Saratoga Native Fights for Paris Hilton

From The Gazette

Paris Hilton needs a new “Best Friend Forever,” and that person just might be a Saratoga Springs native.

Kaitlin Cassidy, who graduated from Saratoga Springs high school in 2003, will be featured on MTV’s second season of “Paris Hilton’s New BFF,” which airs tomorrow at 10 p.m.

Last season, Paris thought she found a “BFF,” but her choice Brittany, turned out to be a “hungry tiger,” which Paris defines as someone starving for fame and attention. Needless to say, Paris dumped her after a short-lived friendship and is back on the air trying to find her friendship soulmate.

Last Tuesday, during the hour-long season premiere, Cassidy managed to win over Paris, for the week anyway, and was declared safe from elimination. Contestants for Paris’ friendship were asked to prove their devotion through a pole-dancing competition, a “show and tell,” and an encounter with a tiger at Wayne Newton’s house.

At the beginning of the show Cassidy, a short, spunky, blonde bombshell, was seen gossiping with another contestant but that’s about all the air time she received. She tends to shy away from drama on the show, something that is sure to make her parents, who still live in Saratoga Springs, proud.

According to Cassidy, her parents think the whole idea of her being on the show is funny. “I’m 24 years old, I’m a big girl now. The thing is you have to take it all lightly. I know a lot of people think it’s silly, but they still watch it. My Mom, Dad and Step-parents miss me so they like to see my face,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Cassidy had no plans of leaving Saratoga until her boyfriend invited her to move to California with him in October 2007. She accepted and soon after her arrival she began working as a personal assistant and nanny for actress E.G. Daily, best known as the voice of Tommy Pickles on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Rugrats.” The family I work for is great,” Cassidy said. “They’re kind of like my Cali-Family.”

Much like her decision to move to California, Cassidy decided to audition for the show on a whim, too.

“The way I decided to audition for the show was kind of a joke actually. I had seen that they were casting through friends I know on Facebook. I sort of made a joke about auditioning to one of them. Next thing you know I’m a mile away from my apartment trying out for the show. A few months, and 25,000 submissions later, I got the call,” Cassidy said.

Though she auditioned on a whim, she’s glad she did, and she said if given the chance, she’d do the whole thing all over again. According to Cassidy, “It’s really neat to see a project like this all come together. The process is a lot different than you would think. Even though reality TV can seem relatively simple, its a pretty big production. Ironically, I’m really drawn to the behind the scenes aspect of the process.”

Cassidy says she also learned a lot from the show as well. “I have learned that you have to accept people for who they are. No one is going to be your perfect match as a friend, and the quicker you accept that, the easier the friendship will be,” she said.

Cassidy has risen to the acute level of fame that only reality TV “stars” can, and she seems to be taking it in stride, staying faithful to her demure Saratoga roots. She’s been interviewed by local papers, and MTV, and never once does she sound snotty, bratty, or entitled. In fact, she welcomes the questions.

The question she gets asked most often? “What’s Paris really like?” Is she really the blonde, bimbo, celebutante we all love to hate?

Her answer: “She was funny, sweet, and caring to every one on set. Other than that, she’s absolutely beautiful in person. I mean, flawless. I’m talking perfect skin even without makeup. Also, she’s very busy and very serious about what she does. She is always traveling. Sure, it’s a fun job to have, but she works just as much as any one else. I once asked Paris when she sleeps and she said, ‘usually on planes’.”

Cassidy says she can’t promise that the show portrays her accurately, and that she did it all in good fun. “Watching myself is pretty odd. I have never taken myself that seriously, so I spend a lot time laughing at myself. I’m just so goofy. My friends are definitely laughing too,” she said.

Cassidy is very proud of her upbringing and hopes to represent it on camera as best she can. She alluded to it in her “show and tell” for Paris in the first episode, assuring Paris that she was “real” due to her modest upbringing.

“I am very proud of where I come from,” said Cassidy. “I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in Saratoga Springs. Its a great asset to New York State. I miss it horribly at times.”

As far as the show, what does Cassidy think is the most important to keep in mind while watching? “Don’t take it too seriously, because I don’t.”

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