Photograph by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for MPG Sport
When multi-hyphenate Julianne Hough—the 28-year-old actress-meets-dancer-meets-singer-meets-clothing designer—was in Atlanta in 2010 to film the remake of Footloose, she made a vow: Never again would she cut calories and carbs to dangerously low levels.
Though a lot of celebrities say this sort of thing, and swear they scarf Big Macs but manage to stay feather-light because they chase their kids across fragrant meadows, I was inclined to believe the Dancing with the Stars judge when she told me this during a Thursday chat at Buckhead’s CorePower Yoga. That’s partly because she looks strong and powerful, not skeletal, and also because I’m a fan. Like many fitness-obsessed women, I see her as my spirit animal, someone who would smile and high-five me in spin class while, say, Gwyneth Paltrow would sneer and shame me for not dropping 30 pounds on a goat’s milk cleanse.
So, with my status as a fangirl very much intact, I talked to Hough about fitness, dieting, and yoga pants during her stop in Atlanta to promote her clothing line, the MPG by Julianne Hough Collection, and that night’s performance of her Move Beyond live dance show with brother Derek Hough at the Fox Theatre.
Have you been back to Atlanta since filming Footloose?
Oh, yeah. I came here for our other tours, and to visit my best friend (actress Nina Dobrev) when she was filming The Vampire Diaries. I really like it here. I lived on Spring and 10th, so I went to Piedmont Park with my dog and went shopping in Little Five Points.
I hear you also like carbs, and that you make sure they’re part of your daily diet.
Yes. I’m a normal person. When I was here for Footloose I was on one of those crazy diets. I barely remember shooting because I was so light-headed. It wasn’t sustainable. The minute I had anything that wasn’t clean I would swell up. Never again. It’s not about skinny. It’s about feeling good.
What do your meals look like?
I eat a lot of chicken and vegetables, but that’s not all. My energy level wouldn’t be high enough to do the activity I like to do. And also I get really bored. I always add in quinoa, sweet potato, rice, or sometimes do pasta. If I’m eating like that I don’t get cravings. But if I only eat my chicken and veggies, then I’m like, ‘I need pizza and pasta and cheese!’ I find that if I incorporate the carbs in there, I’m not craving those things.
What’s your workout regimen these days?
Well, it’s different when I’m on tour like this. But when I’m home I do three days of dance-based fitness cardio and two days of CorePower Yoga, SoulCycle, or something like that. And of course, because I live in L.A., I go on hikes with my dogs. I always just try to keep moving. My mom taught me that. She’d walk around the house, doing squats, or blow-drying her hair while doing calf raises. I always thought it was weird that she couldn’t sit still. But I do that now all the time. I’m always moving. That’s why I designed these new clothes.
I had your pants on earlier. I mean, not your pants, but a pair from your line.
Oh, thank you! For seven years I’ve been wanting to do a line, so I partnered with a company that’s been doing this really well. When I look cute or feel good in clothes, I feel more confident and pumped up. This line also works for running around and doing errands and meetings. It’s about function and performance.
My husband doesn’t understand why I need 10 pairs of black workout pants. But I tell him, “They’re all different!”
Exactly! You say, “This pair is the one that makes my butt look good!”
Okay, last question, and it’s important: If someone were to do a film of my life would you be willing to play me?
Heck, yeah! Absolutely.