UPDATED 05/06/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/06/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT

BRANDY IS BURSTING INTO WOMANHOOD right before her mother's watchful eyes. "Those are a little tight in the rear," cautions Sonja Norwood, scrutinizing a pair of pants that hug her daughter's drop-dead figure. "Mom!" television's reigning teen queen snaps back. "That's because I have a big butt!" At least it's not poured into hip-huggers. "Mom would kill me if I showed my navel," Brandy complains. Sonja sighs. "She turns 18 in a year, and at that point she can make her own decisions," she says. "I hope I'm dead by then!"

Perish the thought. With help from Norwood, who manages her, Brandy is riding high with a new series (UPN's Moesha) and a hit single ("Sittin' Up in My Room" from Waiting to Exhale). Her looks? "In a perfect world, I would have higher cheekbones," she says. "I would totally change myself to look like Naomi Campbell." Maybe, but at 5'7" and 115 lbs., she has no problem making the most of Brandy. "I wash my face every night with Ivory soap, and I don't wear much makeup," she says. "The more natural, the better." She also has her synthetic hair extensions braided every three weeks ("It takes forever—eight or nine hours"), and she watches her diet—sort of. ("I go to McDonald's every day. But I don't eat much.") The restraint pays off. When exactly does this fly girl feel most fine? Says her mom, wearily: "Whenever she looks in a mirror."

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