Jade Goody died seven years after finding fame on Big Brother
Russell Brand has described Jade Goody as the "Primark Princess", who appealed to the public because of her "authenticity and accessibility".
In a tribute on his website, the comic, who knew Goody, said people criticised her because she was "just a normal girl with no trade or practised skills".
"Well people didn't care," he wrote. "Our heroes are not prescribed to us.
"We have the right to choose them and the people chose Jade." Goody died of cervical cancer aged 27 last weekend.
"Fame has long been bequeathed by virtue of wealth and birth," Brand continued.
Russell Brand is a former host of Channel 4's Big Brother's Big Mouth
"This was the first generation where it was democratically distributed by that most lowbrow of modern phenomena - reality television.
"When Big Brother 3 made her famous, she was vilified in the paper and bullied in the house.
"But through her spirit she won people back round and became a kind of Primark Princess with perfumes and fitness videos and endless media coverage - because people were interested in her. They remain interested."
One of Brand's best friends, a woman in her mid-20s, was "genuinely heartbroken" at Goody's death, he said.
"Herself a mother from a working class background, she obviously connects with this sad narrative in a way that she doesn't seem to with J-Lo or Jennifer Aniston or Posh Spice, most likely because of Jade's authenticity and accessibility."
Goody's funeral takes place in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, on 4 April.