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Paris Hilton: ‘I think I am a good role model’

The “Today” show's Ann Curry talks with the hotel heiress and aspiring pop diva about her new album and the media attention.
/ Source: TODAY

This morning on “Today” Ann Curry sat down with Paris Hilton to discuss her new album and her life in the spotlight. Here's the transcript:

Ann Curry: Paris Hilton is already known as a hotel heiress, reality television star, tabloid staple, movie actress, model, author and style icon. Well, now you can add pop diva to that list.

Girl #1: She's our idol. We love her. She's so hot.

Curry: Paris is still burning — Paris Hilton, that is.

Photographers: (as Hilton poses) Paris, right here! Paris, right here!

Curry: And she's now looking to heat up the music industry. On Wednesday, fans lined up outside a music store here in New York City where she made a personal appearance to promote her debut CD entitled “Paris.”

(Clip from Paris Hilton music video)

Curry: Hilton is counting on her music to let the world know there is more to her than what's been seen on TV.

Hilton: People just — they don't really know me. They see me on “The Simple Life,” they think that's really who I am.

Curry: With the reality TV show ...

(Clip from “The Simple Life”)

a steamy ad for a fast food restaurant ...

(Clip from Carl's Jr. fast food ad)

Curry: ... a feature film ...

(Clip from “House of Wax”)

Curry: ... and a famous homemade video, plus Paris' party life ...

(Footage of Hilton laughing with friends)

Curry: ... it's no wonder that everyone feels they know Paris.

Unidentified woman: She's rich, and she's skinny and blonde and beautiful.

Unidentified Man: Yeah.

Woman: And she's a party girl, so she's always out and around.

Curry: Some agree that life as a Hilton heiress looks pretty good.

Joe Levy (Rolling Stone Magazine): Why are people fascinated with Paris Hilton? Well, she's pretty, she's extraordinarily rich, there are no rules holding her back. This is the kind of life that people wish they could lead — or think they want to lead.

Curry: With this new CD, the rich party girl hopes that people will finally get to see and hear the real Paris Hilton.

Hilton: Now I want to do something that really comes from me. And that's what I love doing. I love writing music, I love being in the studio, and this is, like, my real passion.

Curry: Paris Hilton, good morning.

Hilton: Good morning.

Curry: You know, it's hard to believe you're just 25 years old. But the reality is, if people don't really know you, as you say, based on all they've seen of you, then who are you really, Paris Hilton? What don't people know about you?

Hilton: I'm a really good person. I'm down to earth. I have a big heart. I have feelings. And I'm just like everybody else.

Curry: Well, you seem to be trying to do everything. You know, we — I just mentioned a number of things you're doing — TV show, movie, author, you know, lingerie line, perfume line — but your manager says music, for you, is priority number one. Why?

Hilton: Well, since I'm six years old, I've been playing the violin, the piano, I've been singing. It's always been a dream of mine, but I really never had the courage to actually go and do it professionally.

Curry: So what gave you the courage?

Hilton: Just going through a lot in my life, becoming more confident in myself, writing my own music and just really getting in the studio and just doing it.

Curry: Mm-hmm. And now some critics have said, ‘Well, you know, this is much better than we thought it was going to be.’ Others aren't so sure that you have a singing talent. What do you want to say to people about this CD and your talent on it?

Hilton: You know, I had so much fun doing it. I love music. It's always been a big part of my life, and I don't think people should, you know, judge me by my last name instead of listening to the album. I think the music definitely speaks for itself, and it's a great album.

Curry: It deals a lot with love and high-profile relationships, which, of course raises a question about yours. And, you know, in the tabloids, that's all people talk about, is you and your relationships with other people. There's a quote I have to ask you about, because now this British magazine says that you've made a vow to stay celibate for a year, or at least single. Do you want to clarify that? I mean — or do you want to explain it?

Hilton: I just want to be single for a year and focus on myself, and that's basically what I'm doing.

Curry: You feel that maybe that other stuff is distracting your life, and you've made a change.

Hilton: I've just always had a boyfriend my whole life, and I've — now I'm really focusing on myself and I think that's more important right now.

Curry: So you're talking about a change in who you want to present to the world. That's what you're talking about.

Hilton: Yeah, definitely.

Curry: So do you feel any regret for what you've presented to the world until now? In other words, you know — I mean, a lot of the young girls in our audience here are big fans of yours.

Hilton: Yeah.

Curry: Your fans are — your fan base — 13, 14, 15, 16 years old. And, you know, a lot of what they've seen in the tabloids does not reflect, maybe, what we want our young girls to emulate, and yet they emulate you. Do you have any regret about that?

Hilton: Well, it hurts my feelings because the person that I read about sometimes in these gossip magazines is not the person who I am. So I don't want, you know, my fans to think that's how I am.

Curry: But, you know, you did do the ad that we just saw.

Hilton: Mm-hmm.

Curry: You know, you are very — you present a very sexual image to the world.

Hilton: Mm-hmm.

Curry: Do you think that maybe ... do you feel any responsibility for wanting people to, you know — young girls, especially — to see a good role model? Or do you feel that's really not your job?

Hilton: I think I am a good role model, and a lot of mothers come up to me and they're really happy, and I think if any girl follows their dreams then anything can happen to them.

Curry: You know, you dream high. You actually just also said in a recent interview ... you were comparing yourself — because of all the attention you get from paparazzi — to Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe. And, you know, that caused some people to think twice because, you know, Diana was known as a great humanitarian ...

Hilton: Right.

Curry: ... and Marilyn Monroe was one of the most popular actresses of all time.

Hilton: Someone said that to me and I just said, ‘Oh.’ I never said that, actually.

Curry: Oh, so you were misquoted there.

Hilton: Yeah.

Curry: So are you angry? Do you feel that people just don't understand you because you are misquoted, or do you feel that you need to change who you are a little bit to match ...

Hilton: I just think that the media is just making things up. I don't really pay attention.

Curry: Mm.

Hilton: I have so many great things going on in my life that I don't need to pay attention to some writer.

Curry: “Paris,” the CD, hits music stores next Tuesday, August 22nd. Paris, thank you.