Paris Hilton believes her jail sentence was a message from God to change her party-loving lifestyle and become a positive role model for women who look up to her.
In her first interview, since she was dramatically sent back to prison last Friday for probation violation in a drink-driving case, Hilton said her imprisonment has served as a life-changing wake-up call.
Her comments were made to veteran television journalist Barbara Walters in a phone-call from the hospital facility of the Los Angeles jail where the heiress to the Hilton hotel empire is being held. "I'm not the same person I was," Walters quoted Hilton as saying on her ABC television program 'The View' on Monday.
"I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me." Walters said Hilton-who was reported to be under heavy medication amid concerns for her mental health - sounded "tired but totally aware of what she was saying."
Hilton has said she will not appeal the decision to send her back to prison to serve her 45-day term. She was controversially released after spending only three days behind bars last week, sparking a public outcry and prompting Los Angeles judge Michael Sauer to order her back to jail.
Hilton, who was dragged sobbing and wailing from court on Friday, suggested she intends to to give up endless VIP parties, red carpets and pursuing the limelight upon her release.
"I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that. I have been thinking that I want to do different things when I am out of here," she said. "I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance." Hilton said her new-found spirituality had led her to believe that her jail stint was meant to be.
"I feel that the purpose of my life is to be where I am," Hilton told Walters. "My spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen and that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me."
Hilton said she was considering pursuing work to raise awareness about breast cancer or multiple sclerosis. Walters also said Hilton had mentioned trying to persuade toy companies to manufacture a Paris Hilton playhouse which could be donated to sick children.
Hilton meanwhile described her first days behind bars as a "horrible experience," revealing that she had not eaten or slept at all.
"I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage," she said. The primped and pampered celebutante also revealed that her beauty regimen had suffered since her incarceration, saying her skin was dehydrated because of a ban on moisturiser.
"It doesn't matter," Hilton said, "I'm not that superficial girl. I haven't looked in the mirror since I got here."
Meanwhile, Los Angeles sheriff Lee Baca, who has been under fire since his decision to transfer Hilton to home detention last week, met civil rights activist Al Sharpton on Monday amid allegations of preferential treatment.
Sharpton said Hilton was given the star treatment because she is white and rich, and questioned whether a rapper would have been allowed to go home early.
"If anything can come out of this Paris Hilton story, it should be to put some light on the fact that there are many people based on their income that just cannot get relief," Sharpton told reporters after the meeting.