Celeb Spotlight: Amber Tamblyn

06/02/2005 at 06:00 AM EDT

Celeb Spotlight: Amber Tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic
Age: 22
Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.
Current gig: Playing the rebellious teen Tibby, one of four best friends in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

She's got her own sisterhood
Sisterhood follows four pals (Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera and Blake Lively) whose closeness prevails during a life-changing summer apart – and Tamblyn knows firsthand that friendship can survive the distance. "One of my oldest friends, Lindsay, moved to England to study, but when (she) comes back, it's just like old times," she says. "When you find an everlasting kindred spirit, so to speak, that person will always be there with you no matter where you are physically."

She picks the movie over the book
"I've only actually read half of that book," Tamblyn says of the novel upon which the movie is based. "I just didn't want to feel responsible for having to translate something onto screen. They had cut certain things out of it and I didn't want to bond with that stuff." Not that she would have read Ann Brashares's best-selling series as a kid: "I never got into what my friends got into, like The Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew," she says. "Like, I read The New Republic and stuff like that."

She had a near-miss with a cheese grater
Like her disaffected Sisterhood character, Tamblyn went through a nonconformist period – to the dismay of her parents, actor Russ Tamblyn (who played the leader of the Jets in the movie version of West Side Story) and Bonnie, a teacher. "I got (a tattoo) when I was 16," she says. "My mom drew a picture for me when I was little and I took that to a tattoo artist and had him sort of recreate it. But when my mom saw it, she said she was going to take it off with a cheese grater. It's a fairy with an evil grin. It's not Tinkerbell like everyone thinks."

She marched to her own beat as a teen
Tamblyn played Emily Bowen Quartermaine on General Hospital for seven years, beginning at age 11 – and while working found it hard to relate to her school peers. "I went to prom one year with my friend Sam and it was horrible – I left early," she says. "I just didn't identify with it. I was into another culture. This is going to sound funny, but I was in a break-dancing group. I went to a lot of jungle parties with a lot of drum & bass (music). That's where my friends were."

She's not losing her religion
She played a teen who communicated with God in the acclaimed CBS drama Joan of Arcadia (recently canceled after two seasons), and spirituality plays a big part in Tamblyn's life. "My parents raised me to believe in God and to respect all forms of religion," says the actress, who in 2003 recorded the song "God and Me," inspired by the show. And when the holidays roll around? "I'm not Jewish, but I celebrate Hanukkah," she says. "I have an obsession with Jewish boys. I've never dated one, but I wish I'll marry one someday."

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