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Thursday, 31 March 2016

RIP Tinkerbell and Paris Hilton's brand of 'handbag dog' celebrity

Paris Hilton, this week, announced the death of her beloved chihuahua Tinkerbell. Daisy Buchanan mourns the passing of an era when celebrity was fun - and tiny little dogs travelled with their own diamanté accessories










Paris Hilton has announced the death of her dog, Tinkerbell Photo: Paris Hilton/Instagram
Stop all the clocks! Cut off the Swarovski encrusted Blackberry! One of the world’s most famous dogs is no longer capable of barking with a juicy bone.
Tinkerbell Hilton, socialite Paris Hilton’s ‘firstborn’ and favourite dog, has passed on from natural causes. The chihuahua is making her way to the pink satin cushion in the sky. St Peter is ready with a flute of Cristal and a diamant√© collar.
Hilton announced the passing of her pup on Instagram this week, writing:
“My heart is broken I am so sad and devastated. After 14 amazing years together my baby Tinkerbell has passed away of old age. I feel like I’ve lost a member of my family. She was such a special and incredible soul. We went through so much together. I can’t believe she’s gone. I will miss her & think about her for the rest of my life. I love you Tinky, you are a legend and will never be forgotten.”
(Paris Hilton/Instagram)
 
Aged 14 (in human years), dear old Tink made a very good innings. And how many other chihuahuas get to live in palatial splendour, fly around the world, or become the break out star of a reality show?
We first met the tiny mutt when Paris and her friend Nicole Ritchie appeared on The Simple Life at the end of 2003.

Paris had reportedly bought Tinkerbell in 2002, after seeing the hugely popular film Legally Blonde – in which Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods, owns a chihuahua and dresses it in pink.

This was the moment when the world started to accept the idea that you could be an adult woman and dress entirely in pink, wear your hair in bunches, and carry a handbag that cost more than the average American weekly income which could double as a home for a small puppy with big bowels.
Tinkerbell was a totem of that joyous vacuousness.

A decade ago, the little dog - and owner - were redefining the parameters of celebrity. They were everywhere together, doing nothing, and making it look like a lot of fun. Paris lived for fun.

wreportedly inspired by the film Legally Blonde
 
In 2008 she told Esquire “Having a nightclub in your house really helps for having a party, because then you don't need to go out.” For fans of imported US gossip mags, Paris Hilton was our Marie Antoinette and Versailles had yet to fall.

Tinkerbell was an integral part of that empire (although some reports suggested that the chihuahua has been quietly replaced, several times, over the years).

The dog appeared on the red carpet, in adverts and was called the ‘first true canine companion of reality television’ by MTV.

After a 6-day episode during which she went missing in 2004 (Hilton offered $5,000 for her return) Tinkerbell appeared with her owner on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and charmed America.
This was a different era – the dawning of modern celebrity culture.

Remember how we foamed at the mouth with excitement when Paris, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears were pictured leaving a party and getting into the same car? Gasp.

No wonder poor Paris is devastated by the passing of her pet (not to mention her grip on the paparazzi).
Tinkerbell and Nicole in The Simple Life (Paris Hilton/Instagram)
 
Post recession, we’re becoming more cynical about celebrity, and famous people are very aware of the importance of being earnest. Emma Watson – named one of Time’s 100 most influential people - and Angelina Jolie are adored by right thinking people for their talent,human rights work and ethical attitudes. That’s increasingly how we like our female stars today

Even Kim Kardashian – seen by many as Paris’s heir, she actually started her career as Hilton’s assistant – is defended by fans with the words “but she actually works very hard”.

The death of Tinkerbell might mean that sheer social silliness has finally died too.

The cult of Paris and Tinkerbell might not have stood for anything substantial or honourable. But at least they had fun. At least they appeared to be parodying themselves. Too often now, we seem to have clung on to the posturing, vanity and constant exposure and ditched the part where anyone was allowed to enjoy it.

Hollywood wannabes are more likely to brag about kale than clubs, the late night has been swapped for the sunset hike.

Even Coachella, the LA festival that was formerly the ultimate celeb party, has turned into a glorified River Island shoot where no-one smiles and everything is sponsored by Pepsi.

So Tinkerbell, if you look down from doggy heaven don’t judge us too harshly. And get some well-deserved rest in your giant designer handbag in the sky.

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