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Life can’t get any better for Jordin Sparks. She reigned
supreme on American Idol this past season, becoming the show’s youngest champ
in the process, embarked on a hit summer tour with her AI buds and her self-titled debut album hits stores tomorrow. And she’s not even 18 yet! The teen phenom took time out of her busy schedule to chat with OK! about her new disc, saving herself for marriage, the pressure to be thin and why her AI experience was “traumantic.”

HER ALBUM

What’s the most personal song on your album?
I co-wrote a song called “Freeze” and there’s another song
called “Worth the Wait” that I co-wrote. I think it’s a bonus song on the
Wal-Mart album that’s going to come out.

Those two are very personal to me because “Freeze” is about
freezing the moment and memorizing every detail and trying to remember
everything about that time, which really applies to what I’m going through
because everything has gone by so fast and I can’t remember some of the stuff
that I’ve done.

“Worth the Wait” is about when that one person comes it’s
worth it. I’m glad you waited for me and I waited for you.
That song’s really personal too.

There’s another song that I didn’t write but it really
applies to me and I’m so glad they included it on the album. It’s called “God
Loves Ugly,” and I’m so excited I got it on the album. It talks about how no
matter what you feel like, no matter what you’re going through, no matter
what’s going on, if you have a blemish — if your teeth are messed up, if you
have a bad hair day — God takes that and he turns that into something beautiful
no matter what.

If you could freeze one moment, what would it be?
Being on the tour. The opening night of the tour this year
and the last night of the tour this year were both really, really amazing. We
were like, “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” The last night, we were like, “I
can’t believe it’s already over.” Probably if I could just remember a little
bit more of what went on. There were so many good times that happened on tour,
and the show went by so fast too. I would love to be able to go back and soak
it up a little bit more.

Any wild tour requests?
Not really. The funny thing is people are like, “You just
want green M&Ms” and I’m like, “No, but I only like green gummy bears.” I
don’t mind. They can give me a bag of gummy bears and I’ll pick out the green
ones.

SAVING HERSELF FOR LOVE

You were saying that “Worth the Wait” is very personal. Were
you in a relationship that that song is about?

No, I haven’t been in a relationship but I did take a stand
to remain pure until I was married. They were like, “What do you want to write
about?” and I was like, “Can we write about that, but not so in-your-face?” It’s
about a girl saying, “Wait for me. It’ll be worth it. Wait until I’m ready.” It’s a pretty song. I’m really glad I got it on there.

Why is it important to you to wait until you’re married?
It just makes sense. For me, I’m thinking how great it’s
going to be to give my heart fully to that one guy once he comes along, instead
of handing my heart in pieces to different guys. It makes sense to me. It’s
very important to me.

I didn’t date before the show, and I still haven’t been on
my first date yet anyway, so I don’t really know what I’m missing. I’m like, “It’s okay,” and I feel like it’s important for me and how I feel about myself to
just remain that way.

How might a guy get your attention?
They have to be really, really funny. Humor is a huge, huge
plus for me. I love being able to laugh. I laugh all the time, and I’m really
dorky and nerdy. I love to make people laugh, and I’m really random all the
time. I guess they kind of have to be that way too. They have to be cute. You
have to be attracted to them. Just nice, sweet, outgoing and respectful.

Any celebrities you have your eye on?

All of them are pretty much taken. Brad Pitt is very
cute and he’s way too old for me, but he’s very, very good-looking. He’s very
nice to look at. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal? He’s funny sometimes. Jim Carrey is one… I would love to marry him.

HER DIET

How do you cope with the pressure to be stick-thin?
I really think that Hollywood
needs to get over that. I’m just saying! I kind of thought it was really dumb
before, anyway, before I got into all this. I’m still the same. I’m not going
to change just because you have this image of somebody and how they need to
look, because I will never look like that. I would probably fall over if the
wind blew if I was that skinny. I can’t help it. I love food and I love my
curves. I’m very strong-willed and I’m stubborn in that sense to where I’m just
like “no, I won’t be that way.” I definitely do like exercise. I like to eat
right. It’s all about being healthy. The stick-thin thing, I’m kind of just
like “not gonna do it” and I couldn’t.

Do you follow a special diet and exercise regimen?
Well, before the show started and before the tour, because
everything has been so crazy, I’ve kind of been out of it for awhile. Before I
was hiking the mountain every morning and I was going to spin class every
night. It was all about portion control. I was trying to do portion
control but it’s kind of hard to do that because I need a little more
self-discipline than I have. [Laughs] I
eat salads, steaks and good stuff, and I’m trying to cut out soda but it’s kind
of hard. That’s what I was doing, and I’m trying to get back into it. Since
everything has been so crazy and sometimes I don’t really have time to go out
and drive to the gym, I’ll just do some sit-ups in my room, jump rope in my
room a little bit, to get that cardio in, and then just trying to eat right.
I’m trying to get back into it.

