When you think of teen actress Amanda Bynes, you probably don’t think “masculine.” But the What I Like About You star goes butch in her latest movie, She’s the Man, in which she plays a high schooler passing for her twin brother. Bynes, 19, talked to PEOPLE.com about fake facial hair, adolescent acne and why gorgeous guys aren’t for her.
Have you seen the ’80s teen cross-dressing movie Just One of the Guys?
Yes, I had. The cast watched different movies every night to help inspire us: Twelfth Night, Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie, White Chicks, and I went to see Transamerica.
What was the hardest part of becoming a guy?
Facing the world without any mascara! Not only that, but when we went through blocking, I’d be wearing fake sideburns and eyebrows and a wig cap, so I looked like a crazed Olympian swimmer who was half-man, half-woman and looked, like, aging.
Did you ever go off set as a guy?
One day I went to Starbucks with my sideburns and eyebrows on, and I remember the cashier looking at me and then immediately averting her eyes. I sort of grunted, you know, “Keep the change!” I think maybe she just thought I had an abnormally large amount of facial hair.
Did you get any insight into the male psyche while making this movie?
I was talking to (an extra) one day when I was dressed as a girl, and he said, “You know, I like you better when you’re a guy.” And I was semi-offended. I said, “Why?!” And he said, “You talk to me more when you’re a guy.” So when I’m a guy, I’m stripped of my insecurities and I’m like, “Well, this is who I am.”
There’s a lot of kissing in this movie. How was that?
It was definitely strange. (Costar) Channing (Tatum)’s girlfriend was on set the day when we’re on the soccer field and we kiss. And she’s, like, in total direct eyeline. I’m like, “Channing, is there any way that your girlfriend could sort of step behind you, so I don’t have to look her dead in the eye?”
Did you ever work at a kissing booth, like your character does?
No, I never did. I was never the cool kid. I had horrible acne and had to go on Accutane. It was so hard on me. It kept me from wanting to go up to people, because I was so insecure. I never belonged to any group. I was never really popular.
Are you seeing anyone now?
No. I feel like I’ll meet someone when I’m supposed to – hopefully someone who thinks I’m cute as a boy, too! I’m never attracted to the gorgeous guy. Jude Law? Yeah, he’s beautiful, but that’s not my type. I love when people are smart. My dad is a dentist and reads all the time, and is always talking to me about stuff in the paper. So I think I’m looking for someone to fill my dad’s shoes, and that’ll be hard. But I don’t want to get married yet – I just want to have fun!