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Debbie Gibson Answers Four Questions on Her 44th Birthday

08/31/2014 AT 06:00 PM EDT

She was a teen star, releasing the triple-platinum Out of the Blue when she was just 16.

In the subsequent 28 years, Debbie Gibson has had her ups and downs. Her career high: becoming the youngest person in history to write, perform and produce a #1 hit, with “Foolish Beat.” Her low? Probably the entire season she competed on Celebrity Apprentice.

On August 31, Debbie Gibson turns 44 – not that she’s counting. “I’m not in any way ashamed of the numbers, but I’ve thrown them out in my daily life because they truly limit how we view ourselves and others,” she tells PEOPLE. “Tina Turner helped me redefine what age means – or doesn’t mean. She was 44 when “What’s Love Got to Do With It” hit #1 – and back then, that was like being 64! But she rocked it then and still does today. I toured with Eartha Kitt in Cinderella and she was 76. She was still kicking her leg over her head!”

We didn’t ask Gibson to kick her leg over her head, but 44 seemed like a good age to ask Gibson four random questions, which she answered happily.

Okay. In your 44 years on this earth, what’s the worst fashion mistake you ever made? Was it the black hat you wore in the “Electric Youth” video?
[Laughs] No! It was definitely not the hat, which I incidentally stole from [The Young and the Restless star] Michael Damian at a Z100 Christmas morning show. I love that hat!

It was probably just wearing ripped jeans and high tops for way longer than a young lady should! But I was in no rush to grow up; there’s lots of time to be grown up, so why not?
Note: PEOPLE fully acknowledges that the crack about the black hat was a low blow; both Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift have recently rocked the exact same fedora.

Okay, fair enough. Everybody knows that you can sing and play the piano, but what is the most surprising talent you have?
I can hula hoop literally for hours on end! I used to want to be on That’s Incredible for it! I could probably do it for days if someone handed me some food!

What type of food would you want someone to hand you? The same things you ate as a teenager?
When I was younger, you couldn’t force me to eat a carrot! I can’t say I crave them, but I will have one now, on occasion! I mixed my first few records at The Hit Factory in NYC. They asked for a list of all my favorites, from snacks to toilet paper. So, those hits ended up being recorded on a diet of Peanut M&M’s and Cool Ranch Doritos! I still like them both, but they don’t like me. They’re far from my healthy clean diet that I adhere to 95% of the time! When I was younger, you couldn’t force me to eat a carrot! I can’t say I crave them, but I will have one now, on occasion! I mixed my first few records at The Hit Factory in NYC. They asked for a list of all my favorites, from snacks to toilet paper. So, those hits ended up being recorded on a diet of Peanut M&M’s and Cool Ranch Doritos! I still like them both, but they don’t like me. They’re far from my healthy clean diet that I adhere to 95% of the time!

A bag of Peanut M&Ms is a dollar, and let me tell you, it’s worth every penny. But other than that, what’s the best dollar you’ve ever spent?
Hmm. It’s a toss up between buying my first two 45′s – Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” and Marie Osmond’s “Paper Roses.” They were probably, like, 79 cents back then. I told Donny recently that ["Paper Roses"] was my first single by a female. His reply? “I love you anyway!”

This is a bonus question: even if we’re no longer classified as youths, can we still be Electric? Please say yes.
Of course! We are all ageless, timeless and eternally electric!

7b52p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Debbie Gibson Answers Four Questions on Her 44th Birthday
Source: Debbie Gibson Answers Four Questions on Her 44th Birthday

Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was ‘The Amazing Adrien’

08/31/2014 AT 05:25 PM EDT

As a kid, Adrien Brody adored Harry Houdini and even performed magic as “The Amazing Adrien” when he was just 11 years old.

Now, the actor, 41, is playing the title role in The History Channel’s two-night miniseries, Houdini, which premieres Monday night, and the full-circle moment is not lost on him.

“I idolized Houdini as a kid, and now I get the privilege of playing him,” Brody tells PEOPLE. “He was a big influence in my life, not only as a magician, but the magic leads to an understanding and an appreciation of acting and then a lifetime of devotion to acting – to then go back to play the man that was an inspiration. It’s just wonderful.”

But Brody says “The Amazing Adrien” wouldn’t have expected such synchronicity in his life.

“I was a skeptical little kid,” Brody says. “I couldn’t have dreamt of it.”

The Oscar winner seems to have lost some of that skepticism over the years however, saying Houdini serves as a reminder that the American dream is achievable.

“You can become so much by being passionate, enthusiastic and driven, and Houdini shows the complexity of that path,” he says.

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Adrien Brody in Houdini

Egon Endreyi / A&E

And like Houdini, Brody has been profoundly influenced by his mother. “Her values as an artist are very pure,” he says of his mom, Sylvia Plachy, a photographer. “She’s always really done it her way, and poetically.”

“[My mother] really sees the complexity in the world and also the humor and the tragedy as well. That’s an interesting parallel to my path as an artist.”

Houdini airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 9 p.m. on The History Channel.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was The Amazing Adrien
Source: Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was ‘The Amazing Adrien’

Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

ebcdmichael turchin 435 Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

Michael Turchin and Lance Bass

Lester Cohen/Getty

08/31/2014 AT 05:00 PM EDT

Leave it to Lance Bass to “Pop” the question twice.

The former ‘NSYNC boy-bander proposed to fiancé Michael Turchin again on Sunday, a year after the couple first got engaged.

Bass, 35, gave Turchin a beautiful gold and black ring in honor of the happy occasion.

“Who gets proposed to a second time on the first anniversary of the first proposal?? This guy!!!” Turchin captioned an Instagram of the sparkler.

Now a LGBT rights activist and host of his own SiriusXM radio show, Bass told PEOPLE in June that he and Turchin weren’t rushing down the aisle.

“I literally called Michael last night and said, ‘Babe, we have to plan something. I’m tired of telling everyone we haven’t done anything yet!’ ” he said.

A source tells PEOPLE the couple now plans to marry in early 2015.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring
Source: Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness

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Jerry Jackson and his family

Ethan Hill/Redux

08/31/2014 AT 04:00 PM EDT

Jerry Jackson will never forget the last time he glimpsed his granddaughter.

She was not yet 2 when a ray of sunlight came through Jackson’s farmhouse kitchen and hit the little girl’s face, illuminating it for several seconds before blackness descended on him once again.

Jackson holds this and other recollections in his mind like an endlessly repeating home-movie loop.

“I remember what sunflowers look like, the rolling hills, the color of the sky and the trees,” says the 68-year-old, blind for nearly four decades.

“I feel lucky for that. But I miss not seeing my kids and grandkids.”

Those grandchildren are the youthful faces of an Iowa clan that has faced bad genetic luck with astonishing grit and resilience.

As a result of a rare disorder only recently identified, 84 living and deceased members of the Jackson family have gone or are going blind.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness
Source: The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness


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