The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

47° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Paris Hilton’s better half

    For fine arts graduate student Laura Milkins, dressing up like Paris Hilton has provided insight into the prejudices that come with blonde hair and a spray-on tan.
    For fine arts graduate student Laura Milkins, dressing up like Paris Hilton has provided insight into the prejudices that come with blonde hair and a spray-on tan.

    For fine arts graduate student Laura Milkins, dressing up like Paris Hilton has provided insight into the prejudices that come with blonde hair and a spray-on tan.

    “”Sexy here is a little bubble gum,”” Milkins said.

    By transforming herself into the physical mirror image of the world’s most infamous celebrity, Milkins said she hopes to apply her own Midwestern values, which include the importance of cooking, sewing and doing things for other people, to Hilton’s “”dumb, culture-obsessed and sometimes even mean”” celebrity image.

    “”I’m not trying to become Paris; I’m trying to make her into me,”” she added.

    Inspiration for the project, Milkins said, came as a result of frustration in the lack of kindness and intelligence in today’s role models: celebrities.

    “”The role models that young girls have today aren’t very good,”” Milkins said.

    “”I wanted to transform physically into Paris and then reform her by taking my Midwestern values and applying them to her image.””

    Milkins, who worked out for two hours every day on a restricted diet of 1,500 calories, has lost 20 pounds since the beginning of her three-month experiment, dubbed “”Reclaiming Paris.”” The newly dyed blonde now also has acrylic nails and said she is looking into receiving collagen in her lips.

    “”This project has called into question my own judgments about other girls and my own prejudices,”” Milkins said. “”Why can’t you dress any way that you want?””

    In an effort to document her progress, she has created a MySpace blog, which includes daily images of Milkins in a bathing suit juxtaposed with similar images of Paris Hilton.

    The blog, she said, has created a forum of participation by friends and interested people who view her diet each day and vote on outfits she should wear as “”Paris.””

    “”When you give yourself away as an artist, people can really get into it, and it’s amazing,”” Milkins said.

    Carlos Moore, a studio art junior, said he has watched Milkins transform into Hilton during his art 104 three-dimensional design class, for which Milkins is an instructor.

    “”Everyone idolizes Paris, and she wanted to explain there’s more to Paris than what everyone thinks,”” Moore said.

    Moore said he thinks Milkins has done a great job of becoming Paris since the start of the semester.

    “”I didn’t really notice her much before she began the transformation, but now she’s more talkative and outgoing,”” Moore added.

    The transforming artist is no stranger to experiments such as this. Last year, Milkins was involved in two similar culture-based experiments.

    The first involved silencing herself in an effort to become a better listener.

    In the other project, titled “”Dress me Sexy,”” Milkins had female friends dress her in outfits they thought were “”sexy,”” then interviewed men to see how the looks were received.

    “”In ‘Dress me Sexy,’ I was essentially asking, ‘Who do you think I should be?'”” Milkins said.

    In “”Reclaiming Paris,”” Milkins added, the primary question was, “”What if I let my culture tell me who I should be?””

    At the end of “”Reclaiming Paris,”” Milkins said she is planning on doing a self-assessment that outlines the type of person she is and who she’d like to become.

    “”I’d like to have my external image fit who I am,”” Milkins said. “”Maybe it will be me in blonde hair, or maybe it will be what I looked like before.””

    Milkins has participated in many public appearances dressed as Hilton, including an event Nov. 9 in the courtyard between the UA Art Museum and the Art building, where she cooked tortillas for a crowd of about 30 students.

    “”All of my assumptions about what is important have really been brought into question in this project,”” Milkins said. “”People are far more accepting than you can imagine.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search