In three short years, Mario Armando Lavandeira—you may know him better as Perez Hilton—has transformed himself from shy recluse to celebrity gossip maven, with his website generating millions in revenue and page views. With TV specials, his own fashion line, a tell-all book due next year, and, soon, a boutique music label, Hilton appears to be just getting started. David Browne profiles his unlikely, and legendary, rise in Wired.
"I want to be the gay Latino Oprah," exclaims the much-loved and much-reviled blogger, who sees himself as "still, in many ways, the ultimate outsider." (But a well-paid one. Ads on his home page cost $54,000, and his only employee is his sister Barby.) When Hilton notes with envy that Ryan Seacrest uses a helicopter, Browne concludes, "It's not hard to imagine Hilton taking off in a chopper himself one day, heading skyward as the rest of us scratch our heads, wondering how he ever got up there."