Becoming ... Lindsay Lohan

See how the 17-year-old Mean Girls star rose from child actress to teen queen. By Lucy Maher

01 of 14

LINDSAY A LA MODE

LINDSAY A LA MODE
Dan Herrick-KPA/ZUMA

Although she has a stylist, Lohan (in New York in May) doesn't often stray from her own brand of sexiness. "I think less is more," she says. "If I'm wearing a really short skirt, I'll probably be wearing flatter shoes. I've never been one to go all out," because "you see everything. So, what is your mystery?"

02 of 14

BOY CRAZY

BOY CRAZY
Gina James/Graylock.com/Retna

"Growing up, I was never one to hang out with the guys," says Lohan. "I was always with my girlfriends." These days, Lohan likes "confident guys," and has been spotted at clubs in New York and L.A. recently kissing That '70s Show star Wilmer Valderrama (in April), though she insists he's "just my friend."

03 of 14

CHILD STAR

CHILD STAR
Jim Cooper/Retna

After two years on the soap Another World and a starring role in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, Lohan took a break from acting and spent four years in school full time. "It was a lot at once for me," says Lohan (in 1999) of her early career. "I was 12 years old and I wanted to be with my friends."

04 of 14

BUSTING OUT

BUSTING OUT
INFGoff

A day after Mean Girls' April 30 opening (at No. 1), Lohan hosted Saturday Night Live, where she made fun of her feud with Hilary Duff and riffed on rumors of a breast enlargement by playing a busty Hermione returning to Harry Potter's Hogwarts school after a summer vacation.

05 of 14

WE ARE FAMILY

WE ARE FAMILY
Bill Davila/FilmMagic

Lohan, the oldest of four kids born to Dina, 41, and Michael, 44 (pictured in 2003), grew up on Long Island, where she was home-schooled from 11th grade on to accommodate her work. As for college, "It's definitely something I'm interested in," she says, but "I want to focus on (acting) because this is where I want my career to be."

06 of 14

CUTIE PIE

CUTIE PIE
WENN

At 3, Lohan signed on as a Ford Model, and by elementary school was appearing in commercials for Jell-O and The Gap. "I was comfortable in front of the camera," says Lohan (at 6 in an ice cream commercial). "It's not too often that a young kid smiles and stuff like that on cue."

07 of 14

BOX OFFICE BABE

BOX OFFICE BABE
Chris Polk/AP

Lohan's fourth film, this year's Mean Girls, opened at No. 1 and has earned more than $60 million. "This just really confirms that she is a movie star," says Paramount exec Rob Friedman of Lohan (at the film's L.A. premiere in April). "She is very, very savvy about what she is doing."

08 of 14

SHOP GIRL

SHOP GIRL
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty; Ginsburg-Spaly/X17

Like most teens, Lohan (left, in New York in February; and right, in L.A. in April) is "a huge shopper" and favors L.A. boutiques Fred Segal, Madison and Kitson. As for designers, she says, "I've been very into Chloe and Stella McCartney lately. I've always been a huge Chanel fan. And Gucci, Louis Vuitton. I could go on forever."

09 of 14

LOVE TRIANGLE

LOVE TRIANGLE
Lenny Furman/SOUTH BEACH PHOTO

Lohan dated singer Aaron Carter (at her 2002 sweet 16 party in Miami) from January 2002 to April 2003, then later found out that he had squired Lizzie McGuire star Hilary Duff at the same time. A public war of words between the teen stars ensued, but these days, they are "friends," says Lohan. "We're cool."

10 of 14

PARTY TIME

PARTY TIME
MirShen/Celebrity Photo

Earlier this year Lohan joined Nicky Hilton (center) and Nicole Richie for a soiree at an L.A. club. Of her reputation as a party girl, Lohan says: "I'm 17. I'm learning, and I'd rather make my own mistakes and learn from them than have to be sheltered my whole life."

11 of 14

ALL GROWN UP

ALL GROWN UP
Janet Gough/Celebrity Photo

Lohan will soon move into an L.A. apartment with 18-year-old Disney Channel star Raven Symoné (in L.A. in September), whom she met on a Vanity Fair shoot. She's also working with American Idol judge Randy Jackson on a music career: "I'm trying new things right now and seeing where it takes me."

12 of 14

IT'S A HIT

IT'S A HIT
Carlo Allegri/Getty

In 2003, Lohan returned to the big screen opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the summer hit Freaky Friday, which earned $110 million and ignited her career. An avid singer, Lohan (at the film's L.A. premiere) also contributed a song – "Ultimate" – to the film's soundtrack.

13 of 14

HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST

HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST
Scott Gries/Getty

Lohan, who is set to host this month's MTV Movie Awards, taped a promotional spot in May with Sex and the City actor Mario Cantone. Presenters Ashton Kutcher, Matthew Perry, Kirsten Dunst and Eve, among others, will join her at the show.

14 of 14

KEEPIN' IT REAL

KEEPIN' IT REAL
T.Tan/Shooting Star

Lohan (whose upcoming projects include next year's Gossip Girl, about rivals at an exclusive Manhattan private school, and Herbie: Fully Loaded, based on the '60s movie franchise) says she stays grounded by being "very aware of how people can change, and I'm not going to let myself get like that."

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