By People Staff
Updated May 24, 2004 12:00 PM

Lacey Chabert

Fans of the 1990s TV drama Party of Five watched Chabert grow up playing Claudia, the youngest daughter of the orphaned Salinger clan. Now 21, the Mississippi native revisits school days as a spoiled rich teen in Mean Girls.

ON HER PARTY OF FIVE YEARS I have nothing but fond memories. It’s a little embarrassing to look back and see myself as a child going through all those awkward years. When I meet people, it’s usually, “Oh my gosh! You’re a woman now!” What do you say? Thank you? I have no idea what I’m supposed to say to that. I’m just like, “Yeah, it happens.”

ON BECOMING A MEAN GIRL They really thought I was a dramatic actress and weren’t sure I could do comedy. I fought to get the appointment and it turned out great. I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to audition, but there’s something really rewarding about it because you went through the entire process.

ON WORKING WITH COSTAR AND WRITER TINA FEY She’s so incredibly smart and her humor is brilliant. She’s the same way in real life: funny, down-to-earth and easygoing. She was protective of her script but wasn’t possessive over it. She was open to ideas and ad-libbing.

ON HER STAR SEARCH START I was 8 or 9. I sang “Happy Days Are Here Again” in my little patent-leather Mary Janes with bows in my hair. I went to the semifinals, and I’m very proud of it!

ON OTHER PASSIONS Photography is my hobby. I love to read, I love to shop. I’m your typical girl. I take college classes on nights and weekends. I’d like to have a degree someday. It’s a toss-up between psychology and literature.

ON SINGLE LIFE I’m just dating. Nothing serious. One day, I’d love to be married and have kids, but not now. I do have lots of pets: three Chihuahuas named Teacup, Teaspoon and Kitty. They travel with me wherever I go.