NEW YORK — Imprisoned hotel heiress Paris Hilton has said she believes God has given her a new chance and she plans to stop acting dumb and put her influence to good use.
Hilton called television journalist Barbara Walters on Sunday from the medical wing of a Los Angeles jail, where she is being held for violating probation in a drunken-driving case, and Walters recounted the conversation on her ABC television show “The View” on Monday.
“I’m not the same person I was,” Hilton told Walters. “I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me.
“I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that. I have been thinking that I want to do different things when I am out of here. I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance.”
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Hilton was ordered back to jail on Friday after a judge overruled a sheriff’s decision to place her under house arrest on Thursday because of psychological problems. She had spent three days of an expected three-week term behind bars.
Walters said Hilton told her she had not been wailing, sobbing or screaming during her first three days in prison, as had been reported.
She asked Hilton what had led to her being “reassigned” to house arrest.
“I was not eating or sleeping. I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage. I was not myself. It was a horrible experience,” Hilton said.
“I feel as if I’m a different person,” said Hilton, known for her party-going lifestyle. “I’ve dropped my appeal. I don’t want to cause any more problems.”
Hilton’s reassignment to serve her sentence under house arrest by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca sparked national outrage and accusations of preferential treatment because of her celebrity status.
She was sentenced last month to 45 days in jail, but with good behavior, Walters said, Hilton was due to be released on June 25 after serving a total 23 days.
“I feel that the purpose of my life is to be where I am,” Hilton told Walters. “My spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen and that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me.”
When she is released, Hilton said, she might like to help in the fields of breast cancer or multiple sclerosis, diseases that her grandmothers suffered, or build a “Paris Hilton playhouse” for sick children.
Hilton, who said other inmates had been friendly, added that her skin was very dry because she was not allowed any moisturizer.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, “I’m not that superficial girl. I haven’t looked in the mirror since I got here.”
Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.