Paris Hilton insists she's not an "airhead" and claims her ditzy blonde persona was all an act for her reality TV show The Simple Life.
The 32-year-old socialite developed a reputation for being ditzy after starring alongside her then-best friend Nicole Richie in reality show The Simple Life between 2003 and 2007, however, Paris says it was all an act for TV.
She explained: "When we did that, it was the first reality show. I'd never been on camera in my life. I didn't really know what to do. The producers told Nicole to be the troublemaker and me to be the ditzy blonde rich girl. I tried to play a character ... I didn't realise I would end up doing that character for five years.
"There are a lot of misconceptions about me because people know me from 'The Simple Life'. They didn't understand that I was acting and I was being a character so they assume I'm a complete airhead."
The Hilton hotel heiress was known for her party-loving ways and was regularly spotted out and about with Hollywood wild girls including Britney Spears, 31, and Lindsay Lohan, 27, who recently completed 90 days of court-ordered rehab for substance abuse.
Although she's not as close to the 'Mean Girls' star anymore, Paris sympathises with her recent troubles, and insists it's easy to get into bad habits when you're surrounded by dubious people.
She told the Metro newspaper: "I think [Lindsay and Britney] are great girls ... Everyone goes through things when they are growing up.
"Don't lose yourself trying to fit in and be something you're not. There are so many leeches who take things from you or have bad intentions. Stick with people you trust and don't have a big group - there are not many people worth trusting."