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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paris Hilton launched a television show to look for a new best friend who was hot, loyal and "paparazzi-ready" -- and she says she found exactly what she was looking for.
Hilton, 27, the millionaire socialite, said some 300,000 Americans applied to take part in the reality series "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" (Best Friend Forever), which begins airing on September 30 on MTV.
The 16 women and two men selected to compete had to perform a series of challenges to be Hilton's new BFF, including how to look hot on a rollercoaster and making a commercial for one of her fashion products. She has now picked a winner with whom she said she has struck up a real, off-screen friendship.
"The person who won is now my best friend. We hang out. Yeah, we're really friends," Hilton told Reuters on Tuesday.
"We've been having barbecues and hanging out at the house. The winner and I have been pretty low-key so far, because it is top secret right now," she said.
Hilton said the TV show prepared the contestants for life in Hollywood and hectic red carpet events, parties, and product launches -- all under the constant glare of photographers.
"In my life you can get photographed at any time. You never know when paparazzi are going to be hiding around the corner. So my friend needs to be paparazzi-ready," she said.
In her real-life friendships, Hilton says she values trust more than looking hot and says it was fun to meet people on the show who were not as jaded as the usual Hollywood crowd.
"They (the contestants) were so excited. We went on a private jet to Las Vegas and they had never been on a private plane. It was nice to really show them things they maybe never could do in their life. They were really appreciative and so sweet," Hilton said.
As for her own qualities as a friend, Hilton said she was loyal, good at keeping secrets, truthful and generous.
"I will always tell you the truth. If you ask me if I like your outfit, if I don't, I'll say I don't. I'm a lot of fun. I love showing my friends my world and enjoying life," she said.
Hilton starts filming a second series of the show, this time set in England, next month and expects her new "friends" to be very different.
"London is my favorite city in the world. I love their accents, their attitude. They are so real, they are not fake. I feel that everyone in LA wants to be famous but in London it's more about business."
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte