Kathy and Nicky Hilton ‘Owe Everything to New York,’ Pay Tribute to the City With 2021 FNAA Icon Award

The Hiltons’ most recent moment in the spotlight — Paris Hilton’s wedding extravaganza — may have taken place in L.A., but their hearts belong to New York.

Onstage at the 2021 Footwear News Achievement Awards Tuesday night at Manhattan’s Cipriani South Street, Kathy and Paris Hilton each paid homage to the city that never sleeps, reminiscing on how New York’s own icon status helped them to form their fashion and entrepreneurial identities.

“I feel that the word icon has really changed,” said Kathy upon accepting the 2021 FNAA Icon Award with daughters Nicky and Paris. “I was growing up here in New York in the fashion world in the ’80s and ’90s and I can tell you, there were five or six houses and that was it. They weren’t letting anyone new in and there was not what I see today. [It’s] beautiful it is that things have changed, that people are willing to collaborate and be there for each other and give back.”

The Hilton matriarch went on to talk about daughters Paris and Nicky, and what she’s taught them through the years — aside from inheriting a love for fashion.

I am very proud of my daughters. They have played hard and they have worked hard, and for a long time people thought, ‘Hmm, I don’t know about these people,'” said Kathy. “They’ve done a lot and they give back. I taught them one thing, they have to roll up their sleeves and walk the walk, talk the talk, and you have to give back.”

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Kathy Hilton onstage accepting the Icon Award with daughters Nicky and Paris at the 2021 FNAAs.
CREDIT: Getty

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star also revealed how she felt accompanying daughter Paris to Washington, D.C. in October, as the star testified before Congress on the hidden abuse within the “troubled teen industry” of adolescent care facilities and behavioral boarding schools.

“I could not believe that I was standing there watching her speak in front of very important people, congressmen and senators,” she said.

Nicky, meanwhile, reminisced on all of the icons that New York City has birthed — including herself and sister Paris.

“I owe everything to New York, and I love all the New York stories that I’ve been hearing in the room tonight,” said Nicky. “It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest icons are from New York or have lived in New York. There’s just something in the air, or in the water. I just want to say I love you, New York, thank you for the lessons, the laughs, the tears, for giving me so much love, inspiration, excitement and of course, style.”

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Kathy and Nicky Hilton at the 2021 Footwear News Achievement Awards at Cipriani South Street in New York November 30.
CREDIT: Getty

Paris Hilton may not have been on stage with mom and sister to accept the group award, but she thanked the audience in a video message taken while on her already famously-documented honeymoon.

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