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London - Paris Hilton has come a long way from her not-so-humble beginnings as a hotel heiress, via an infamous sex tape to her current position as a ubiquitous media presence and “businesswoman” hell bent on global domination.
Nowhere is safe from Paris, not even the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the latest venue for one of Hilton’s handbags and accessories stores.
Of course Paris isn’t without her knockers and the idea that the notorious hard-partying socialite has opened a store in an Islamic holy place worshipped by 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide has proved a step too far for many.
Paris announced the opening of the store to her nine million Twitter followers on Thursday. “Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!” she tweeted.
Her announcement quickly prompted others to voice their displeasure and accuse her of “insulting Mecca”.
One person replied to her tweet saying, “R u kidding?” Another comment, “Saudi claim there are other ways to allow for pilgrims, & if religiosity is of such importance, why is @ParisHilton being allowed a store in Makkah?”
Another tweet questioned Hilton’s style of products and remarked, “that’s it? That’s why ppl are not buying it? Not coz she is a ‘adult star’ who happens to be rich enough to have her own brand and open it in Mecca?”
Others were more understanding: “Why the attack? This is a global brand found everywhere, whether it was in an Arab country or a European one.”
Another user said “Simply put, those who see this is a Western invasion of the Arab world shouldn’t be buying nor marketing their products. But to reject this concept and at the same time, buy all European and Western products is completely hypocritical.”
Paris has come a long-way since her early days as one of New York's leading It Girls in the early part of this century. She achieved international acclaim – and infamy – after a home sex movie she made with Shannon Doherty's ex-husband Rick Salomon went viral in November 2003.
Since then, she has tried her hand at a wide variety of careers including acting, singing and being a fashion designer - not always to great success, but it has helped establish her as a very powerful global brand.
There are over 40 Paris Hilton Stores worldwide and her products include perfumes, handbags, watches and footwear. She reputedly earns over $10 million a year from sales and charges $300,000 for personal appearances. Her net worth is estimated at $100 million.
The middle east is a growing market for Paris, and this - in the famous Mecca Mall, located in King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Road - is her fifth store in Saudi Arabia.
“So proud to keep growing my brand!” she recently tweeted.
To help improve her reputation in the region, she filmed a version of her BFF TV franchise in Dubai, UAE which was broadcast in 2011.
The show was less racy than the US and UK editions of the show, with alcohol, swearing and risque clothing kept to a minimum. The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had to give his blessing before filming could begin. - Daily Mail