Media in frenzy over jail-bound Hilton
EmptyNothing quite stirs a media frenzy like an heiress to a hotel fortune preparing to surrender all the trappings of luxury for a three-week stay in the county jail.
The countdown to Paris Hilton's incarceration next week has sent the tabloid press into overdrive with stories alternately portraying her as a newly tearful, spiritual socialite or an unrepentant party girl kicking up her heels with the likes of Lindsay Lohan at Hollywood nightspots.
Either way, Hilton is in for a change of pace during the jail time she was ordered to serve after police caught her behind the wheel of her Bentley without a valid license earlier this year, violating probation for a prior drunken-driving offense.
The 26-year-old "celebutante" has been ordered to report to the Century Regional Detention Facility near Los Angeles by Tuesday to start serving her term, which already has been cut from 45 days to 23 days under state sentencing guidelines.
Once she reports, Hilton will forsake her designer clothes, cell phone and other accessories -- along with her freedom and privacy -- for an orange jumpsuit and a small, Spartan cell with twin bunks and metal toilet (no seat, no lid).
County Sheriff Lee Baca told the Los Angeles Times that steps have been taken to ensure no one smuggles in a camera to get pictures of the jailed Hilton, which would be of immense value to the tabloid media.
But a shortage of cameras behind bars doesn't necessarily mean Hilton is ready to surrender her vanity or fashion sense.
Under the headline: "Before the slammer, Paris planning some glamour," the New York Daily News reported that designers were ordered to Hilton's home on Monday to give her a pre-jail makeover.
"It's understood that the glamorous inmate-to-be plans to turn the perp walk into a catwalk and she wants the media to see her looking her best," Daily News columnists George Rush & Joanna Malloy wrote.
Hilton, who lampoons her public persona as a clueless, child of privilege on the reality TV show "The Simple Life," has succeeded in parlaying faux pas into greater fame since a sex video of her surfaced on the Internet some years ago. Several media outlets have suggested she is laying the groundwork to cash in on her incarceration.
Rush & Malloy reported Hilton plans to keep a jailhouse diary to be published after her release.
There were other indications that Hilton was turning to a higher power to pull her through. Her mother, Kathy, told celebrity Web site TMZ.com that her daughter was "preparing and praying" and last week Hilton was widely photographed toting copies of the Bible and "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment."
Days later Us Weekly magazine reported she was spotted living it up in Hollywood with troubled actress Lindsay Lohan the night Lohan was busted for drunken driving.
People magazine, meanwhile, reported Hilton has been spending time with close friends, including her "Simple Life" co-star Nicole Richie, and has grown increasingly fretful about her upcoming jail term.
"She breaks down crying a lot because she just can't deal with the reality and pressure of everything that is happening," People quoted one unnamed source as saying.
Hilton's publicist, Elliot Mintz, who she famously blamed in court for misinforming her about the status of her own driver's license, was not immediately available for comment.