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Perez Hilton is passionate about 'Pink'

BY CONNIE OGLE, cogle@MiamiHerald.com

You’d think blogger Perez Hilton would be too busy to miss his hometown of Miami. He’s juggling several websites, including the celebrity-driven perezhilton.com and the new perezitos.com, about kids and parenting.

He’s also author of a new kids’ book, The Boy With Pink Hair (Celebra, $17.99), which touts the beauty of being unique. Extolling a positive message is crucial to the former Belen Jesuit Preparatory School student, who took some heat last year for being a cyber bully.

Things have changed, he says, and he’s happy to share the kinder, gentler Perez with South Florida.

“I love the fact that Miami to me really is like another country, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s unlike any other major city in America . ... I’m so thankful for the experience of growing up there.”

Why not? After all, “There is no good Cuban food in Los Angeles,” he laments.

How did you decide to write a book for kids?

I was at an event with Emilio Estefan when he was promoting his book, and Mario Lopez was there promoting his book for kids. I never imagined myself writing a children’s book. I was that person who would make fun of celebrities who would do that. But I very flippantly said I should write a children’s book, too, and it should be about a boy with pink hair. It was a joke, but after I said that, all these ideas started coming to me. I had to convince my publisher it was a good idea to do this, and after the changes in my life and website they agreed.

What’s the message you hope kids take from the book?

There are lots of messages and not just for kids. I’m mindful of my audience, so there are messages for older readers in their 20s. There are lessons for parents. The book tells the story of somebody who’s different. It’s about finding out what makes you special, how important it is to have just one person not looking at you like you’re a freak.

Would you write another one?

I would love to. I’d love to write an animated series. I’m so in love with this character.

You say you and your website have changed. How and why?

I was 26 years old when I started blogging. Now I’m 33. That’s really when people grow the most. You’re not a kid anymore. You can’t be doing all the things you were doing when you were a kid. Last fall was the tipping point, when all those gay teenagers were committing suicide, and I was writing about it on my website. People were calling me a hypocrite and a bully. I was genuinely shocked. I was always justifying my behavior to myself: ‘Oh, I’m talking about celebrities, they’re rich, they know what they sign up for.’ But if enough people say you’re a bully, then it’s true. It was painful for me to admit. So I decided to change how people perceived me. I’m no longer giving people nasty nicknames, no longer outing celebrities. ... My new approach is sassy, not nasty.”

IF YOU GO

Perez Hilton will sign copies of his book from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach; free but must RSVP to PerezHilton@ThePattonGroupInc.com; and at 2 p.m. Saturday at Books & Books Bal Harbour; tickets required; www.booksandbooks.com or 305-442-4408.

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where can we avail the book "the boy with pink hair" i want to buy it for my kids.

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