Paulina Rubio nearly got stuck being a movie star. After making her film debut at age 4 in a comedy starring her mother, Mexican actress Susana Dosamantes, Rubio grew up on Mom's many movie sets in Mexico and Spain. Boooring! "In acting, you sit too long during breaks," says Rubio. "I like to move."

Lately in one direction: up. Rubio, 31, whose Spanish-language album Paulina was named Billboard's Latin Album of the Year in 2001, is now—like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and other Latin stars—singing a new song. Her first disc in English, Border Girl, debuted last month at No. 11 on the charts. "She is a free spirit," says singer Marc Anthony, a close friend, "and so much fun."

The older child of attorney Enrique Rubio, 59, and Dosamantes, 55 (the pair divorced in 1974), Rubio kicked off her music career at age 8, when she joined the popular Mexican kids' group Timbiriche. Says Dosamantes: "She's like an atomic battery."

When it's time to recharge, Rubio heads for homes in Mexico City, Los Angeles or Miami. Meanwhile, her boyfriend of eight years, architect Ricardo Bofill, 36, is designing yet another abode on the Miami waterfront. Sounds like a place where Rubio can slow down and focus on her yoga, which she does for 90 minutes daily. "My brain," she says, "is always going very fast. That's why I meditate. I like to listen to silence."