THE COUNTRY CUTIE
Name: Taylor Swift
She’s got the teen beauty queen smile, not to mention the sun-kissed
highlights and golden tan of a million other American girls. But that’s
where the similarity between Taylor Swift and your average teenage ends. You
may not have heard of her…yet. But you can bet her multimillion-dollar
bank balance that you will have soon. Heck, you’ve probably been singing her
so-catchy-they’re-contagious songs for the last few months without even
realising. All together now, “Marry me Juliet, you’ll never have to be
Today, on her 20th birthday she has A LOT to celebrate. As well as topping our
list of the most influential girls rocking the world right now, she’s sold
10 million albums worldwide as well as shifting all the tickets for her New
York Madison Gardens gig. In one minute. But this girl won’t be toasting her
success, at least not with alcohol.
Sitting in the suite of her London hotel, she says: “When we were 12 and the
girls in my year in Pennsylvania were starting to drink, I was singing
National Anthems at sporting events,” she says. “That did not make me cool
in their eyes. I would sit down at the lunch table, and the other girls
would get up and move away.
And the curse of being un-cool, in the eyes of some at least, didn’t lift when
she left high school. In September, those feelings must have come flooding
back when rapper Kanye West stormed the stage at MTV’s Video Music Awards
ceremony in protest at Taylor beating Beyonce to win the Best Female
category for You Belong to Me. The country singer soon became headline news
and even fan Barack Obama jumped to her defence, calling the rapper a
“Regardless of how thick your skin gets, I will always get my feelings hurt,”
In her homeland of America, even pre Kanye, Taylor is a phenomenon. She single
handedly made country music cool, with designers begging to dress her at
every awards show. But with a bank full of dollars, and a celebrity fanbase
including Rihanna, Pink and the President, should we be worried about fame
going to the young singer’s head? Well, not if Taylor’s got anything to do
Rather than a fleet of cars, Taylor has the same one she bought with her first
paycheck and although she may have Katy Perry on speed dial, her best friend
is Abigail Anderson, a girl she met at High School in Nashville. And Taylor
owes a lot to her family. After a hard time at school during her formative
years, aged 13, she managed to convince her parents to relocate from their
Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania to Nashville, to help her pursue her
dream of becoming a country singer. Once there, she spent her spare time
turning up at record companies, trying to score a deal. At 14, her hard work
finally paid off, two years later she released her self-titled album and
sold four million copies.
It was in Nashville that she finally found her confidence after years of
unhappiness at school. The songs she writes are laced with feelings of
rejection, whether it’s by her old classmates or the boys she wanted to date
“I used to say that I had a condition called girl-next-door-it is” she laughs.
“I’d always be really good friends with the guy, he’d ask me what to get his
girlfriend for Valentine’s day and I’d hide my feelings and smile and give
him great ideas. But that’s what I sing about.
While she may be happy to talk about her feelings in song – Forever & Always,
she admits, was written about ex Joe Jonas, of the Jonas brothers – she is
reluctant to talk about her new love, Taylor Lautner, Hollywood’s latest
crush. Lautner, who plays hunky werewolf Jacob Black in the smash Twilight
movie saga, met his female namesake on the set of romantic comedy
Valentine’s Day, out in February. They have been inseparable ever since,
with Lautner gushing: “Aside from being beautiful, she’s extremely funny,
charismatic and fun to be around.” However, when we quiz her about her new
boy, she goes uncharacteristically silent. “We’re really close, and he’s
awesome,” she finally says with a sly grin, then seals her lips.
Taylor’s experience of love so far hasn’t been easy, just listen to any of her
songs and the heartbreak is quite literally audible. Has she experienced
real love at such a young age? “I think so, but then again, if it was really
true love, it wouldn’t have ended,” she says with a wisdom way beyond her
years. “If he’s not here and I’m asking: ‘Was I in love with him?’ it
obviously wasn’t the kind of love I hope to experience when it lasts.”
And even if Lautner’s not The One, at least it will make good fodder for
another hit single. Because with everything she touches turning to gold, the
future’s only going to be burn bright for Taylor Swift.
