As star-is-born moments go, Megan Fox‘s was a doozy. About 25 minutes into 2007’s Transformers, the curvy sex bomb, dressed in a denim miniskirt and a cropped tank top revealing miles of midriff, leaned over the engine of Shia LaBeouf‘s car. Folks might have walked in expecting to see the Autobots and Decepticons, but they walked out talking about…that girl. Now the 23-year-old Tennessee native is reprising her role as brassy Mikaela Banes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (due June 24), and has two more films on the way. Off screen, she’s graced numerous magazine covers in come-hither poses, unleashing the kinds of provocative quotes that give publicists cardiac infarctions. Not that that’s shutting her up. When we met up with Fox poolside in Los Angeles last week, she greeted us in a bikini top under a white T-shirt, snug sweatpants, and dark aviator sunglasses.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Transformers turned you into an overnight star. Looking back, how do you feel about the movie?
MEGAN FOX: I’m terrible in it. It’s my first real movie and it’s not honest and not realistic. The movie wasn’t bad, I just wasn’t proud about what I did.
What percentage of your range have people seen so far?
Seven percent. On the new one, I tried. But unless you’re a seasoned veteran, working with Michael Bay is not about an acting experience.
What was it like the first time you worked with him?
I was actually an extra on Bad Boys II [in 2003]. There’s a club scene, and I was one of the club kids. I was in a stars-and-stripes bikini and a cowboy hat, dancing under a waterfall.
Yeah, I was still in ninth grade. I liked it at the time, because I was getting out of school. So I was like, F— yeah, I don’t care! And I got paid extra because if you allow them to put water on you, you get paid extra. I got probably $600.
How did you feel about being sexualized like that when you were 15?
I thought it was awesome. I was going to a Christian high school and I wasn’t a feminist yet. I hadn’t sat back and analyzed society yet. I was 15! I just did what I was told to do.
What did your parents think?
My mom was with me! I was always übersexual, so she wasn’t shocked. I was always wearing the smallest clothes I could find. I would go to the mall like that — in a short, short skirt and a giant wedge heel. That’s what you do when you’re a teenage girl in a small town.
Were you rebellious as a teen?
I would steal my mom’s car because I was always grounded and she would never drive me anywhere.
When you were how old?
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