When it comes to dressing the part of a pop sensation, less is definitely not Moore. "I'm not comfortable doing that," says Mandy Moore
of donning the minuscule shrink-wrapped outfits favored by bubblegum peers Britney Spears
and Christina Aguilera
. "You shouldn't send that message out, that tight clothes are what get you the attention. If it works for them, fine. But it's not for me."
Fortunately, Moore's record sales aren't skimpy either. Her latest album, I Wanna Be with You
, looks to outpace her platinum-selling debut, last year's So Real
. Since May, Moore, 16, has also been hosting Mandy, her daily advice and video show on MTV. "The audience really responds to her honesty," says Rod Aissa, MTV's director of talent development, who hired Moore. "And she's the first one to say, 'Let's see how I can improve.' "
Hooked on performing since wowing her parents (Stacy, 43, a former newspaper reporter, and Don, 43, a pilot) at a sixth-grade production of Guys & Dolls
, the Orlando-based Moore began doing commercials and at 14 was in a recording studio when a FedEx worker overheard her music and arranged to get her demo to a friend at Sony Music. Her love life hasn't gone as smoothly. "I like older boys, but they think, 'She's underage!' " sighs Moore. "I'd love to have somebody in mind when I sing." While Moore ultimately wants to be a reporter like her mother, she isn't finished with the music biz: "When people come up to me and say, 'You made it,' I think, 'But I'm not done yet. Not everyone's heard my music' I want to be a household name."