During the holidays when you’re eating all this great food,
is there anything special you do to stay in shape?

Sadly, no, because just from past years, all I want to do is have a good time and not have to worry about it,
but I’m going to have to this year. I think I’ll be at home, so I’ll probably
hike the mountain in the morning and my aunt is a trainer up at the gym. If
she’s still doing that, I’ll probably go up there with her and do spin class
again.

AMERICAN IDOL

Which American Idol is your idol, and why?
I love all the past winners, and no offense to the guys,
but Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Kelly Clarkson just are amazing. Everything they have gone
through, they’ve sold millions and millions of albums worldwide and then on top
of that, there’s so many things they’ve gotten to do. I mean, Fantasia’s on
Broadway doing The Color Purple and she is phenomenal. I got a chance to go see
it. She is amazing. I was like, “Uh! I want to be like this.” I want to be able
to do more than just sing, because singing is always going to be my number-one
love, but to be able to act and dancing at the same time? It would be amazing.

Carrie is just so dang sweet, didn’t she win Female Vocalist
of the Year again at the CMAs? It’s just crazy to win awards like that.

Of course, Kelly, she’s the first Idol and she just set the
bar for all of us. I really, really look up to her too. So, [I idolize] the women on American Idol.

Who do you keep in touch with from your season?

Oh my gosh, all of them! I talked to Blake Lewis and Chris Richarsdon three
days ago, I talked to Melinda Doolittle yesterday, I saw Gina Glocksen last week because I was
doing promo in Chicago,
so I got to spend time with her. We went and got coffee. I talked to Sanjaya Malakar a
little bit ago. I keep in touch with all of them.

What advice would you give this season’s contestants?
Buy a digital camera. You’re going to need one. Just make
sure you have fun with the season. Take it seriously, but not so seriously that
you forget why you’re doing it and why you’re singing, which is because you
love it. There were times when I was like, “Oh my gosh, why … ?” and I really
had to sit and think and I was just like, “Yeah, I’m doing this because I want
to do it and because I love it.” Just remember that you love what you’re doing
and make sure you’re you, as cliché as that sounds. Be you.

Biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Being on the show was really crazy and exciting and slightly
traumatic all at once. The fact that I had to do school up [to] three hours a
day and be up earlier than everyone else on top of the crazy schedule we had, I
had to do school plus everything else. It was really crazy and I’m really proud
of myself that I did that because it was really crazy and draining at the same
time because by the time that was over I was tired and I didn’t really want to
do anything else. But it was okay.

The other time I guess would be doing the tour and having to
record at the same time because I’m still new to this. I’m sure people do it
all the time but for me, I’ve never sang that much in my life continuously — it was eight songs a night, five nights a
week — and then on my days off, when I was supposed to be resting, I was
singing all day long. It was very crazy and it was very trying but it was good.

WINDING DOWN

How do you like to relax?
I love to pick up a good book and get lost in it. I’m a
reading freak. I love to read. Sometimes I’ll have four books I’ve started all
at once. I love playing my guitar and just writing some poems about whatever’s
on my mind.

Best book you’ve read recently?

I’m in the middle of a book called River God by Wilbur
Smith. It’s something my grandpa gave to me. He’s like, “Jordin, have
you ever read these?” I said, “No, papi, I haven’t read these yet.” And then
he’s like, “Okay, you have to read them.” He’s been telling me that for a couple
years. Finally I’m like, “Okay, papi, I’ll read it.” He gave it to me, and it’s
pretty good so far.

What’s something we don’t know about you?
I can walk on my toes. Ever since I was little, I would just
walk around on them. My mom would be like, “You are a freak of nature, Jordin.” And I’d be like, “I know.”

Would you like to act?
I would love to. Before I even did American Idol, when I was
12 is when I first started to perform and I did some musical theater. It was
really fun. I joined the drama club when I got into high school. I love to act, so
it would be really fun if I could act in a movie maybe one day. It would be a
blast.

What’s your dream role?
Probably playing a daughter or a friend. I don’t know if I
could do a main role, it just depends what people think or how they can see me.
It would be really cool to do an animated movie where I can do some voiceovers
or something like that. That would be very cool.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
I hope I will have been successful, sold a couple million
records, maybe have a couple Grammys, have a really loving boyfriend or family,
depending on what happens, and I don’t know! I want to be happy in 5 to 10 years.

By Valerie Nome

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