Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff
Duff has a message to her critics: "Sometimes I think that people can be a little mean-spirited, and why waste your energy being like that?"
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

07/07/2004 AT 03:30 PM EDT

Famous feuds, shopping sprees and a heartthrob costar – Hilary Duff seems like another J.Lo in the making. But really, the Cinderella Story singer-actress says, she's just a 16-year-old from Houston who got "very, very lucky" with her own fairy-tale life (never mind the public squabbles with Lindsay Lohan and Avril Lavigne). Since breaking out on the now-defunct Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire in 2001, Duff has graduated from the junior-high scene to the big screen (Agent Cody Banks, Cheaper by the Dozen) and scored a few MTV hits ("So Yesterday," "Our Lips Are Sealed"). She recently talked about her charmed life as a teen superstar, and shared some of the perks – including her kiss with costar Chad Michael Murray.

You got to smooch Chad, your onscreen "prince." How was it?
(Laughs) It was much better than my real first kiss, but like, probably way more awkward because there were 270 people watching, crew and stuff like that, and we also shot it on the third day of filming. Out of those three days, I'd only worked with Chad one day. ... and we actually practiced a little bit.

In the trailer?
Yeah. I had to. Like, there was just so many people there, and (we) were just like, You know what? We have to forget about everyone staring at us and go for it and not even think about it.

Do you ever see yourself as a Cinderella type?
I definitely do think that my life sometimes – and this sounds so cheesy – but it's kind of like a fairy tale. ... I get to travel the world. I have so many fans that support me. I get to do what I love to do. I get to make movies, and I get to be onstage and sing and really be myself. I have such a beautiful family and such a great support system and wonderful friends. I get to go shopping all of the time.

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But you also get the pressure that comes with being a teen star, especially in terms of image.
When you open up a magazine, it's disgusting. I mean, (they're saying) people are either way too skinny or they're way too fat, or so-and-so isn't pretty enough. When is anyone ever perfect? When can someone just be left alone?

I don't listen to what other people say. I don't care if someone doesn't think that I'm skinny enough or look okay.

Has anyone tried to team up you and your onetime rival, Lindsay Lohan? A teen titans movie ... would you do something like that?
You know what, I would be totally open to work with anyone, even her. I think that'd be something great that people would really enjoy. But I'd love to work with Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants). I think that she's a really sweet girl.
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