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Blonde ambition
Paris Hilton reaches for the stars and the gays on her debut album

by Brandon Voss

Paris Hilton: ‘I’m like no one else and I don’t care what people say about me.’
Photo: Anthony Mandler
“That’s sexy” is the new “That’s hot,” proclaims Paris Hilton, who’s framed by a classic Central Park view as she lounges on a sofa during our intimate interview at the Ritz Carlton in New York. Though either catchphrase could’ve been coined to describe the ubiquitous hotel heiress and her multifaceted career, both also define her recently released debut album, “Paris.”

“I knew the gays would love my music,” says Hilton, who’s thrilled that “Stars are Blind,” her reggae-flavored first single, has been a hit among homos. “I’m like a gay guy that way — I love the same kind of music. I actually like going to gay clubs better because the music is usually much better.”

In fact, she says she purposely sought the remixing talents of such gay-favorite DJs as Peter Rauhofer, Paul Oakenfold and Tracy Young for the new project. And she promises there will be surprise performances at various high-profile gay clubs over the next few months.

Hilton was too busy traveling this summer to participate in any gay Pride festivities. (“I was so bummed!” she says.) However, the 25-year-old paparazzi princess was honored at “Idols of Gay Hollywood,” an exhibit at The Hollywood Museum, where the outfits she and her mother Kathy wore as Grand Marshals of last year’s L.A. Pride are on display.
“The gay community has definitely been a huge part of my fanbase,” Hilton says. “I think it’s because I’m free-spirited and I enjoy life. I’m like no one else and I don’t care what people say about me.”

Among the tracks on “Paris,” Hilton believes the boys will particularly dig her cover of the Rod Stewart classic “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” — inspired by a night out with Stewart and his socialite daughter, Kimberly. She nixed her original plan to record a cover of “I Touch Myself.” (The Divinyls hit was written by “Like a Virgin” lyricist Billy Steinberg, who wrote the sole ballad on “Paris.”) “I felt kind of weird,” Hilton says. “I’m like, ‘I don’t want to be on stage singing that in front of my mom!’”

Other covers that were recorded, including David Bowie’s “Fame,” Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” may surface in the future. “I’m definitely going to be doing a lot more albums,” Hilton says, adding that her sophomore release will explore as wide a variety of genres as her debut.

“I have my business, but my passion and my heart is in the music. I’ll always put the music before anything else. I was supposed to be doing three movies this summer, but I’m turning them all down because I want to focus on my record. This is what I really want to do.”

Hilton’s also getting a kick out of rehearsing for her upcoming tour, which prompts me to ask a question. In a twist on the immortal words of Madonna: You can dance? “I’m learning how,” she admits with a laugh. The girl better get into the groove; her album is packed with thumpin’ hip-grinders that demand choreography, including the infectious second single, “Turn It Up.”

Another track that’s creating buzz is “Jealousy,” which Hilton admits was inspired by her much-publicized falling out with former best friend and costar on “The Simple Life,” Nicole Richie.

“I wanted to write a sad song,” Hilton says. “And the one thing that I was really sad about in my life was that me and my friend of 20 years grew apart because of fame. Jealousy is the evilest emotion and it doesn’t do any good for anyone. It’s better to just be happy for someone if they’re successful. I want what’s best for my friends. When people let jealousy take over them, it destroys friendships.”

And speaking of friendships — though she hasn’t received any ancient scriptures or an invitation to Israel, Hilton has had a Kabbalah chat with her new friend and Warner Bros. label-mate Madonna. The pair first met last year at the Brit Awards in London.
“She’s like, ‘I heard about your record and I can’t wait to hear the whole thing,’” says Hilton, beaming. “And I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love you. You’re amazing.’ I’ve never really been excited to meet anyone in my life, but Madonna’s like my idol.”

Just don’t expect Hilton to reinvent herself by dyeing her trademark blonde coiffure. “Sorry, but I don’t want to ruin my hair!”

Much like Madonna when she famously appeared on “American Bandstand” in 1983, though, Hilton is ready to rule the world. When asked what’s left for her to become after all she’s accomplished, she gleefully declares, “President!”
Now that’s blonde ambition.

info: “Paris” (Warner Bros.) is in stores now.

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