"It's hard, but I'm stronger every day," she tells Ryan Seacrest from jail

By Marla Lehner
Updated June 21, 2007 07:00 PM

Paris Hilton says in an interview from jail she’s a changed woman who now appreciates “things I took for granted” and plans to use her fame “in a good way.”

“I’m so much more grateful for everything that I have, even just to have a pillow at night or food,” Hilton told E! News‘s Ryan Seacrest in a phone conversation from Century Regional Correctional Facility.

Hilton, who is scheduled to be released next week, says she plans to use her celebrity for good – and doesn’t want to be the object of ridicule anymore.

“You know my gratitude has gone up so much and I just realize that the media used me to make fun of and be mean about it,” she tells Seacrest in the interview for Thursday’s show. “Frankly [I’m] sick of it and I want to use my fame in a good way.”

Of her life behind bars, Hilton, who was jailed for violating probation by driving with a suspended license, says it’s been difficult being kept from her family: “I am behind glass and I want to give my dad a big hug and they won’t even let me do that.”

She also insists that she is not receiving any special treatment in jail. “That’s how the rules are, you have to be behind glass,” she said. “I’m not a criminal, I’m not dangerous, so it makes me feel like that. It’s hard but I’m stronger everyday.”

As for the future, Hilton says: “I just can’t wait to see my family and have a nice meal and be in my own bed and appreciate all the things I took for granted and never really thought much about.”

She said she was “so excited to start this new life” and added: “I think that there were a lot of bad people that I was around. I don’t want to surround myself with those types of people anymore.”

Seacrest told listeners that Hilton appreciates letters from fans and cries when she reads them in her bed alone. “These letters have really gotten me through some long days,” Hilton said. “I have not received one negative letter. It really makes me happy that people care.”

Asked when she’ll be released, she replied: “I’m not sure, but I know in the next couple of days and I know this is my last weekend here. I will see you all when I get out.”