaps what makes him so successful even in the times of TMZ.
So how did this man with a computer and an internet connection turn into something of an infamous celebrity that we just cannot ignore?
Controversy has helped him grow and he knows just how to encash on it and his persona only adds fuel to the fire.
As he told Forbes in an interview after his blog outed 'American Idol' season 2 runner up Clay Aiken, he had no choice. "Back then, in 2004, I was blogging under my real name…And back then Clay Aiken was a big deal…And I outed Clay Aiken and I talked about him a lot and his fans were not happy. And in 2004 he had very passionate fans, the Claymates! Laughs. They found out my home address and phone number and posted it online and I was like, 'Wow. I need to stop using my real name and make it harder for people to track me down.'"
Just 6 month in, PageSixSixSix had been titled "Hollywood's Most-Hated Website" by The Insider. But, unlike others, he went on to embrace the title and the traffic it brought with it. However, the name that is eerily similar to New York Post's gossip column without the possible satanic reference, had to be changed to PerezHilton.com when the Post sued him in 2007. The name was meant to reflect his Cuban roots and the world of celebrities that he so clearly wanted to be a part of.
What started off as something that "seemed easy" catapulted Perez into mainstream success. He's worth $45 million, has a fashion line called Perez Hilton For Hot Topic, a thriving blog and YouTube channel. When he started his line back in 2008, his inspiration was what he didn't want to see. "I keep seeing these lines from the likes of Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag that give me nightmares. My brand will be very conscious of my audience," he had said at the time.
He is also an author of a children's book named 'The Boy with Pink Hair', has an album, has hosted multiple awards shows like MTV Europe Music Awards and has created and presented four-part British television series, Perez Hilton Superfan for ITV2 among other appearances.
In 2010, his blog's popularity was such that Avid Life Media, the owner of sites including HotorNot.com and Ashley Madison, wanted to pay $20 million to get hold of PerezHilton.com.
His popularity (or unpopularity) is strong even today - he boasts of 6.07 million followers on Twitter, makes headlines almost all the time and his wеbѕіtе hаѕ bееn lіѕtеd іn thе fіrѕt 500 mоѕt vіѕіtеd ѕіtеѕ and the fact that you can't stop hating on him after almost 2 decades, makes him even more successful.