LOS ANGELES - More than 85,000 people want to be Paris Hilton's best friend.
The 27-year-old is using the Internet to cast potential friends for her new reality show, "Paris Hilton's My New BFF." The MTV series, which begins production next month, will follow 20 contestants as they live together and vie for the chance to be Hilton's permanent plus-one.
Thousands of candidates have posted profiles and videos on ParisBFF.com in hopes of winning a spot on the show. Visitors to the site can vote for their favourites, and the top vote-getters will be added to the cast, producers said.
The site has already collected more than six million page views since it went live five weeks ago. And the heiress herself is among those checking out the daily posts.
Hilton, who also serves as the show's executive producer, took time out after an MTV business meeting to talk with The Associated Press about her public quest for friendship.
AP: Why take your search for a new best friend to the reality-TV world?
Hilton: Well I did "The Simple Life" for five seasons. I had a great time. I love reality TV. It's my favourite to watch. When I was approached with this idea I just thought it would be so much fun, being a producer on the show as well, having boys and girls move into a house all vying to be my best friend, I just thought it'd be fun and I'd also like to meet some new friends.
AP: Do you think you can find a real, lasting friendship this way? Do you have a preference of male or female?
Hilton: I just want to see the contestants and see how they are. I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, just as long as its someone I can trust, someone I can have fun with and just someone who's going to be able to like handle all the other things that are going to come with being my best friend.
AP: Like what?
Hilton: Just being in the media, just someone who's not going to care about that, just someone who cares about me.
AP: What are some of the qualities you're looking for in a new best friend?
Hilton: Just someone who's fun, someone who I can trust and just someone who, I don't know, just someone to get along with that is not going to screw me over. Just someone to have a great time with.
AP: You recently found a new best friend in Benji Madden. What are some of the challenges in finding friends you click with?
Hilton: It is hard meeting new people. Most of my friends I've had my entire life, like obviously my sister and Nicole Richie have been with me forever. So when I meet new people, I'm always a little weary of the reason they may want to become my friend. I can usually just tell by when we're out in public and there's paparazzi around, I see, you know, who gets a little bit too excited or whatever. I can tell how those people are.
AP: Because it's a show, it's possible that some contestants might be more interested in being on TV than being your best friend. How will you determine people's sincerity?
Hilton: We're at MTV right now and just going over all the challenges and different things we're going to be putting the contestants through. I can't really tell because they're all top secret.
AP: How has this experience been different from "The Simple Life" and your feature-film work?
Hilton: This is like completely different. "The Simple Life" was more fish-out-of-water, Nicole and I just doing things we've never done.
AP: What kinds of things appeal to you when you're looking at the videos on ParisBFF.com?
Hilton: Just people who are fun, people who I know are going to be great on TV, people who have fun personalities, they're not shy, the people who tell their deepest secrets, people who are open to being honest and having a great time. That's what my show's about.
AP: Talk about your role as executive producer.
Hilton: Actually I was a producer of "The Simple Life" as well. Well, just being in control of everything and making all the decisions and just really being on top of everything, coming up with ideas. The casting process, with "The Simple Life" I didn't do all that, so this has been a lot of work but a lot of fun as well.
AP: What else is going on with you?
Hilton: I've just been travelling for a while and just launched my clothing line and my shoe line. I'm just getting ready for my movie - "Repo! The Genetic Opera" is coming out soon. So I'm just getting ready for that.
AP: With all your projects, do you still have time for fun?
Hilton: Not as much as I used to when I was younger. But I'm always travelling. I have a lot of businesses I run. Everything is so successful so it feels really great and I'd rather be working than doing anything else.
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