The following are excerpts from the phone conversation Ryan Seacrest had with Paris Hilton Thursday afternoon:
Ryan: Hey, how are you?
Paris: I'm hanging in there. I'm doing better than when I got here.
What's the toughest part about it?
Well, you know, it's the most difficult thing I've ever had to experience in my life and, I don't know, it's just so surreal. It's so crazy. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would've ended up in…At first, I went through so many emotions. You know—anger, upset that all of this happened.
It's a learning experience I'm going to grow from. Just being away from everything…you know, the craziness, the paparazzi. I've had a lot of alone time to think and read and write. Even though it's been horrible and really hard, I think that God makes everything happen for a reason and this is my time to figure out what my purpose is in life. I've really grown from it.
What is that purpose?
I don't know. I just feel that my life was going really fast. And there are so many people that look up to you. And the craziness of it all, sort of living in a superficial world. Now that I've been here and I've been seeing life through different eyes—just getting letters from all around the world—I have a lot of compassion for things that are going on around me that are so much more important than things I ever thought about.
I'm so much more grateful for everything that I have, even just to have a pillow at night or food or anything. My gratitude has gone up so much and I just realize that the media used me to make fun of and be mean about. I'm frankly sick of it. I want to use my fame in a good way.
I don't know—I just want to start using what I've been given by God to bring light to causes that I believe in.
When you get out, which is soon, what will you first want to accomplish and what will you do that day?
I will definitely get a good meal, because the food in here is absolutely inedible and horrible. [Laughs.] But I just can't wait to see my family and actually just give my parents and my sister a hug, because they've been visiting me and I've been behind that bulletproof glass. So I haven't even been able to give my dad a hug for Father's Day.
I just can't wait to see my family and have a nice meal and be in my own bed and appreciate all the things I took for granted and never really thought much about.
Are you sleeping?
In the beginning it was really hard, but I think I can adapt to anything. I'm claustrophobic and my cell is really small. It's hard—there's nothing to do but basically sit in a room with a bunk bed and a toilet and a desk. I was going a little bit crazy in the beginning but I'm getting used to it now.
It's kinda loud at night. They shut the doors really loudly and the guards' keys are jingling. I haven't really gotten much sleep here.
I saw a report about all of the fan mail.
Oh, it's really incredible. I had no idea how many supporters I have. (I've gotten letters) from kids who are four years old saying this is the first letter they've ever written. Letters saying, "I respect you so much, I think you're a brave woman…"
There are obviously some messages about the judge, saying that he abused his power and completely took advantage of the situation.
Which I think is…I think everyone knows that. There's just so much support. I really don't know what I would've done.
I literally just sit in bed and they only give me…you're only allowed 10 letters at a time, so while I'm waiting for the other letters and I'll reread some of them. I literally cry and it fills my heart and soul—so much love. I had no idea there were that many people who cared.
How emotional are the visits from family?
Um...it's really emotional because I'm behind glass. I want to give my dad a big hug and they won't even let me do that. I'm just like any other inmate here. I'm not receiving any special treatment. That's how the rules are, you have to be behind glass. I'm not a criminal, I'm not dangerous, so it makes me feel like that. It's hard, but I'm stronger every day.
I made it though and I'm really proud of myself and I feel like I can't wait to start a new chapter of my life. It feels really great even though I really don't like it here. In a way I'm really glad this happened because it changed my life forever.
What sort of interaction do you have with the other inmates?
There are girls in all the cells. The walls are pretty thin and there are vents, so the girls next door to me talk to me through the vents and say, "Oh, my God, my kid loves you," "My dad, all he wants for Father's Day is your autograph…"
I just want to be normal when I walk down the halls. There are classrooms here because a lot of the inmates didn't have the opportunity to go to school, so they'll all be in there and all wave and blow kisses.
Everyone is really supportive and sweet. If I'm crying and upset, they'll say, "Don't cry" and "God bless you."
I was really scared to come here at first, but all of the inmates have been really nice and supportive. I don't know…it's different than I thought it would be. It's not like what everyone thinks about jail.
Sounds like you're making friends there.
A lot of these women, some of them didn't even do the crimes that they are here for and that's why I want to get out of here...I'm lucky enough that when I leave here I have a home to go to and a family that loves me.
And a lot of these girls in here, they don't have that option, they have to go back to the street. So I've been talking to one of the doctors here and I want to help build a transitional home so that when inmates leave here, they don't have to go back to the street...these women just keep coming back because they have no place to go.
I have compassion for them, it'll be a place for them to go get food, clothes on their backs and get them up on their feet. Especially the mothers. It's just a really bad cycle. If we stop it now, we can make our community a better place.
How are you feeling? There are reports you've lost weight.
There are a lot of rumors going around that aren't true. And I feel like people don't have enough to talk about, but I'm the exact same way. The food is awful, but I'm eating. Someone told me about that (rumor), and it's a lie. It's not true at all. When I come out, people will see I'm exactly the same.
You feel the end is near?
I'm just excited to start this new life. I appreciate everything now and I don't want to…I think there're a lot of bad people that I was around and I don't want to surround myself with those types of people anymore.
The letters have really gotten me through this and it really warms my heart. They've made me cry with joy. I haven't received one negative letter. It really, really makes me happy that people care.
When are you getting out?
I'm not sure, but I know in the next couple of days. This is my last weekend here. See you when I get out of here.