The metaverse is hot, but at this year’s Cannes Lions festival, Paris Hilton was even hotter. The self-declared “Queen of the Metaverse” was hosting mainstage panels with fellow NFT promoter Gary Vaynerchuk, snapping selfies with lines of fans, taking back-to-back meetings with brands, and getting generally nerdy about Web3 and what’s to come in the metaverse—while also finding time to DJ yacht parties until 3 a.m.
In a panel discussing all things metaverse aboard the iHeartMedia yacht, Hilton was joined by the CEO of iHeart’s Digital Audio Group, Conal Byrne, and others to discuss the future of virtual living, from the true utility of NFTs to finding community through digital spaces.
“I feel like Web2 kind of disconnected people, just from everyone always looking down at their phone and, like, texting each other, not even wanting to pick up the phone and call,” Hilton later told Ad Age in an interview. “But now with the metaverse, it’s like, you can actually feel like you’re in the room with them.” (See more from our conversation with Hilton below.)
The future of the internet, according to fellow panelist Eric Pulier, founder and CEO of Vatom, involves a shift to ownership, a push to let everyone share in a piece of the digital world. The tech-hybrid future he envisions would be optimized for interoperability not only between online platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite and Horizon Worlds, but also mix with the physical world as well.
“If I pick up a Coke [in Roblox],” he explained, “I should be able to take it to 7-Eleven and get a real Coke.”
Hilton, incidentally, is joining a new podcast project from iHeartMedia called “Prop Culture” out of the media company’s recently announced NFT-hosted network, the Non-Fun Squad And Non-Fun Podcast Network. The show, which iHeartMedia claims is the first hosted by NFTs, will feature voice actors, including Hilton, performing the back stories of NFT characters from top metaverse groups, including Bored Apes, Mutant Apes, CryptoPunks, Quirkies and more. The show, announced at the panel, is available to stream now from iHeartMedia.
Hilton was an early adopter of Web3, releasing a line of digital wearables in 2015 with Animoca and building an early version of her own metaverse platform Paris World, now hosted in Roblox, in 2016. She has since grown an entirely new fanbase from her work in the celebrity crypto market and tops the list of innovators in the space thanks to her unique perspective combining social marketing prowess and what she calls her undercover nerdom.
Hilton sat down with Ad Age to explain what it all means and where she thinks we’ll end up within our new metaverse lives.
his interview has been lightly edited for space and clarity.
You were an early adopter of crypto, Web3 and everything metaverse. From that time to now, what is the most exciting evolution in that space?
Oh, my God. What excites me so much is just how the technology makes you feel like you’re really there. Just the other day I was on my Oculus with my friends—one was in Ibiza, one was in London, we were all in this [virtual] room together—and it just, like, felt so real. And being able to have that connection, it’s more fun than being on Zoom, because you could be in this fantastical world and you can build your own worlds.
You know, before, I used to have to travel 250 days out of the year and I was touring and traveling—it was just a lot—and DJing all around the world, which is a big part of my business as well. But now that I’m married, and I want to have a family next year, I’m obviously not going to be able to be in Ibiza for four months in the summer and DJing at five in the morning, so I love how now with the metaverse, I’m able to do all of this. Even on my honeymoon, when I was DJing [virtually in Paris World] on New Year’s Eve there, I was literally laying in bed, like on the water in the Maldives, and I’m, like, literally, this is sick, like I don’t even have to fly anywhere, I could just be there, but people feel like they’re really there with me.
So that’s something that’s super exciting for me and really just everything we’re doing with my media company, 11:11 Media. NFTs, metaverse, Web3, that’s just a huge, huge push for us, especially just elevating creators, and especially elevating females and people who just want their dreams to come true. And that’s what I feel like what 11:11 is about—it’s like Make-A-Wish.
Full Story here at AdAge.