October 22, 2014 12:00 PM


EVEN IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, MICHAEL CLIFFORD was a rebel. Every day, he got demerits from his music teacher because he refused to wear uniform-regulation socks. When asked to name the class “bad boy” back then, the other 5SOS guys all look at Michael, who turns 19 on Nov. 20. “I spent a lot of time away from school,” admits the guitarist, who has said that attending was “torture.” These days that restlessness shows up in his chameleon-like hair (see below) and anytime he is asked to sit still. On the 5SOS video shoot for “Don’t Stop,” Michael chased Luke around with a fake sword and a baseball bat. “Michael is the fun, crazy one,” says Frank Borin, the “She Looks So Perfect” video director. “He’s always the instigator.” Perhaps it’s a side effect of his nonstop creativity. “Michael was an idea machine, constantly pitching ideas for his scenes,” says Isaac Rentz, who helmed the video for “Don’t Stop.” At dinner the night before the shoot, “he came up with 20 potential superhero names before we’d even ordered food.” The only child of Karen and Daryl Clifford, who ran a computer business outside Sydney, Michael calls his parents “quite cool.” He loves sharing thrills with his dad, whether they’re motorbiking in Australia or going gaga over Michael’s photo with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones. Free time means playing the sci-fi adventure game “Destiny” on the laptop that rarely leaves his side. For the guy who calls himself “Pringle” (“like single, but hungry”) and was once spotted out last year with 18-year-old actress Abigail Breslin, being chased by mobs of girls seems straight out of science fiction, too. “You’re like, ‘There are 200 people after this car that I’m in,’ and you’re just like, ‘I’m not that special,'” Michael told Rock Sound. “It’s kind of scary. I’ve had a few thoughts where I’m like, ‘If there is a fan in my room…’—as I open the door—’… what am I going to do?'” Having his best friends by him is a huge relief. “We keep each other grounded all the time,” he says. “Keeping our whole thing a little family is one of the most important things we can do.”




1 He hates tomatoes.

He says he “will never understand” how people eat them.

2 He travels with a small, stuffed lion named Daniel.

He calls the toy “my new best friend.”

3 Bugs are the enemy.

He confesses, “I’m actually horrified of them.”

4 His favorite emoji? The eggplant.

“I saw an eggplant for the first time in real life yesterday,” he says. “I was incredibly disappointed by it.”

5 He wears strange gym wear.

“I legitimately work out in Batman shorts,” he admits.


• He’s affectionate.

“I enjoy a nice cuddle,” he says.

• He calls himself a “sucker for sad movies,” and he’ll watch romantic comedies!

“Just watched a chick flick with Luke,” he said. “Now we need to do something manly like push-ups or eat steak.”

• Kitty pics make him happy.

He says that Pusheen the cartoon cat “is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

• He loves Frozen.

In March he tweeted, “Do you want to build a snowman?” along with a photo of the world’s cutest snowman, Olaf, adding, “I LOVE HIM.”

• And he hates drama.

“Pointless arguments are my biggest pet peeve in the world,” he says.

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