Perez Hilton: Pink on the Inside

Now releasing a children’s book, The Boy With Pink Hair, the new man behind the controversial brand explains why he’s a great role model for kids — even if he’ll never be Neil Patrick Harris.

BY Brandon Voss

September 01 2011 3:00 AM ET

PEREZ HILTON MAIN X390 (TRAVER RAINS) | ADVOCATE.COM

 To what extent were you bullied for being different as a kid?
I got bullied just as much if not more for being fat than for being clearly gay and in the closet. I went to an all-boys Jesuit school in Miami from sixth through 12th grade. Thankfully, I never contemplated suicide, and I wasn’t so miserable that I wanted to leave school. Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

You’ve often been described as a cyber-bully. Because history has a way of repeating, how much do you think your being bullied manifested into your own bullying ways?
Not that much. It had more to do with the nature of the Internet and how that beast has morphed over the years. In the real world and in my real life, I’ve always been a really nice person. But I adopted this character and this persona that was not so nice all the time. So one of the many things that I’ve been doing over the past year — it’s been almost 12 months now — is taking this mask off and showing the world more of the real me.

Doesn’t dropping that professional mask make you susceptible to attacks on a more personal level?
I’ve put a lot of thought into this. Unlike a lot of other people in the public eye, I still genuinely don’t care about being liked. What matters to me now is that people don’t perceive me as someone who’s a negative influence on culture and the world. I don’t want gay people to be ashamed of me or to think I’m a stigma on the community. Gay people don’t have to like me, as long as they aren’t embarrassed that I’m one of them. Not everyone likes Suze Orman or Rosie O’Donnell, but I don’t think anyone’s saying that they’re making the world a worse place. That’s what matters to me: I don’t want people thinking I’m making the world a worse place.

 So as long as no one thinks you’re a complete monster, you can tune out what people say about you? You’re totally unfazed by vicious, catty comments?
When I was unhappier, what people said didn’t bother me because I could hide behind the mask of Perez. Now I feel happier than I’ve ever been in my whole life, so it still doesn’t bother me. I turned 33, the year of Christ, the double prime — it’s a powerful number and a powerful year — and I’m taking steps in the right direction in every part of my life, professionally and personally. These last 12 months of growth have been the most cathartic of my whole life. I even started therapy. I’ve been putting the work into myself, making myself better, happier, healthier, and hopefully that reflects itself in my websites and in everything else that I do.

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