All grown up

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2007, 12:00am

From tomboy to happily married woman, Avril Lavigne is a music and style chameleon.

But the mellow Canadian pop-punk princess insists that she changes for nobody but herself.

Lavigne was in Hong Kong last week to promote her third studio album.

At a crowded press conference, she abandoned her customary aloofness and played by the rules, answering questions from the media with an occasional polite smile.

But her air of arrogance remains. When asked why her album is titled The Best Damn Thing, she replied, 'Because it is!'

Slouched on a hotel sofa, Lavigne yawned constantly, as if bored by the questions, especially those about her change in attitude and style.

'It's kind of weird because, when you are changing, people are like, 'Why are you changing?' But I'm not even thinking about it,' said Lavigne.

'It's just natural, and I guess we all do it. Like clothing styles - they come in and go out.

'Usually what you wear when you're a kid or a teenager [isn't what] you wear in your 20s.'

She has a point. Teenage girls don't wear dresses like the scene-stealing black-and-silver striped number Lavigne wore to the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Lavigne is no longer the tomboy who hung out with guys, got drunk and started fights.

She is a now a woman, a wife and an international pop star. Her albums have sold over two million copies in Asia, not including Japan where she has a huge fan base.

'I feel very grown up and mature and I've got a good grip on things.'

That seems to be what today's Lavigne is looking for: total control over all aspects of life, from fashion to music.

Last year, she clashed with photographers in Los Angeles and reportedly spat at them. But this year she claims to have the media under control.

'It's probably not what you guys think, and it's not even a big deal for me. I live in LA and there are lots of paparazzi there.

'I know when I'm out, my picture will probably be taken, and I know where they [the paparazzi] hang out. So when I really don't feel like having my picture taken, I just don't go to certain spots.'

To keep a grip on everything while spending your life in the spotlight is by no means easy. Lavigne admitted that she had to take on a lot of responsibilities and big decisions regarding her life and career.

But the 22-year-old star said she had never felt any pressure.

'I don't really get stressed. I think it was actually more work when I was younger, because I was trying to break out and had to do more stuff. [Even then,] it was not very stressful for me.

'Now ... I am just trying to enjoy as much as I can.'

The only question that Lavigne seemed genuinely interested in, judging by the way she suddenly stopped slouching and leaned forward, was whether her good looks had helped her career.

'I think I am where I am today not because of my looks but because of my voice and my work ethic.

'I didn't get here because of my face, but because I practise singing every single day in my basement.

'I don't think you necessarily have to be good-looking to be successful,' said Lavigne.

Few would agree that stardom owes nothing to good looks. But for Lavigne, who possesses both looks and talent, this is not an issue.

'We live in a world where things are possible.'

Of course, it helps if you are Avril Lavigne.