09/17/2009 at 03:00 PM EDT
After developing a reputation for not only her sex appeal, but making provocative and occasionally outrageous statements in the press, Megan Fox
wants you to know something about her: "I'm kidding!"
"Ninety-eight percent of the things that come out of my mouth are intended to be harmless or even charming," Fox tells PEOPLE at a fan event and autograph signing for her new film Jennifer's Body
at Hollywood's Hot Topic store. "They're not ever intended to be offensive or controversial."
Fox also insists she's not just trying to put on a saucy persona in the public eye for her own amusement. "It's just to get through it, I think, because you want to present and you want to be available to your fans, but you also don't want to give too much of yourself away, because people take advantage of that," she says. "It's learning the balance between giving the information that needs to be given, but then also protecting your privacy and your personal life, the things that you hold dear."
Her Jennifer's Body
collaborators say they know a different side to the actress than the one in magazines and blogs. "She is incredibly professional," says screenwriter Diablo Cody. While costar Amanda Seyfried adds: "People will be surprised to know and it will be proven very shortly when people see this movie that she's a really talented actress."
And even though she plays a sexually charged and very literal man-eater in the horror-comedy there's one thing that Fox finds really
scary: her power over men.
She said she first discovered that her alluring beauty gave her some sway over males when she was 12. "I think initially it's sort of overwhelming because little girls are very much exposed to sexuality through the media and the entertainment industry and advertisements," she says. "So when you realize that you have the same power that you've watched women who've come before you have, it is frightening and you don't know what to do with it."
Even now, well-established as one of Hollywood's hottest sex symbols at age 23, she's not at ease with her own sexual power. "I don't think you ever get comfortable with it," says Fox. "It's a strange, sort of almost supernatural thing
During a Q&A session with hundreds of fans at the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex, Fox shared memories of high school that revealed even her budding sex appeal didn't exactly elevate her status. "I was not 'the sh-t' in high school," she laughs. "I was not an outcast but I didn't have a ton of friends. I got picked on, and I ate lunch in the bathroom because I was afraid of being picked on in the cafeteria."
"I was a loner, and I think that's okay," she says, and while she thinks celebrity life messages are "lame" she did offer a tidbit: "I think it's perfectly acceptable not to run with cliques."