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Justin Bieber turns 17 today, and in the last week he’s hit some major milestones – one, hitting the Vanity Fair party after the Oscars as the arm candy of Selena Gomez, and two, shacking up with her in the penthouse suite of St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif., where the lovebirds strolled on the beach and dined at Stonehill Tavern. An onlooker describes them as “affectionate, cuddling and holding hands.”

That haircut seems so long ago and it’s just eight days old!

I caught up with the Baby singer just before he turned 16, and he told me all about his plans for the future (hm, college or car salesman?), his dream girl, his passion for fast food, his favorite hangout and more.

Compare and contrast…

Before the Baby singer hooked up with his Wizards of Waverly Place older woman (she’s 18 ½), he was a squeaky-clean kid who crushed on Beyonce, even telling me the Single Ladies singer was his celebrity crush, favorite candy, his dream collaboration and the star who makes him most nervous.

When it comes to his dream girl, he had a few qualities in mind.

“I look for a girl who has a nice smile, and pretty eyes, and a girl that can make me laugh, because I love to laugh,” he says.

When asked what he’ll be when he grows up, he says, “probably a car salesman. I’m just kidding. Hopefully I’ll stay in the path of music.”

Shockingly, he tells me I am the first person to ever compare him to Justin Timberlake.

“I’m not upset. He’s an icon. He’s very musical, but I’m my own person.”

As for the future?

He says, “I think it’d be great to go to college. I don’t know when it would fit in my schedule, but I think it would be great. I don’t know what my major would be. That’s a while away.”

For Justin, a good time was going to Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta.

“I like a lot of stores. I just kind of cruise through the mall. I like Foot Locker, and Journeys.”

And when he hits the food court, he could be counted on to go straight for dessert.

“I like smoothies, so basically anywhere they have smoothies. I don’t have a favorite flavor. I change it up.”

He confessed to eating a hamburger at Wendy’s, a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a taco at Taco Bell in the past few days.

Still, he says he’d never eaten at Olive Garden, even though “I love Italian food.” (Mmm, those breadsticks, that salad … chicken parm, take me away!)

Justin was still a regular kid.

He skipped school to take care of his headache with Advil, and dreamt he lost an important basketball game.

His favorite drink?

“Probably chocolate milk because it tastes good.”

As for his favorite book?

“The Bible because I have good morals.”

And he didn’t mind setting an example with his position in the spotlight.

“I think it’s great that I’m a role model. I’m able to influence a lot of kids my age, and have them to look up to somebody. It feels great, and it helps me as a person.”

Despite his growing fame, he’d never gone undercover.

“For Halloween I was a clown. It was just a costume.”

And if a fan wanted to get his attention, all they need to do is “scream really loud.”

Sharon Osbourne, who teamed up with Justin and Best Buy to auction off his costumes to benefit The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer program at Cedars Sinai Hospital, gives him career advice for staying hot for a long time.

“I would say to him what I say to Ozzy and that’s just be true to yourself,” she tells me. “You have to do what you feel is right in your gut and not what other people want you to do.”

Don’t change, kiddo. Happy birthday, Justin!
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