Paris Hilton says she sometimes acts dumb on television to get laughs, but in real life she’s “a strong person” who’s been through a lot, people.com reports.

Appearing on the British morning show GMTV to launch her new reality show Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend, Hilton, 27, said she cultivated her dumb blonde image for her hit FOX reality show The Simple Life, co-starring Nicole Richie, and it became her shtick.

“For five seasons I was stuck doing this character,” she says. “It was kind of hard always having to play that character when it’s not who I am.”

She adds, “I just say jokes but they think I’m serious, which I think is funny, and I think I kind of play up the image sometimes because — whatever — it’s just entertainment.”

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