05/08/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
TIME TRAVEL CAN BE TRULY HAIR-RAISING. ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A good-looking 22-year-old guy who gets shipped back to 1977. The David Cassidy hairstyle he must carry off as dippy high school hunk Michael Kelso on FOX's That '70s Show
"has been bumming me out," admits Ashton Kutcher
, who wasn't even born until 1978. While Kutcher has no quarrel with Kelso's historically correct bell-bottom cords and polyester shirts—he can take those off—"the problem with long hair is that I have to fuss with it so I don't look like a complete ass outside of work," he says. "I hate to mess with it." But, hey, the 6'3" teen idol, who has recently segued over to movies with roles in Reindeer Games
and Down to You
, doesn't want to mess with success either. Three years ago, while a biochemical engineering student at the University of Iowa, Kutcher was sweeping Cheerios dust off the floor of the General Mills plant in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for $12 an hour. At the suggestion of a woman in a restaurant, he entered—and won—the Fresh Faces of Iowa modeling contest. As part of his grand prize, Kutcher got a trip to New York City to meet with modeling agents, and soon he was on billboards for Calvin Klein. After moving to L.A. in 1998, he caught the attention of '70s Show
creators Bonnie and Terry Turner. "He got the role because everyone else was reading the character as stupid, but Ashton made him naive," says Bonnie, who adds, "He knocked us all out with the way he looked." Kutcher credits his looks to his dad, Larry, 51, a factory worker at General Mills, and mom, Diane, 48, who works at Procter & Gamble. "My parents are hot," says Kutcher, who has a fraternal twin brother, Michael, and a sister, Tausha, 24. The actor's ablutions are as straightforward as a disco beat, "I wake up and wash my face with a bar of soap," says Kutcher, who shares an L.A. home with his girlfriend, actress January Jones, 22. "I wet my hair and shake it. Every now and then I'll put on lip balm, but that's a comfort matter." It's also pretty comfortable for Mila Kunis, 16, who plays Kutcher's TV girlfriend, Jackie. "He's got very nice lips," she says. "He's also got nice deep eyes, nice bone structure and a toned body, He's a hottie."