* Taylor’s album Fearless is out now on Mercury Records. Her single Fifteen
is out tomorrow
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATT JONES/TRUNK ARCHIVE, REX,
Name: Miley Cyrus
Occupation: Singer and actress
In terms of influence, she’s up there with Angelina Jolie, the Dalai Lama and,
yes, even Tony Blair according to TIME magazine. But despite world
domination, Miley Cyrus is still just a 17-year-old girl. Albeit one with a
hit TV show, two blockbuster films, two successful albums and an
autobiography under her belt, not to mention squillions in the bank.
But before you start comparing Miley to those other
Disney-divas-turned-Hollywood-hellraisers, Britney and LiLo, wait just a
minute: she’s not that kind of girl. In fact, she’s more likely to be found
in church than falling out of clubs.
Brought up a devout Christian by her country singing megastar dad, Billy Ray,
(remember Achy Breaky Heart anyone?) Miley gets up at dawn to read the
bible. Super-successful and squeaky clean? You betcha. “I was brought up in
a Christian family and want to keep my virginity until I marry,” she
However, her good-girl rep was momentarily tarnished when she was photographed
naked, save for a sheet, by celebrity snapper Annie Leibovitz. Thankfully
for Miley – not to mention her bank manager – that brief brush with scandal
hasn’t sidetracked the Cyrus quest to conquer the world.
In truth, she was earmarked for fame from an early age. “All I wanted to do
was entertain,” she recalls.
She clinched her first acting roles before she was 11, in the Tim Burton movie
Big Fish alongside Ewan McGregor, and Doc, a series featuring her dad. Aged
12, she auditioned for a new Disney show called Hannah Montana. But it
wasn’t until two years later that she was told she’d won the part of Miley
Stewart; a run-of-the-mill schoolgirl by day, who is transformed into
international pop star Hannah Montana the moment she dons her blonde wig.
Fast-forward three years and it’s now the number one show in the US for the
lucrative teen audience, and the biggest-selling concert movie of all time.
It has made Miley a millionairess.
Despite being born to be famous, Miley has struggled with her superstardom.
“I’ve lost my privacy and I don’t remember when the last time was that I was
normal,” she says. “Sometimes I do miss being an unknown person. It’s not
easy, nothing is, but I can definitely handle it.”
If anyone can, Miley can. Country queen Dolly Parton is her godmother and
she’s dated a JoBro – Nick Jonas, of the squeaky clean US boy band, the
Jonas Brothers. In fact, her love life has featured a few plot lines worthy
of a Disney script. After splitting with Nick, she was soon dating a
20-year-old underwear model called Justin Gaston. The pair reportedly parted
last June over her continued close relationship with Jonas.
But any new boyfriend will need to impress one man in Miley’s life, her dad.
“My father is my rock and my biggest support,” she smiles.
So, is she going to start to take it easy, and enjoy her carefree teen years?
Not just yet.
“I’ve had the opportunity to stop and think if I wanted to go on singing and
dancing or acting. I know my priority is to keep on doing films,” she
With so much success already it’s tough to see what’s next for Ms Cyrus one
thing’s for sure, there’s never a dull moment in the life of Miley.
PHOTOGRAPHY: WIRE IMAGE, DAVID FISHER
THE R&B QUEEN
Name: Rihanna Age: 21
Occupation: Singer and model
In just four years, Rihanna has transformed from fresh-faced teen to one of
the hottest women on the planet.
She’s sold 12 million records since she first tore up the charts with Pon de
Replay in 2005, and amassed a multimillion-pound fortune. And in the last
year the Barbadian-born star has become so fashion-forward, she leaves the
rest of us trailing in her wake.
Her fierce dress sense and to-die-for figure have seen the Grammy award-winner
endorse ad campaigns for Gucci, Clinique and Nike, among others.
Her recent X Factor performance may have blown us all away, but Rihanna’s
proven that aside from evident talent, she’s tougher than anyone ever knew.
In February she hit the headlines after being badly beaten by her then
boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, 20. The world was shocked when pictures of
her battered and bruised face were leaked to the media.
The couple split, but then briefly reconciled before Rihanna kicked her lover
to the kerb – for good.
