Because of her checkered past, most folks don’t expect much from Paris Hilton. She, however, made it clear that she has high expectations of herself, while promoting “The Hottie and the Nottie,” a romantic comedy hitting theaters on Friday that she executive produced and stars in.
Dressed in a bright magenta mini with matching opaque stockings, a black blazer and chartreuse platform shoes, Hilton sauntered into the room about a minute after her co-star Christine Lakin, stopping for a little liquid refreshment before meeting the press. For the next 15 minutes reporters were literally held hostage in a controlled environment.
Yes, there were rules.
No jail talk, no sex talk, no Britney questions and no mention of all the stuff she’s done in the past to make herself such an intriguing pop cultural icon.
All those mandates didn’t much matter to me because I just wanted to know how Nicole Richie’s baby was faring.
“Oh, she’s so beautiful,” Hilton cooed while posing for pictures with ethically challenged journalists following the interview. “She looks like a little miniature Nicole. She’s like the cutest baby ever.”
Fearless or shameless?Even though Hilton’s film will likely be the top winner at next year’s Razzie Awards, you kind of have to give her credit for putting herself out there. She certainly does. Hilton said repeatedly in a string of long run-on unpunctuated verbal sentences that she stands behind her work as a producer and as an actress.
“This is the first film like I’ve actually ever been really serious with,” Hilton said. “Before I never really had an acting coach, I just winged it. This time I worked with Ivana Chubbuck (acting coach) every single day for hours a day. I even brought Christine with me a couple of times so we could work on things together off set.
“I don’t really pay attention to the things people say about me because I know that people sometimes feel that they have an obligation to be mean about me for some reason, and I can’t really change their opinion. But I think I did a good job and I’m proud of myself. That’s all that matters to me.”
Hilton, who also recorded a CD, launched her own fashion line (her shoe line debuts this week at Macy’s, Kitson and other stores), said she got a real charge out of producing her first film. “I like it because I like being in control, making decisions and just being a part of creating something,” she said. “But it is hard because you’re going to have a lot of stress because you have to work on- and off-camera. I’m so proud of the project. It didn’t bother me at all to work.”
“The Hottie and the Nottie” script actually came to her a couple of years ago, but she was too busy shooting “The Simple Life” to consider adding another cream puff to her plate. Once that show wrapped Hilton revisited the story about a glam girl named Cristabel (Hilton) being pursued by a guy (Joel David Moore) who has been pining away for her since first grade. But the only way he’ll get a chance with Cristabel is if he hooks up her rather unattractive best friend June (Lakin).
Again, you can’t expect much with a formulaic script like this, but something in it touched Hilton. So, she put her money behind it and is using her fame to help promote it.
“Reading it I was laughing out loud and also I loved the ending and thought it was a sweet story,” Hilton said. “It has a great message.”
Meet the real Paris HiltonAccording to new and much more low-key Hilton, that message is that true beauty comes from within. That’s the dope the heiress, whose grandfather has reportedly dropped from the will, is pushing. Additionally, the real Paris will be revealed to those who plop down their $12 for her new movie. Hilton says she’s actually a lot like the loving, caring and sensitive Cristabel who routinely puts the needs of others ahead of her own. That persona is in stark contrast to the public image she blames the media for perpetuating.
“That’s really how I am in real life with my friends and family and people who know me,” Hilton said. “With people who think they know me, it’s really the media’s character they like made up and it’s really not who I am. So, I think this character really shows who I am.”
Honestly, there was no reason to dislike the person sitting in front of me in a hotel conference room. Sure, Hilton doesn’t always use the best grammar, but she looks you in the eye and says the things you’d expect someone of her ilk to say in a controlled situation in which she and her handlers are trying to reinvent the franchise. I kept waiting for her to slip up and have a vintage Paris moment, but it never came. In fact, she said some things indicative of someone who has survived the fire.
“I’m living my live and having the time of my life,” Hilton said. “I’ve never been happier.”
When asked what informs her acting, Hilton said she draws from her own headlines — something Chubbuck taught her to do. “She always says that actors are really great if they’ve lived their life with a lot of things happening to them,” she said. “I’ve had a lot happen to me in my life and now I’ve used those experiences in my acting.”
And when someone did slip in a question about Britney and her current woes, Hilton said: “I don’t know — people just shouldn’t take it so seriously and let it bother them,” Hilton said wistfully. “I don’t know I just don’t pay attention to the media or paparazzi or any of that. I just try to have my real friends around, my family and all my animals and pets.”
Stick with the critters, girl. They never expect much.
Miki Turner is currently co-executive producing a documentary on girls and gangs with actor/director Bill Duke. She can be reached at .