June 20, 2012 12:00 PM


AGE 20


Louis Tomlinson

IF THERE’S ONE THING HE LOVES MORE THAN SINGING, IT’S MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH. ALWAYS READY FOR A PARTY, THE OLDEST MEMBER OF ONE DIRECTION HAS A WELL-EARNED REPUTATION AS A JOKER, A PRANKSTER AND A RULE-BREAKER. “Louis is the funny one,” Zayn has said. “But he’s also got a serious, sensitive side. He’s good to talk to if you ever feel a bit down. He’s always there to listen.”

Raised in Doncaster, England, by his mother, Jay, and stepfather Mark (who split up last year) along with his four younger sisters Charlotte, Felicite and twins Daisy and Phoebe, Louis has admitted that he’s still a “mummy’s boy” at heart and that being surrounded by all those females has taught him a lot about women.

One thing he’s learned? When it comes to love (he’s been dating U.K. college student and part-time model Eleanor Calder, 19, since 2011), Louis seems to be looking for a girl a lot like himself. “I like someone who doesn’t take life too seriously,” he told PEOPLE. “Someone you can have a good laugh with.” He’s also said that he hopes to one day settle down with someone “who’s fun and loves adventure. But most importantly, she needs a good smile, must be honest and have a good personality.” (A word of warning: He can’t stand it when girls are loud eaters. “It’s my pet hate,” he said. “I’d say, ‘You’re really hot. Don’t spoil it. Shut your mouth!'”)

Despite all of his success with One Direction, Louis didn’t always know he wanted to be an entertainer. “It was actually late that I realized it would be a dream,” he said. “I only started singing when I was 14.” As a teenager, he also joined a band, which he said “gave me a confidence boost,” and pursued acting, gaining experience as an extra on a handful of British TV shows. He nailed his first high school musical audition at 18, earning the lead role of Danny Zuko in Grease. “It is still one of my proudest achievements,” he said. In fact, if Louis hadn’t found fame and fortune on The X Factor, he figures he’d be in college right now “studying to be a drama teacher.”

Now he dreams of someday working with stars like Bruno Mars and Katy Perry and helping build One Direction into “the biggest boy band around.” So far, he has no regrets. “It’s been such a great ride,” Louis said. “There’s nothing we’re going to look back on and think, ‘I wish I’d not done that.’ I don’t think you should ever live like that.”

“The fact [that] we can make people happy from doing what we love is incredible” -Louis

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