Three weeks after she gave birth to her second child, daughter Selah, last November, she was delivering an electrifying performance on Saturday Night Live
. Even while on the mommy track, Lauryn Hill, 23, rims circles around the competition. She snagged 10 Grammy nominations (the most ever by a female in a single year) and five Grammys for her genre-busting, 6-million-selling solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
. The 5'4" phenom is a visual hit as well, handily mixing Cosmo
-girl glamor (Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana) with dreadlocks and what Essence
once called "eyes like Bambi's mother's." Any resemblance to another being—animated or otherwise—ends there. "She's like no one else," says Hill's makeup artist, Anita Gibson. "She doesn't like being packaged. Extreme personal style—she's passionate about that." Growing up, the daughter of an English-teacher mother and computer-consultant father felt equally fervent about the track team, cheerleading and pulling straight A's. She also managed to cram in a recurring 1991 role on daytime's As the World Turns
as well as a part in Sister Act 2
, and to form, with two friends, the Fugees, who went on to sell 18 million albums. No surprise, then, that the size-2 Hill has "never done any huge exercise regimen. I like to do activities, like playing basketball or riding a bike," she says. "Plus running after children." Busy juggling Selah and son Zion, 21 months (by fiancé Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob), with a European tour starting this month, the Italian-food freak and serious shoe hound ("Oh, I love shoes. All kinds") takes a hardy interest in beauty. "She's always playing," says Gibson, citing Make Up For Ever eye shadows and M.A.C's Currant and Coffee lip liners as Hill favorites. "She loves to look current." At Hill's home in South Orange, N.J. (the neighborhood she grew up in), Aveda products are the norm, says her longtime hairstylist, Veronica Fletcher, and on the road, "if she gets worried about her hair getting dry, she just goes into the hotel's steam room for a while." No wonder the heat's rising.