September 10, 2001 12:00 PM

Being a vampire comes with teething pains. Playing the lead bloodsucker, Akasha, in Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned, due early next year, R&B singer-turned-actress Aaliyah shot a scene where, she says, “I am yelling and being this forceful creature, and my fangs just fly out across the room. It was so embarrassing. They had to make me a different pair that stayed in my mouth.”

Off the set, the 22-year-old New York City native is often spotted with Roc-a-Fella Records CEO Damon Dash, whom she declines to discuss. “I am a pretty reserved person,” says Aaliyah. Yet she wasn’t shy about handling real boa constrictors in the video for “We Need a Resolution,” from her recently released third disc, which is self-titled. “I saw bags moving in the corner,” she says. “And I found out they were real snakes. I was a little nervous, but I kinda like doing crazy stuff.”

Aaliyah is now shooting a costarring role in two sequels to The Matrix. But that isn’t all she has to look forward to: There’s also Halloween. “I got to keep Akasha’s fangs and contacts,” she says. “I’ll have some fun.”

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