The celebrity world lives in fear of him. High-powered Hollywood agents despise him and more than a few A-list stars would love to clobber him.
But this is what you have to contend with when your name is Perez Hilton and eight million people log onto your website every day for the sharpest, hottest celebrity gossip available.
But Perez, the controversial stateside celebrity blogger is a pal of mine so I was dying to catch up with him on a recent trip to LA. Despite his huge following, he modestly describes himself as a C-List celebrity. “I’ve just about gotten above D-List. I call myself a C minus,” he quips as we meet in an up market coffee shop in Los Angeles.
Perez’s success is all down to hard work. He works long hours, and has never slipped into a pattern of partying hard and messing with the Hollywood druggie crowd.
“I’ve watched so many people fall into the trap of becoming a hot mess. I get scared that it’s going to go away – and I don’t want my life to go away,” he says, over a cup of green tea.
And why would he? The former drama student from Miami is reportedly worth millions, lives in a stunning apartment in LA with his beloved dog Teddy and is just breaking into the music industry in a big way with a little help from Spice Girls creator Simon Fuller. The pair, along with Madonna’s choreographer Jamie King, are on the hunt for a five-piece boy band to rival the success of N-Sync around the Globe. “It’s the right time for a new boy band super group,” says Perez.
But it’s not all work – there’s another thing that’s a priority for him now. Having lost five stone in weight via having healthy meals delivered to his home and working out six days a week he’s now half the size he used to be and wants to settle down.
“I want to be the gay Angelina and have four children,” he jokes. “I definitely want to have kids. Whether I have a man in my life or not. I want kids. I am going to get a boyfriend this year I hope. And a good one. I feel like I’m finally ready for a man.
“For a long time I didn’t want to date or get naked with anyone. I was so fat. But I changed every part of my life to lose weight and have a better life.
“I got a dog, I’m working out six days a week, and I only drink once or maybe twice a week. I was fat and ugly and never wanted to hook up – for a gay guy that’s unheard of. I was like a monk or a priest. Actually not like a priest – they make out all the time,” he jokes.
These days Perez is considered to have the power to make or break many a career in Hollywood. He’s been credited with kick starting the careers of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. “I’ll never take any credit for Lady Gaga or Katy Perry’s success,” he admits. “But I knew within a month that Gaga was going to be huge. And what’s great about the Gaga story is as time goes on she’s carving her own niche. She’s not the next Madonna – she’s the first Gaga. She’s a performance artist in the pop world. She’s made pop music exciting again.”
He’s also voices his opinion on Katy’s engagement to Russell Brand. “I wish them all the best,” he says cautiously. “She’s seen a side of him that’s making her really happy and I’ll encourage love whenever I can. I’d be flower girl if asked! Ha. No seriously, I wish them a long engagement and an even longer marriage”.
There’s no doubting the fact that his years of experience on his website have given him a thicker skin than most. He admits he doesn’t care what people think of him. He says: “I don’t try to please everyone. What matters is what my family and friends think. For all those people who say what I do is trash or awful or that I don’t make a good enough contribution to the world, I’m shining a spotlight on celebrities behaving badly and those that get it right, I’m shining a spotlight on music and I’m shining a spotlight on political issues. I’m making bored people at work or in school happy and entertaining them.
“What’s funny is that these celebrities are so stupid. I’m purposefully trying to goad them, I’m purposely trying to get a reaction from them and they fall into my trap.”
And Perez – long may it continue. Long live the Queen.
WHO IS PEREZ
The self styled, Queen of All Media, the 31-year-old’s real name is Mario Lavandeira. He shot to fame in 2004 after setting up his website Perez Hilton.com – the name a nod to Paris Hilton who was at the height of her fame. He proudly bills it as Hollywood’s most hated website. A larger than character he is famous for his outlandish outfits, his fearless lampooning of celebrities around the globe and has a massive profile. A career highlight was dressing up as the ringmaster for Britney Spears’ Circus Tour.
PEREZ ON…..HIS THOUGHTS ON THE STARS!
“She will get back to being a success again but only if she wants to. Look at Robert Downey Jnr he’s turned it around. I think Lindsay needs to get 100 per cent sober. I mean no booze, no pills and nothing else. She’s not anywhere near that yet. The problem with her is in addition to her issues to drugs and alcohol she’s addicted to drama. She loves it, craves it, needs it and she creates it.”
“I love Miley Cyrus. She’s going to go off the rails like Britney. She’s totally the next Britney. I love Miley but that doesn’t mean I won’t criticize her. I mean I think she’s brilliant. She’s white trash and a hot mess already.”
“Robbie doesn’t want to make it here anymore. He’s happy living here in LA, searching for UFOs and getting married. That’s not going to work out. He’s still a hot mess. Some of his live performances have got me concerned. Looking at his crazy eyes he looks insane.”
“I criticized Demi for how her daughter was dressed. It was inappropriate for her 14-year-old kid to be dressed like that. I think you need to be at least 17 before you can dress like a ho.”
“Britney’s back but she’s boring. I still have never met her but that’s OK. If I had a choice of meeting Britney or doing the opening video for her tour then I made the right choice.”
“If Cheryl Cole does X Factor America then that’s pretty much the end of Girls Aloud. How will she be able to do X Factor UK and US and a solo career and Girls Aloud. I don’t think she’ll be able to do that. And nor should she.”
“They’re still hot here. There’ll be famous forever. Look at Demi Moore. Demi Moore has not been in a hit movie forever. Or Sharon Stone. She’s not done a hit movie forever but she’s still as famous as when she was a movie star. The Beckhams are international superstars and they’re boring. But I love that. It means they’re good parents and they have a normal-ish life.”
“Madonna actually managed to star struck me. She’s my ultimate icon and inspiration. I’m A-List in Madonna’s book and that’s all that matters to me. She made a video to me, she dedicated a song in concert to me, she let me sing with her in concert and she’s tweeted to me. It’s every gay boys dream to have Madonna know who you are. It’s unreal.”
Katie Price aka Jordan
“I’m sad that she and Peter broke up. I thought they’d be together forever. They seemed so close. It’s a bummer. I think her moment has passed anyhow. Her and Kerry Katona are over.”
“I worship Kylie. American’s don’t get her. But I get her. Her tour sold well recently. I saw it twice. She put on such a great show that word went around that she was good. I think if she were to come back then she may be able to do more nights or larger venues.”
“Taylor Lautner is an A-Lister of the future. He’s a B+ right now. He just got paid a ridiculous amount of money for a new action movie – something like $10 million. Insane.”