December 30, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s been a bumpy break from the gate for both teenager Claire Danes, My So-Called Life‘s angst-ridden Angela Chase, and return-to-teenager Scott Wolf, Party of Five‘s captivatingly sensitive Bailey Salinger. Danes, 15, and Wolf, 26, capture everything from zit mortification to virginity-extinguishing dreams with a poignant realism that sends viewers scurrying to make sure TV writers haven’t stolen their diaries. Despite critical adoration, both series linger in ratings hell, but the actors are enjoying a different kind of heat. ”When are you a star?” asks Danes. ”I don’t even know when it begins.” Maybe it’s when Net users log on daily to evaluate your performance (as MSCL fans do with Danes’), or when, like Wolf, you’re mobbed by 2,000 teens at a mall. Though both are sifting film offers — Danes plays Beth in Little Women, and Wolf’s intensity (not to mention those dimples) made Double Dragon almost watchable — they remain loyal to their TV roles. ”I’m trying to enjoy this as much as I can,” says Wolf. ”I can tell this is something special, not something I should come to expect.”

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