05/08/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
THOUGH SHE'S PART OF THE girl group TLC, Tionne Watkins, aka T-Boz, knows how to maintain her individuality. At age 25, her naturally sandy-brown hair has already been, by her own count, "Black ... Platinum ... Honey-blonde ... Streaked. Once I used some Kool-Aid," she says, "and it came out purple-burgundy." Just in case you're wondering, "T-Boz is unique," confirms the group's longtime producer Dallas Austin.
Her nickname came about when friends in Atlanta, her home base, teased her, "Tionne's a boss." Earlier, when she was a mere babe in the 'hood growing up in Des Moines, she says, "I looked like Spanky from The Little Rascals." Now her cut of many colors isn't the only component of this one-woman Rainbow Coalition. There's also her skin ("darker on my body than my face, so I'm kinda two-tone"), which she takes care of with plain Baby Magic. "I just look at myself as old Tionne, you know? Dooky-dooky-do."