Perez Hilton: Pink on the Inside
BY Brandon Voss
September 01 2011 4:00 AM ET
Do you see your children’s book as part of the master plan to be a kinder, gentler person?
No. Well, it’s a step in that direction, but the idea first came to me before I made that change.
You’re still a controversial figure who has been involved in some very adult scandals in the past. Are you worried that parents will be hesitant to buy their children a book written by the notorious Perez Hilton?
I didn’t think of it that much — I just thought it was such a cool idea — but at first my publisher didn’t want to do the book, and probably for those exact reasons. Thankfully, after enough convincing and time passing, the publisher saw my vision and how sincere I was about my intentions. I’m aware that there’s going to be skepticism, but I also think I’m the perfect person to write a children’s book. I’m walking the walk, I’m living by my word, and I’m hopefully setting a good example for children: I’m a guy who was behaving in a certain way, I realized I was wrong, I recognized changes that needed to be made, and I made those changes. Now I’m trying to do a lot of good in the world, which includes stepping up my charity efforts. This year I’ve been dedicated to [the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network] and raising as much money for them as I can. I’m actually donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to GLSEN.
Your young hero has pink hair, obviously, and loves to cook pink foods, but there’s no evidence of his being attracted to the other little boys. Were you careful not to sexualize him in any way?
I also was careful not to give him a name, because I wanted everyone to imagine that they were him. But yeah, in my mind he’s like 6 years old, and you’re not sexual at 6.
Talk to me about the book’s beautiful illustrations.
I’m so proud of the illustrations. The illustrator, Jen Hill, has never done a children’s book before, and I’m so excited to share and promote new talent. I went through a lot of illustrators before we found her because I was very specific with how I wanted the book to look. I wanted it to have a hand-drawn feel and to evoke an air of nostalgia and a sense of sweetness, and the illustrations communicate that so wonderfully.
You also scored quotes from some high-profile celebrities for the back cover.
It’s really blown my mind the people who gave us quotes. Ricky Martin, Gaga, Dolly Parton, Cher, Selena Gomez, and Gloria Estefan all gave me a quote. They all loved it; they were happy to share their thoughts and encourage people to pick it up.