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Hillary Duff, Anne Hathaway: Teen Queens Of Hollywood

Mean girls, teen girls, clean girls -- a new gaggle of girls are, like, totally in this summer, relegating old favorites Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to "so yesterday" status in the lucrative U.S. tween market.

On movie screens and magazine covers, girls on the cusp of womanhood have become hot celebrities and thus cool role models for the 7- to 13-year-old set. While former pop princesses Britney and Christina have established themselves as adult sex kittens, actresses Hilary Duff ("A Cinderella Story") and Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement") seem happy to navigate the minefield of growing up.

Already fabulously rich and impossibly pretty, these teenage drama queens have lives with a fairy-tale quality that belies the everyday angst of the middle school cliques and high school proms endured both by their various screen characters and their loyal fan base.

At 16, Duff is queen bee among this new breed of teen girls. Cute, clean and savvy, she became a household name among tweens in 2001 as a klutzy middle-schooler in the Disney Channel TV series "Lizzie McGuire" before bringing the character to the big screen last year in "The Lizzie McGuire Story."

Duff's latest movie "A Cinderella Story," (opening in the Philippines on August 11), is the latest in a series of girl movies that have turned school into cool at the box office. The movie sees the refreshingly bubbly actress battling a wicked stepmother as well as the vicious but "popular" high-school crowd in a updated version of the classic tale.

Duff says it is flattering rather to be a role model for millions of younger girls. "If they have something they want to accomplish and they look at me and see I'm trying to fulfil my goals, that is really cool," she says.

Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway, 21, returns in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" (opening on August 25) as Mia, the bright, slightly awkward San Francisco teenager and reluctant royal who gained poise and self-confidence under the tutelage of her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews). In the intervening years, Mia, now a self- assured young woman, has graduated from college and has grown to embrace her Genovian heritage. She is about to take the biggest journey of her life, leaving everything behind to move to Genovia, where her grandmother, Queen Clarisse awaits her at the royal palace.

"Mia is a lot more confident now, a very self-possessed young lady," notes Hathaway. "In this film, Mia discovers she may be expected to compromise her beliefs and values in order to become Queen of Genovia, and she has to learn to define her own boundaries. Within that struggle, she gains a tremendous amount of self-esteem.

Hathaway credits her director Gary Marshall with a great deal of guidance in the further development of her character: "I have to go on record as saying that Garry Marshall is one of the greatest people on the planet. He was so supportive in helping me discover who Mia has become," says Hathaway. "I just love him-it may sound cheesy, but I've kind of blossomed under his wing in this film."

Source: Warner Bros.

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