Paris Hilton was the reigning tabloid queen from 2003 to about 2007. The Simple Life made her and then-BFF Nicole Richie into household names, and both of the "famous for being famous" celebutantes capitalized on their It Girl status with clothing and perfume and shoe lines—oh my! The gals eventually had a falling-out, and while Nicole moved on to motherhood and more serious fashion pursuits, Paris seemed to remain a perma-party girl.
Nicole settled nicely into her new niche, and Kim Kardashian — Paris' former sidekick — claimed the role of reality TV starlet with a famous last name. Keeping Up With the Kardashians took off on E!, and no one could keep up — not even Paris.
But the hotel heiress wouldn't be sidelined. Despite several hits to her socialite status, she kept right on working. She returned to TV in 2008, searching for new best friend on an MTV reality series called Paris Hilton's My New BFF. This led to two international spinoffs in 2009 (Paris Hilton's British Best Friend and Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF), and she went on to do an eight-episode series for Oxygen called The World According to Paris in 2011.
Paris even padded her IMDB profile with a handful of acting gigs, including bit roles in House of Wax, Veronica Mars, Supernatural, and The Bling Ring (as herself). In 2012, she became one of the highest-earning celebrity DJs in the world (thanks in large part to a very lucrative gig in Ibiza). She's written two books and continued to produce her own line of clothing, shoes, beauty products and hair extensions. She's also launched multiple fragrances—bringing her estimated net worth to somewhere around $100 million.
She's clearly been doing OK without a reality show to her name. But unless you're a Paris Hilton super-fan, you might not have heard much about what she's been doing for the past decade. The headlines have been dominated by Kardashians and Housewives (including Paris' aunts, Kyle Richards and Kim Richards), but the OG reality star herself kind of faded from the spotlight. She never actually stepped out of it — we just quit paying attention to her every move.
Lately, though, we've noticed Paris sneaking her way back onto the scene. Her comeback (despite having never actually gone away) kicked off in August 2014, when Kim K. Instagrammed a photo with her former frenemy palling around in Ibiza. Suddenly, Paris wasn't just a reminder of 2004 —she was relevant.
She's continued to pop up on the Kardashians' feeds every now and again, and she even attended Kris Jenner's famed Christmas Eve party.
Cozying up to Nicole's kid sister Sofia Richie hasn't hurt Paris' street cred either. She doesn't fear the next generation, she befriends them, which would explain why Paris' Instagram is filled with photos of Ashley Benson and Emma Roberts.
Paris posted a few #throwbackthursdays recently to remind us that she was once a Vanity Fair covergirl, and to prove she's still in cahoots with present-day royalty, she posted a smiling selfie with Beyoncé congratulating the queen on her pregnancy.
And just last month, she rang in her 36th birthday with social media love from her aunt Kyle and former nanny Bethenny Frankel.
Paris has long been a member of the extended Real Housewives family, so who knows if she'll ever join the fray in the future. Loves it, anybody?