From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
AGE: 19
BIRTHDAY: FEB. 21
PLAYS: BEST BUD CHAD DANFORTH

LET'S START WITH THE OBVIOUS: FACIAL HAIR...WHY THE GOATEE?

That's the way I naturally am. I'm a guy. I'm part Italian. My father has a goatee, and I guess I take after him.

WHEN YOU MEET YOUR FANS, WHAT DO GIRLS ALWAYS ASK YOU?

Do I have a girlfriend! Teenage girls are very blunt and unafraid of much.

WELL, WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER?

I tell them the truth: I don't have a girlfriend.

ON HSM3, WAS THERE ANY SLANG YOU GUYS CAME UP WITH ON-SET?

There was one that we had that kind of fell through. We decided it wasn't cool enough.

WHAT WAS IT?

It was when we were working on this junkyard scene. We decided that everything that was cool would be "junk."

AND WHAT DID YOU CALL SOMETHING THAT WAS UNCOOL?

When something was bad, it was "yard." As in, "You got yarded," or, "That's yard!" I think it was our director Kenny Ortega who finally said, "It's not going to catch on, guys."

ARE YOU AT ALL DISAPPOINTED THAT REAL-LIFE HIGH SCHOOL WASN'T AS COOL AS HSM?

I went to an arts high school, so I did sort of have that experience. We didn't break out in song and dance on cafeteria tables in the middle of nowhere, but you would walk through the halls and people would be doing scenes in the middle of the hall, or people would be singing or playing instruments. It is a wonderful creative environment to be in—around nothing but people who do the same thing as you.

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: NOW THAT I'M DONE WITH HSM, I'M...

Ready to take on what the rest of the world throws at me.

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE WORLD TO THROW AT YOU?

I want to be directing. I want to do Broadway.

SO WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE IN 10 YEARS?

I'll be 29. Wow. I have no idea. I would like to travel the world. I would hope to be married. But professionally it could be anything. I don't want to ever put myself in a box.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL TO IN THE WORLD?

Italy is my favorite place. The food is amazing. The people are so warm. All of my family on my mother's side, they're very loud Italian people and all the guys and girls greet each other with a hug and a kiss, and it's the same way in Italy. It's a beautiful thing to be around.

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR COSTARS WILL BE IN 10 YEARS? LET'S START WITH MONIQUE.

Monique will definitely have a book out about life. She could be the next Oprah. Vanessa is going to have a music career; she is a great singer. Zac is going to continue in film, Ashley in comedy. Lucas will direct indie films.

IS IT TRUE YOU'RE CUTTING YOUR HAIR NOW THAT HSM IS OVER?

That rumor is partly true. If a role comes along that calls for it to be cut, I'll cut it. But I'm not dying to get rid of my hair.

IF YOU DO CUT IT, WILL YOU SAVE IT?

[Laughs] I never even thought about that. It would just be there on the floor, so no.

NOT EVEN ONE LOCK OF HAIR?

Maybe a lock...but it grows back!