Exposed to the harsh light of controversy without even a barrier of make-up to protect her, Paris Hilton needed a friend, preferably one with a soft-focus lens.

Cue Barbara Walters.

Speaking from jail through the medium of America’s favourite agony aunt, who conveyed her thoughts to the world, Paris activated the three-step media recovery plan: repent, cite God, reform.

It was a savvy PR play — maybe a stint in jail could still do for Paris what it did for Mandela, or at least, Martha Stewart.

Chances are she’s been using her phone call allowance to seek out some expert advice. Or maybe she just watched Zoolander, the story of a top male model, Derek Zoolander, who realises there’s more to life than just being really really good-looking. 

Consider this.

A serial pouter rises to fame on the strength of, well, not much:

PARIS: Rich, blonde, gawkily pretty. Participant in amateur s-x tape.

DEREK: Professionally good looking (self-described). Best known for his “blue steel” look.

Then a joyride goes horribly wrong…

PARIS: Ordered to serve 23 days of a 45-day term for violating probation from a DUI conviction.

DEREK:

Leading to soul searching…

PARIS: I’m not the same person I was … I used to act dumb, it was an act 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.

ZOOLANDER: If there’s anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us… it’s that a male model’s life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs… and stunning features… it doesn’t mean that we can’t die in a freak gasoline fight accident … I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being good-looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.  

And eventually, a desire to do greater good, through children:

PARIS: “[Hilton] might get toy companies to build a Paris Hilton playhouse for children where sick children might come”, says Walters.

ZOOLANDER: The other day, I was thinking about volunteering… to help teach underprivileged children to learn how to read. Just thinking about it was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had … I mean, maybe I could even have my own institute. We could call it the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good.

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Peter Fray
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