Though her non-singing voice is so willowy you strain to hear it, 22-year-old Mya (last name: Harrison) is nothing if not the quintessential pop star.


Since first making a splash as the airy, trilling ballast that kept the testosterone-laden hit single "Ghetto Superstar" afloat in 1998, she's released two albums, appeared opposite LL Cool J in In Too Deep and hit it really big as one-fourth of the lingerie-wearing quartet (along with Pink, Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim) that steamed up MTV with their cover of "Lady Marmalade" for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

Now, in addition to putting out a new album (the upcoming Smoke and Mirrors), Mya will soon be seen in her biggest film role to date as a slatternly prison inmate opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger in this winter's big-screen version of the Broadway musical Chicago. Mya knocks aside the inevitable comparisons to that other high-profile, Oscar-baiting musical ("It's a much darker film than Moulin Rouge," she says) and describes her time on the set in loving terms. "I actually got to be next to Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones dancing and singing," Mya says. "My favorite memory is when director Rob Marshall told all the girls that we could have as much dessert as we wanted. Our costumes are very, very revealing, but it's set in the burlesque period--what was considered sexy back then was very plump women, so we were told to gain 10 pounds. It's usually the other way around. [Laughing] I really felt good about that."


Daniel Davis