VIENNA, Austria — She could have danced all night. Instead, she stifled yawns.
Hotel heiress/reality TV star Paris Hilton certainly didn’t look like she was having a ball Thursday night at the Vienna Opera Ball, Austria’s society event of the year.
Live TV coverage repeatedly showed her looking bored as she sat in her luxury box at the State Opera House.
As debutantes in white dresses and their escorts in black tuxedos and tails marched into the ornate ballroom, Hilton was seen resting her head in her hands, absentmindedly flipping through the program and fiddling with her mobile phone.
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“Look how excited she is,” deadpanned a commentator for public television station ORF, which broadcast the ball live.
Hilton was the guest of Richard Lugner, a 74-year-old married construction magnate who invites a celebrity each year. His previous guests have included Geri Halliwell, Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra.
The annual Opera Ball draws about 4,500 well-heeled Austrian and foreign celebrities, dignitaries and socialites. Tickets often sell out months in advance.
On Friday, Hilton was heading to the Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl to celebrate her 26th birthday. Her birthday is Saturday.
The festivities in Ischgl included a Paris Hilton look-a-like contest and the “Paris Life Show” — photos of her growing up. Hilton planned to shed a white coat to symbolize the passing of another year, organizers said.
Earlier Thursday, hundreds of shrieking, frenzied fans welcomed Hilton as she made an appearance at a Vienna mall to sign autographs.
“Hello everybody, it’s so good to see you,” the 25-year-old cooed as the crowd went crazy. “Happy late Valentine’s Day!”
The session was cut short when several objects landed on the stage and Hilton was whisked away by security guards.
Lugner said the flying objects included cigarette packs, tissues and lipsticks.
The Austria Press Agency reported that sheets of paper that floated onto the stage were fliers from a communist youth organization.
Hilton later dismissed the incident as “no big deal” and said she loved her fans, APA reported.
She ran into a problem in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday because her passport had expired. Susan McCaw, U.S. ambassador to Austria, had to vouch for her so she could enter the country, APA said.
Slideshow: The week in celebrity sightings When asked what happened, Hilton replied: “Oh nothing, just my passport.”
Taking questions from some 100 reporters earlier, Hilton said she “loved” classical music and that she grew up listening to it.
“As a little girl, it really helped me fall asleep at night,” she said, adding later that she “really loved” old Michael Jackson songs, Madonna and hip-hop.
Hilton said there were “a lot of people who need help” in the world and that she planned to go to Africa sometime this year.
“As a celebrity, you can really make people aware of what’s going on in the world,” she said.
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