The star talks to PEOPLE about success, gossip and her love for old school hip-hop

By Lesley Messer
Updated July 05, 2007 05:20 PM
Robert Pitts /Landov

With an album, a concert tour, movies and merchandise carrying her name, Hilary Duff is one of the busiest 19-year-olds around. Her latest adventure has her creating original designs for a virtual doll community. PEOPLE caught up with Duff to dish on her latest project and find out what it’s like to be one of Hollywood’s hottest teens.

Are you taking time off to relax this summer?
No, I’m going to be working all summer. I have a tour in Canada and then I start touring in the States and then I’ll be going to Europe, so it’s going to be a really crazy summer but it’s fun.

What is something that you won’t leave home without?
I bring my two dogs with me. It’s hard because you’re in a different hotel room almost every day and it’s just so impersonal. I’m definitely a homebody so having them there makes it more comfortable. And my laptop – I bring that pretty much everywhere – and lots of shoes!

So you can have options?
Yes. You know what’s funny? When you’re on tour – except for at night because you get dressed up for the show – normally you look so gross. You just throw on sweats and don’t do anything with yourself until the show. After about a month of that you’re like, “I feel like a man. I need to be cute.” So I have to have cute options and put a little effort into it.

What kind of music will you listen to on the road?
I’ve been getting into a lot of older hip-hop music recently like Dr. Dre. Something about the summer brings it out in me – like I love Salt-N-Peppa. I love Amy Winehouse right now and Bloc Party’s new CD and I’m still a huge Cure fan.

You recently signed up to be a part of the community. How did that happen?
When I was younger I loved paper dolls and so it’s kind of like an updated version of that. When my manager told me about it I was really excited because it sounded so cute.

What’s it like seeing yourself as a cyber doll?
It’s strange at first but I’ve done a couple things like that before. I’m a character in a video game so it just becomes normal after you start seeing yourself in magazines and on TV and everywhere else.

Do you ever read about yourself online?
I try to stay away from the gossip stuff. I used to be obsessed and I just feel like it’s so negative. I don’t like reading stuff about myself on there so I’m trying to stop reading about other people.

Does it ever get easier?
Yeah, it does when you just stop caring. It just becomes uninteresting. They say the same stuff about all the same girls or all the same people and supposedly everyone has all the same problems – it s pretty amusing now.

What’s something that you let yourself splurge on?
Girls get cravings to get a new pair of shoes once in awhile so I definitely treat myself. I buy things for my house. I definitely feel like it’s a big treat to have what I want in my house and get to enjoy it.

Do you give yourself an allowance or do you just buy what you want?
I definitely don’t just buy what I want. When you get to that point, then you’re never excited about anything If I splurge on a bag I still get so excited about it and like, talk about it all the time. I like feeling like that.

Is it cool or hard to be a young mogul?
It’s a little bit of both. It’s so funny that people think that I’m a mogul – I don’t do all this by myself. I get to be a part of the creative end of it and I definitely do know a lot about it but it’s not all my ideas and I have so many people that help me on a daily basis.

Is there one endeavor that is especially fun for you?
I’d say that the movies and the music are the most fun. With the music I get to be myself and I get to be on stage and there’s nothing more rewarding than that The movies are cool because I get to challenge myself.

Did you always expect to be this successful?
I didn’t even know a lifestyle like this existed. It is really exciting and really scary at the same time. There’s a lot of pressure to deal with and a lot of stress and I do feel a little bit like a business woman but I have this other job where everyone knows who I am and everyone watches everything I do and it’s kind of scary because I really am just a person at the same time.

What’s the biggest perk in your line of work?
It’s nice to know that you affect people in positive ways. And I am really young and I’m able to support myself and help out my family if they need it or help out a friend. And since I do have a life where I can just go wherever I want whenever I want, I get to have everything I want in my house and be private and enjoy it here.