Kate Bosworth

01/23/2004 AT 11:09 AM EST

Like her character in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Kate Bosworth is just a small-town girl who's found her prize in Hollywood. But her real-life reward is a thousand times better: She's an It girl dating an It boy (Lord of the Rings' Orlando Bloom), and she's become a breakout big-screen star, thanks to her wave-riding turn in 2002's Blue Crush. The 21-year-old actress recently talked about romancing a heartthrob and staying "normal." (Yes, she still buys her own groceries.)

You've been dating Orlando Bloom for nearly a year. Mandy Moore recently told us that girls shove her out of the way to get to her famous boyfriend, Andy Roddick. Any similarities?
That is definitely true. I totally understand what she's saying. I get it. Orlando's a good one, so ...

Has that ever happened to you?
Well, we don't really do the big event thing. We have made this choice to keep the relationship private. We do our own things, and it's been great that way. We keep everything really priceless.

With both of you having such high profiles, how can you keep doing that – not going out together?
We take it all in stride. We haven't invited the pressure in yet. Maybe it will come, and maybe it won't. We are just living our lives normally, which has been great. We'll see.

What's the last normal thing you did?
God, I don't know. I grocery shop. It would be so strange not to do something like that.

You've enjoyed It girl status, though. How do you keep your feet on the ground?
It's funny because I get asked that all the time. It's a no-brainer. When you enter this business, you are a certain person, and success only magnifies who you are. Everything gets intense, and you're under a microscope, but if you're a pretty normal person, and you have your values, you just keep going.

You play a normal, small-town girl in Tad Hamilton. What was it about the role that excited you?
I actually had just finished Blue Crush. I was on the plane back from Hawaii and I had a stack of scripts in front of me. My agent had asked me what I wanted to do next, and I said, "I want to do something dark and edgy, completely different from Blue Crush." And I actually read (the 2003 porn-star drama) Wonderland on the plane ride and loved it. The very next screenplay I picked up was Tad Hamilton. I read them literally back to back. By some blessing, I wound up getting both of them.

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