June 20, 2012 12:00 PM


AGE 18


Harry Styles

IF THERE’S ONE BIG LESSON TO BE LEARNED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL FRENZY SURROUNDING HARRY STYLES, IT’S THIS: MUM REALLY DOES KNOW BEST Since the teen was too nervous to apply for the U.K.’s X Factor in 2010, it was his mother, Anne, an office worker, who filled out the application form and sent it off-giving her son a chance to flaunt his singing skills on national TV. The small-town lad had never set foot in London before and had only performed publicly once at the wedding of a classmate’s mother (Harry’s payment: $65 and free sandwiches). But Harry soon made his mom proud-wowing X Factor judge Simon Cowell with an a cappella rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Harry often thinks back to his mom’s actions and how it changed his life forever. “What if she hadn’t done that?” he recently wondered in One Direction’s book Forever Young, pondering how different his life would be. He might still be jamming with his high school band White Eskimo in Holmes Chapel (pop. 5,795) in northwest England-where “nothing ever happens,” he says-working Saturdays at the bakery and getting ready to head to college.

Now that he’s reached full-fledged heartthrob status, Harry-who often elicits the most screams from the band’s admirers-is loving his globe-trotting lifestyle, cuddling with a koala in Australia, scoring an invitation from First Lady Michelle Obama to visit the White House and snatching up T-shirts at Abercrombie & Fitch during a recent trip to Los Angeles. “People there are so polite,” he gushed about his trip to America. “When I order breakfast in England, they’ll drop it off and barely say a word. In America, they’re so cheerful, you want to invite them to share it [breakfast] with you.” After renting an apartment with bandmate and best friend Louis Tomlinson, Harry has now struck out on his own-he reportedly purchased a $930,000 apartment in London’s East End. So what’s next for the singer, who brings big sister Gemma, 21, on tour with him and who-while traveling-stays close to his mom with frequent text messages? “We want to have No. 1’s, travel a lot, go back to America and have as much fun as possible,” the singer said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

“I got such a thrill out of singing in front of people. I realized I wanted to do it more and more” -Harry

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