Brandy: Fairy-tale Princess Brandy Norwood has become the belle of her own ball, gaining fame as a chart-topping singer and the star of the sitcom "Moesha," and finding her own Prince Charming. As a little girl growing up in Mississippi, Brandy dreamed of stardom. By the time she was four years old, she had begun singing in her father's church choir. Encouraged by Brandy's undeniable talents, her dad began schooling her in a variety of musical styles and taking her to see concerts. She particularly enjoyed seeing Whitney Houston, whom she admired as a role model. When Brandy's father got a job in California, he began taking her and her brother, Ray J., on auditions. Ray got some parts, but Brandy didn't. At age 13, Brandy enrolled in Hollywood High School's performing arts program. She finally got her big break in the fall of 1993 when Atlantic Records — where she had unsuccessfully auditioned to be part of a girl band — offered her a recording contract. Her first album, the self-titled "Brandy," debuted a year later and went platinum. She was only 15 years old. In 1996, Brandy landed a starring role on a new UPN sitcom called "Moesha." She was proud to be playing a disadvantaged African-American girl who was portrayed as an intelligent, responsible individual. "Moesha" became the highest-rated show on the network. In 1997, Brandy teamed up with Whitney Houston to film a remake of "Cinderella" for ABC; she made history as the first black actress to play the lead part in the fairy tale. In 1998, Brandy released her second album, which included the Grammy Award–winning single "The Boy Is Mine." Brandy struggled to feel good about herself and succumbed to the pressure to be thin; she was eating very little. In 1999, Brandy was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed the dehydrated star with exhaustion. "I lost Brandy," she reflects. "I abandoned her for my career." Since "Moesha" went off the air in 2001, Brandy has achieved her heart's desire both professionally and personally. The talented performer has found time to work on her third album, and she's tied the knot — with music producer Robert Smith in June 2001.moreless
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