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Paris and Nikki Hilton

Bling Generation: Young Wealth

Certain names in history will never be forgotten. They are the trademarks of wealth and power, extending a family tradition of fame and fortune from generation to generation.
The Getty family, Hilton sisters, Heinz sons, Bush daughters and more exemplify the power of wealth and how it affects the younger generation.  As many of these heirs and heiresses demonstrate, young wealth has helped them become some of society’s most alluring members.
Balthazar Getty, the handsome grandson of J. Paul Getty, carries the legacy of a family that was once one of the richest in the world.  His grandfather owned a vast oil empire until his death in 1976, when the financial powerhouse passed along his estate to his children and grandchildren.  The Getty Museum in Los Angeles continues to host some of the finest artwork from all over the world and still some of the Getty gas stations exist.  Balthazar is the son of J. Paul Getty III and Gisela Thacher.  In 1987, he was spotted in his school art class by a talent scout and was given an audition for the movie Lord of the Flies. Though he had no intentions to be an actor, he landed the lead role as Ralph, and the movie was a well-respected success.  Since then, he has taken part in many musical projects, modeled for Versace, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klien and now owns a production company.  Balthazar’s half-sister, Anna Getty, gracefully carries on the Getty legacy as a prominent socialite in the Los Angeles and New York high society circles.  The oil heiress is the daughter of actress Martine Getty and Rolf Zacher and is the stepdaughter of J. Paul Getty III.  Both Getty children have seen that with money, often comes tragedy:  their father, Paul III, was kidnapped and held for ransom in the 1970s and even had his ear cut off before the ransom was paid.

Perhaps less subject to danger, but no less subject to drama are the beautiful Hilton sisters, heiresses of the Hilton hotel fortune.  The great granddaughters of Conrad Hilton (the source of the family fortune estimated at US $300 million) grace the tabloids on a daily basis.  The elder of the two daughters, Paris, at 23 years old, has posed for GQ, Vanity Fair, and FHM and modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, Richard Tyler, and Guess?.  She has been the subject of her own reality TV show, The Simple Life with Lionel Richie’s daughter, Nicole, and also has opened her own record label.  Her sister, Nicky, 21, is close at her heels.  She has already begun her own fashion label when Tokyo-based Samantha Thavasa asked her to design handbags, and her designs were such a hit that they have won over the likes of Britney Spears, Tara Reid, and Pamela Anderson.  Recently, Nicky wed 30 year-old New York money manager Todd Andrew Meister in Las Vegas with only the attendees being Paris and their friend, model Bijou Philips.
The Hilton-friendly Davis boys also seem to be media magnets.  Jason and Brandon, grandsons of billionaire Marvin Davis, attend all the high profile events in Los Angeles, and with Brandon dating The O.C.’s Misha Barton, they constantly make the headlines.  Their grandfather, Marvin Davis, made his fortune drilling for oil and natural gas in the Rockie’s and then took his wealth into real estate by buying the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Pebble Beach Resort.  The boys bask in the rich and famous lifestyle as well as help their mother, Nancy, and grandmother, Barbara, with her many philanthropic efforts – including the well-known Carousel Ball and the Race to Erase Multiple Sclerosis Ball.

The luxuries that come with being an heir are also part of the life of Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., the up-and-coming children of The Apprentice star Donald Trump.  It only seems fitting that Trump, as one of the wealthiest men in the country, not to mention in the spotlight himself for all of his recent endeavors, has children who are also making their mark with the Trump family name.  Ivanka, a student at New York University, is an internationally-recognized supermodel.  While she may be an heiress, she also has been taught to be as business-minded as the rest of her family.  She claims to have paid for everything but her education while maintaining straight A’s, “I make money because I have to pay for everything apart from my school fees.  My mother even makes me pay my own telephone bill.”  Her brother is similarly business-minded.  Trump, Jr. is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a double major in finance and marketing. Apparently, he aced his intensive studies in real estate.  The Trumps seem ready to prove that they are worthy apprentices of their highly successful father.

As for political inheritance, many wealthy politicians’ children also become part of their legacy.  Chris Heinz, whose mother, Teresa, is the wife of presidential hopeful John Kerry, was born into a family of fame and fortune. His great-great grandfather founded the H. J. Heinz company in 1869 in Pennsylvania, also where his father John Heinz served as a congressman and senator.  Heinz is not only a trust fund tycoon and one of the nation’s hottest bachelor’s; he has also latched himself to his step father’s political campaign alongside Kerry’s own daughters, Alexandra, 30, and Vanessa, 27.  Vanessa is a third year medical student at Harvard, while Alexandra is an accomplished graduate of the American Film Institute. 

On the other side of the political spectrum are Jenna and Barbara Bush, the 22 year- old twins of President George W. Bush.  They too are hot on the campaign trail while carrying with them the political heritage of two presidencies in their family.  Jenna, the more outgoing of the pair, is a recent graduate of the University of Texas, and Barbara is a fourth generation graduate of Yale.  While they are standing by their father’s side until the election, they have usually stayed out of the spotlight, with the exception of their feature article in July’s issue of Vogue.  Their mother, First Lady Laura Bush, has said of them, “Our girls are not public figures.  They’re the children of a president.”

Another beauty connected to political money is Georgina Bloomberg, the youngest daughter of New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Bloomberg, an art and design student at New York University, is also an accomplished horseback rider.  She has been riding since age four and since has won numerous awards for her talent, including Best Child Rider in 2000.  The young and gorgeous New Yorker finds that riding can set her apart from the legacy she has grown up with having a father who is a politician.

"Riding lets me be myself instead of being someone's daughter," she says.

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