In a heartfelt interview with America’s Diane Sawyer for ABC last month, she
said she was terrified of setting a bad example to her legions of young
Speaking of the reconciliation she said: “[I was] so far in love, so
unconditional, that I went back. That’s not what I want to teach people I
realised that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl
Rihanna added that she “didn’t realise how much of an impact I had on [young]
girls’ lives until that happened It was a wake-up call for me, big time Even
if Chris never hit me again, who is to say that their boyfriend won’t? Who’s
to say that they won’t kill these girls?”
And with that she walked away, stronger than ever. Single, sexier and back on
storming form with her new album, Rated R. Rihanna, we salute you!
BEAUTY WITH BRAINS
Name: Emma Watson
Occupation: Actress and model
Who’d have thought the actress who plays geeky brainbox Hermione Granger in
Harry Potter would become a fashion icon, courted by global designers? Well,
at 19, Emma Watson has done just that. Already a multimillionaire, she has
international fashion houses queuing up to dress her, has graced the cover
Teen Vogue, and earns a six-figure sum as the face of Burberry Prorsum.
Add to that the fact she’s shown it is possible to become a teen success
without going off the rails, and we have to admit to getting a teensy bit of
the green-eyed monster when it comes to our Ems.
The daughter of two lawyers, she gives Hermione a run for her money when it
comes to brains too – she got eight A* and 2 As at GCSE, and three As at
A-level, in between fighting Voldemort and romancing Ron Weasley.
There are two more Harry Potter films to come (the final book is split into
two parts), but in the meantime, Emma’s packed her wand away and is dividing
her time between fashion and studying art and literature at America’s Brown
University in Providence, Rhode Island.
And she’s just announced that she’s creating a fashion range for ethical
brand, People Tree, in 2010. Phew.
“I think young people like me are becoming increasingly aware of the
humanitarian and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion,” she says.
“They want to make good choices, but there aren’t many options out there.”
Gorgeous, talented and caring? Damn her!
THE RELUCTANT STAR
Name: Kristen Stewart
Aside from playing Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room seven years ago, it’s
fair to say Kristen Stewart’s Hollywood career had been pretty ho-hum. Until
the Twilight juggernaut rolled into town, that is.
Kristen was catapulted straight on to the A-list when she was cast as lead
character Bella Swan in the film version of the vampire saga, alongside our
boy crush Robert Pattinson, 23.
But Kristen has impressed us all with her effortlessly cool style and
refreshing attitude to fame. She’s determined not to believe her own hype
and to let her talent do the talking.
“Nothing about being a celebrity is desirable. I’m an actor. It’s bizarre to
me that everybody’s so obsessive,” she says. That’s certainly one way to
describe the legions of Twi-hards – many of whom are less than happy at her
rumoured off-screen romance with RPattz. “Girls are scary,” she says. “They
covet Rob. I think half of them are so jealous that they hate me.”
But presumably the £1.2million she got for Twilight, and the £7.2million for
New Moon means she can afford a couple of heavies to protect her. And she’ll
need them – with two more movies in the pipeline (possibly three if Breaking
Dawn gets split in half), she’s going to be in the spotlight for a whole lot
Kristen, there’s a fine line between love and hate. In fact, we heart you.
THE ROCK CHICK
Name: Taylor Momsen
Occupation: Actress, singer and model
It’s a bit much that she’s not even old enough to vote and already this teen
dream has three – count ’em, three – impressive careers on the go.
First, there’s her proper acting job – playing Jenny Humphrey in cult US show
Then she was signed up by international model agency IMG Models – which also
has Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler on its books. And just last summer her band,
The Pretty Reckless (in which she sings and plays guitar, natch), was signed
by Interscope Records, who represent Gwen Stefani and U2.
All that plus in the past year she’s been touted as the fashion world’s new
darling after saying goodbye all-American gal, hello rock chick.
“I had long, pretty hair, and it didn’t fit me,” she says defiantly.
“So I pulled up a bunch of photos of Joan Jett [’70s rocker] and said: ‘Do
that to my hair.’ There was a distinct change in my wardrobe, too. But it
wasn’t me that changed – it was just that I decided to start
being myself. Now I do my own make-up, my own hair, and dress myself, and it
And since she’s become her own stylist, we reckon Taylor looks stunning. Ms
Momsen, you rockour world.
PHOTOGRAPHY: REX, ALPHA, LANDMARK MEDIA,