LOS ANGELES — Hours before pop star-actress Mandy Moore takes off to London, where she’ll begin her ninth film, the 19-year-old interrupts the shop talk for that of the retail kind. With a limited time to shop in London, “Where should I go?” she asks in a lowered voice.
Stocking up on vintage and designer finds from Marni, Stella McCartney, Chloé and Matthew Williamson seems a guilty pleasure for one of the hardest working hyphenates of her generation, a pop star, actress, Neutrogena spokeswoman, and a regular host and guest on MTV — who also has her eye on Broadway.
Her latest film “How to Deal,” in which Moore plays a quirky teen opposite Trent Ford, boasts a cool soundtrack — The Donnas, Howlin’ Wolf, The Music — rivaled only by her character’s wardrobe — vintage sweaters, Cacharel tops, old school Nikes and Moore’s own Juicy Couture jeans. But the film also marks the first time the demure actress will show a little skin. In one pivotal scene, she strips down to a strapless bra and pants. “That was weird. I just don’t feel the need to dress provocatively,” she says. “It’s easier to go the sexy route. Sex sells, even if it’s also more criticized. But if I’m going to spend my life selling myself in music and films, I want to be comfortable.”
Well, she’d better get comfortable, because during the next few months, Moore will be selling her skills non-stop. In London she’ll begin filming “First Daughter,” starring as presidential progeny giving the Secret Service the slip during a European vacation.
Come next month, Moore will arrive in New York for the premiere (probably in Lanvin) with tennis star Andy Roddick, the 20-year-old true love of Moore’s young life. “It’s my first time ever on the red carpet with a date!” she gushes.
And before her next film, “Saved,” hits theaters next fall, Moore will be promoting a new album, “Coverage,” featuring covers of Joan Armatrading, Elton John and XTC songs, with additional vocals by Evan Dando and the Rembrandts. It’s the third album since her debut “So Real,” which she released at age 15, prompting her to leave Orlando, Fla., and Catholic school for the fast lane.
Except for a Todd Rundgren breakup tune, the new album is driven by Moore’s love match. “Scheduling becomes tricky at times. And our phone bills are so high! But what to do when you’re in love?” she sighs. “At least he’ll be in Europe this summer for the French Open and Wimbledon.”
But while the couple might be pop’s Romeo and Juliet, their romance comes with a parental stamp of approval. Moore’s mom, a former news reporter and a big tennis fan, met Roddick after a Toronto tournament and brought him to the set to meet Moore. “My parents love him,” she offers enthusiastically. “Andy’s played tennis with my mom and that was the ultimate.”
Alas, the girl who can do just about everything isn’t much on the court. “My job is to just go out, sit in the stands and cheer him on,” she says.
From the front row, Moore also cheered on New York designer Marc Jacobs last February. Yet despite her love of fashion and all things “girlie girl,” she hasn’t been befriended by any one house. “I haven’t become buddies with anybody, but I’d like to. I can be a rent-a-friend,” she teases. “Just pay me in clothing.”