Catching up with Paris Hilton, the star of Fox's "The Simple Life," requires a megadose of patience and persistence. Like any multi-tasking career woman, Hilton, 23, has a packed calendar. If she's not working on her new clothing line, she's in the recording studio for her upcoming album. Or maybe at a party in the Hamptons, or heading off to Europe for a week.
Hilton's series wraps up its second season on Wednesday at 9 p.m. The show, co-starring Hilton's longtime friend Nicole Richie, debuted last summer, featuring the young women in situations far from their usual hangouts in Beverly Hills, Calif. They lived with an Arkansas family last season, and this year they've tooled along America's highways in a pink pickup truck.
Via her ever-present cell phone, Hilton recently chatted with TV Week about the show and her life beyond television:
What has been the biggest surprise for you in doing "The Simple Life"?
I'm just so happy that so many people like it and that I can make people laugh. I love to make people laugh. It's a comedy, you know, so that's why people watch. I have so much fun doing it, working with my best friend and we have fun together.
Have you ever been tempted to skip out on the road trip and simply check into a nice Hilton hotel?
We wanted to but they wouldn't let us.
The show or the hotel?
The show. It wouldn't be funny if we did that, you know.
Whose idea was the show's pink pickup truck?
The last time we had the blue truck and we ended up painting it pink so this time they gave us a pink one to start with. Pink is my favorite color.
Any special shade of pink?
Just pink. Any pink. All pink. I love pink.
What kind of car do you drive?
A Hummer, a black Hummer. Next time I want a pink Hummer.
What is your regular life like, in comparison with the TV series?
Very different. I live in L.A. and New York and have a very different life.
If you could leave your own life behind and really live the simple life, without all the cameras following you, would you do it?
I want to have kids and a family someday, and I want to move somewhere out of L.A, but for now, my work is in L.A. and New York. I'm young and right now I love L.A.
What are your hobbies?
I love horseback riding. I have horses, they're mostly pintos, you know, paint horses. I ride Western, I love to ride. And I love ice skating. I play ice hockey too. I've been playing since 10th grade.
Isn't hockey kind of rough?
Hockey is not so rough if you play it with girls. You're not supposed to check people.
What position do you play?
I don't know what it's called, we always change positions. Not goalie, definitely not goalie. Usually I do score a lot of goals though. I really do love ice skating, have always just loved to skate.
What is next for you careerwise?
My album is coming out next year. There's no title yet. We're still finishing it, still writing the songs.
Whose songs, are you covering someone else's music or are these original songs?
I'm writing the songs. I'm an Aquarius, so I like to keep myself busy. [Hilton's birthdate is Feb. 17, 1981.]
On the show, you and Nicole seem to really chow down, especially in the episode where you couldn't pay for your food at Burger King. As a former model, do you watch your weight?
No, not really. I have a really good metabolism. And I love Burger King, it's my favorite fast-food place.
What would you like people to know about you that is not evident to TV viewers?
On the TV series I am playing a character, trying to be funny. I'm not like that in real life, I would never screw up all those jobs like that. I am doing it for the entertainment. I am just playing a role. I'm not like that in real life, I would never be that way. I am sure some people think that I'm like that, but imagine if we did all those jobs correctly. It wouldn't be funny. Everyone around us knows it's a TV show and everyone involved is in on it.
How do you and Nicole get along in real life?
We've been best friends for 20 years. We're like sisters. We don't even fight. There's no reason to ever fight.
Do you ever borrow clothes from her?
Most of the time we buy two of the same thing, maybe in different colors. We do like the same things, like twins. We both dress to look alike, we do that a lot.
Where do you buy your clothes?
All over the world, mostly in Europe.
What's your favorite kind of outfit?
I love wearing a sweat shirt, sweat pants, and flip-flops. I'm totally comfortable in that.
What pets do you keep at home?
In L.A., my two ferrets, my three dogs, and my chinchilla. The pug is Max, Tinkerbell is my Chihuahua and the Pomeranian is Prince. In New York, I have lots of dogs and cats. I get worried about the pets when I'm away and always call to see how they're doing. I hate being away from them. I love all animals, I don't care if it's a snake or a rat, I just love animals.
Tinkerbell was on the show with you?
Yes, Tinkerbell is very attached to me, she gets nervous when she's away from me. She thinks I'm her mother.
Do any of your animals watch TV?
Tinkerbell watches herself on TV, she knows it's her and she knows my voice. And you can buy this DVD called "Cat Sitter" and "Dog Sitter." I got them both. All these cool things come on TV and the cat or dog will watch. If you're away, you can leave it on for the day and they love to see it.
What has the show taught you about a work ethic?
I have never really had a job so I had no idea. It's a lot of work. I do acting and modeling. Those are work but this is very different. It makes you respect everyone around you, and think about how you treat people. There are some people who are rude to waiters and waitresses. Like some of my friends in L.A., I see how they are, how they feel some people are beneath them just because they're working to make a living. I have never done that, I try to be nice to everyone. And now especially after working like this, I can really understand. It's very hard and we should give them respect for doing it. I could not imagine waking up every day and doing any of those jobs.
What do you like most, and least, about being a celebrity?
The least is having no privacy. If you want to have dinner alone, you can't. People keep coming up to you. I am always nice, I always sign autographs, especially for kids, but it can get out of hand. If you stop to do one picture, then it can take an hour to go 10 feet.
The good part: you get everything sent to you, clothes, CDs, just everything. That is nice.
If there is a "Simple Life 3," where would you like it to take place?
Who knows, I don't know yet. I hear there is some talk about it. But I'm so busy with so many projects. I have about six movies lined up, I'm finishing the album, getting my clothing line together for 2005. It's hard to do a series since you leave your life for six weeks and don't know anything but the world you're living in that show.
They confiscated your cell phones for the show, so how did you stay in touch with your family and friends?
We had one day off on Sundays so you'd make your calls then. Basically, we'd go to the mall, to a movie. That was nice. But I'm used to having my cell phone glued to my ear.
What else do you have coming up?
My perfume, a jewelry line, and my book, "Confessions of an Heiress." It's a funny book; it's a look at my life. I talk about boys, dating tips, fashion. It's a fun, comedy book.
What would you like people to know about the real Paris Hilton?
That I am a lot different from what people read about me. Writers write mean things about me and this is just not how I am. How I deal with it now, I don't pay attention to it. I just get so upset, so I stopped reading. But I am very different from what people read.