12 JUNE 2007

Paris Hilton has described how her prison experience has changed her life for the better. The hotel heiress and famous party girl has been reassessing her life and values and says she now feels "a different person". "I'm not the same person I was," she told American TV personality Barbara Walters in a telephone call from the medical wing of an LA detention facility. "I used to act dumb. It was an act. I'm 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."

When she is released on June 25, after serving a total of 23 days, Paris is determined to make a fresh start. "I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that," she said. "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."

Among her plans are charity work, possibly helping in the fields of breast cancer or multiple sclerosis - diseases which her grandmothers suffered - or building a "Paris Hilton Playhouse" for sick children.

Paris has also explained the "medical condition" that was the reason she was reassigned to house arrest after three days in jail. "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."

She added that her fellow inmates had been friendly. And although she's known for her love of high-octane glamour and immaculate grooming, she insists she doesn't care that her beauty routine has gone off the rails. "It doesn't matter," she says about not being able to use moisturiser. "I'm not that superficial girl. I haven't looked in the mirror since I got here."

Aafter visiting her on Monday her attorney Richard Hutton has confirmed she's "doing as well as she can" in the medical unit. And he made it clear she's not being treated differently because of her celebrity status. "She is being treated the same as everyone else in jail. She is receiving no preferential treatment."

Photo: ©
According to Barbara Walters, Paris (pictured before starting her sentence) now has a spiritual adviser and is reading self-help books in an effort to turn her life around. "My spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen and that is why I was sent to jail," the heiress told her. "God has released me"Photo: © RexClick on photo to enlarge

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