'C' Change

Since scoring a hit with last year's prom anthem ''Graduation (Friends Forever),'' Vitamin C (a.k.a. Colleen Fitzpatrick) has blossomed into her own citrus flavored media empire. Her scary yellow and orange dye job has inspired a Mattel Vitamin C doll, a garish shade of Tommy Hilfiger lipstick, and even a question on ABC's ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.'' She has a new single, ''Itch,'' that's a top five radio airplay hit, and a second album due Jan. 30. And, oh yeah, the 28 year old hyphenate also has three new film roles, including a substantial part in ''Dracula 2000,'' and cameos in ''Get Over It'' (with Kirsten Dunst, opens Jan. 19) and ''Rock Star'' (Mark Wahlberg, April 13). EW.com talked to the golden haired girl about avoiding a sophomore slump, being a Barbie, and that wacky 'do of hers.

Uh, should I call you Ms. Vitamin? Or Lady C, perhaps?
Colleen, you can call me Colleen. No, you MUST call me Vitamin! People call me C most of the time.

So, why did you name yourself after a nutrient, anyway?
It's just a nickname. I wanted to use my first initial, and I wanted to have a familiar name, and it all just came together. Vitamin C is something everybody knows. And that was important because I used to be in a band [Eve's Plum, named after ''The Brady Bunch'''s Jan Brady, Eve Plumb] where nobody understood our name or knew what it was, and it got to be a pain in the ass.

You realize you've replaced Journey as the prom theme artist of choice, don't you?
It was surprising, because it's a very long, personal song, so I didn't even expect it to be a hit. But people seem to relate it much more to friendship than to graduation, and I get lots of letters from people who have lost loved ones who really respond to the ''we'll be friends forever, no matter what'' thing.

You've got a new hit single and an album on the way. What's different this time around?
I think this album's a little bit sexier, and I did more groove based stuff, like drum programming. It's more danceable. I wrote more about love and sex than I probably have ever in my life. Actually, I should say it's about desire and exploration and hunger more than love. I wanted this album to be more fun. I think last time I ended up sounding a bit serious, and that's not who I am as an artist or a person, mostly.

Since your self titled debut album went multiplatinum, are you feeling any pressure with the follow-up?
A lot of people have talked to me about that, because very often your first album is all the material you've been saving up for so long, and after that you have nothing left. But I was really excited to write this album because I knew I could do a better job than the first time. And for me, this is really a fourth album, because I recorded two albums [1993's ''Envy'' and 1995's ''Cherry Alive''] with Eve's Plum.

Tell us a little bit about ''Dracula 2000.'' Since you go by your real name for auditions, did Wes Craven know he was casting Vitamin C?
When I auditioned, I had yellow hair, so they knew who I was. Or at least one guy in the room did, because he had a kid who knew my music. But the movie is sexy and scary. I play Lucy, who's a character most people know because she runs throughout most of the Dracula movies and books. She's a young, curious woman, and she ends up taking a walk with Dracula. It's really a proper acting role for me.

What about your roles in ''Get Over It'' and ''Rock Star''?
In ''Get Over It,'' I lip synch ''Love Will Keep Us Together'' and do a duet with Sisqó of ''Remember.'' It's just a spoof. And in ''Rock Star,'' I just sang. It's a little cameo, so I don't even know if it made it into the movie, actually.

You've had bit parts in movies like ''Hairspray'' and ''High School High,'' but why the sudden focus on acting?
I've been acting and singing since I was about 15, so I've never really considered them to be separate. It was just that when my first band was touring around, I wasn't able to do any more acting, and I was actually discouraged by many people from doing both for a time. And then I came to my senses and thought, that's ridiculous, I should be allowed to do both, and I just started pursuing it again.

So, how creepy is it to have your own doll?
It's pretty cool because it's such a weird thing to have. I mean, it wasn't something I aspired to. It looks a little like me, but she's better looking. She has bigger boobs and a smaller waist and longer legs.

You've been Barbie-ized!
I have been! I played with Barbies growing up and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I was a really big Barbie supporter and I've never understood why everyone hates Barbie, because she kicked ass when I was a little girl.

You've been labeled as a bubblegum teen act even though you're about 10 years older than the current brat pack. What do you think of young whippersnappers like Britney and Christina?
I have nothing but respect for the young women who are doing it today, because I'll tell you, at 19 I couldn't do what they're doing. And I challenge most people that criticize them because it's a tough, tough job to be that age and make the kinds of decisions they have to make. But I think being older I have more control over my career. I know everyone wants to be beautiful, 16, and sexy. But I wonder what happened to being unique and playful and showing a bit of personality? When I was growing up, artists were all about being different and pushing boundaries. I'm willing to risk failing to try to be different, and maybe that's where I have more control over my career than some of the new kids.

Let's talk about the hair. It must make the mothers of all your 12 year old fans absolutely insane.
Some people think it's really cool, some people hate it. It has such a powerful and polarizing effect on people. Walk into a room with yellow hair, and immediately half the room will hate you or be scared of you. And then some people absolutely love it. But I change it all the time. I think it's an accessory, like clothing. I don't take it seriously as a trademark or anything. My hair doesn't write the songs.

Originally posted Jan 01, 2001
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