At last we know the secret behind Zac Efron‘s signature shaggy do: His biggest pet peeve, he says, is “the hair that sneaks in the back of your shirt after a haircut. Luckily I don’t get too many haircuts!” Now starring in the comedy 17 Again, the High School Musical grad, 21, sat down with Blaine Zuckerman to tackle readers’ questions about everything from his celebrity crushes (Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz) to his choice of shampoo: “Whatever’s in the hotel.”
When did you have your first kiss?
Valley Stream, N.Y.
My first kiss was not very romantic. It was a game of truth or dare. It was in a tree fort and I didn’t know what I was doing. There were candles and stuff, so it was kind of cool…. But I don’t recommend candles in a tree fort.
You play a teenager in 17 Again. What do you see when you look back to your 17-year-old self?
Upper Sandusky, Ohio
A kid who has no idea what he’s in for! I was not the coolest kid in school, but I wasn’t a total pariah. I fell somewhere in between. I wore goofy hats to school and did musical theater. Most people thought I was a total weirdo. As long as you have a sense of humor about it, no one can bring you down.
Which actor do you admire most?
ASHLEY LIZZETTE TORRES
You’re perfect for the lead in the remake of Footloose, a classic. Why did you decide against it?
KRISTIN ALI SMITH
It was nothing against Footloose. I’m eager to try new things. Don’t worry, I’m not going to pull a 180 and make a string of bad movies! But there are new adventures to go on that aren’t necessarily musicals.
HOW CAN I GET TOGETHER WITH MY CRUSH? HOW DO YOU BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP?
Ruth Par Hnaing
It’s so funny. I mean, people assume that I’m successful at this. You have to essentially create opportunities to get to know each other, find out if you have similar interests and hobbies. I’ve failed miserably several times at relationships growing up. It’s not like I’ve got all the right moves!
I’ll tell you after I meet and hang out with both of them!
Do you plan on cutting your hair short any time soon?
It’s amazing; there’s so much emphasis put on my hair! It’s not a big deal. The day a director tells me to cut it, it’s gone.
Do you feel pressure to keep a clean image for younger fans?
No pressure, only motivation. I have a strict set of values I’m proud of.
For more of Zac Efron‘s answers, go to people.com