Julianne and Derek stopped by Access Hollywood to talk about Move Live On Tour, Dancing with the Stars, and they even played a game about who knew each other better. Check out the videos below!
In a scene from the coming-of- age movie “Paradise,” out Friday, Julianne Hough’s normally buttoned-up evangelical Christian character, Lamb, knocks back a shot with a bunch of good-looking dudes who beckon her over to their table.
They fawn over her Barbie-doll looks as she sheds her inhibitions and gets down and dirty in Las Vegas, making out with strangers, getting a tattoo, smoking and gambling.
You could call it a case of art imitating life. Hough, the beautiful blonde who shot to fame in TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” has spent the last couple of years letting go of her rigid, conservative past.
She was raised in a strict Mormon community in a dusty Utah suburb. As Hough describes it: “No sex before marriage, no drinking, no caffeine, no smoking, no swear words, no R-rated movies.”
But now the 25-year-old actress is making up for lost time, living the dream by posting bikini-clad selfies on Instagram, diving off yachts and drinking cocktails on the beach with sexy young things, including her BFF, “The Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev.
“I didn’t drink when I first came to Hollywood,” Hough tells The Post. As time went on, she inevitably relaxed the rules — for starters, she moved in with her older (now ex) boyfriend Ryan Seacrest — and embraced a more adventurous lifestyle. “[Now] I don’t think it’s going to define who I am if I am at Chateau Marmont having a glass of wine.”
“It was difficult because [when I first arrived] people thought I was this unicorn,” recalls Hough. “People wanted to know about me and why I didn’t do the things they did. But now it’s all gone to hell!”
That said, Hough’s brand of free-spirited, girly fun is refreshing. She’ll play it up for the cameras, but she’s not grinding on Robin Thicke or anyone else. She’s a bit of a daredevil, but she’s probably not headed to rehab for “exhaustion” anytime soon.
As for religion: “I’m not practicing, but I’m so glad I was raised Mormon,” she says. And even if she’s no longer a churchgoer, there is still one holy father she keeps on speed dial.
One of Hough’s strongest influences is her politician father Bruce, a two-time chairman of the Utah Republican Party, who keeps a close eye on what his youngest child from his first marriage gets up to. Hough has three older sisters as well as her famous pro-dancer brother, Derek, 28.
In the past, Hough has revealed that her disciplinarian dad allowed her to move to LA when she was 18, stating one condition: “Don’t do Maxim.” Later, he wouldn’t stay at her home while she cohabited with the 38-year-old Seacrest.
“He’ll look at [my] Instagram and say, ‘I really do wish you wouldn’t post words like sh-t and b–ch. We don’t need to hear that, Julianne!'”
To this day, Bruce sends random messages reminding her of her moral responsibilities.
“Dad has this thing where he texts: ‘Are you in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time with the right people?'” she says. “He has this intuition and will always text me when I’m in the wrong situation.”
“[When] I’m dancing around and I’m clubbing and maybe I need to slow down on my drinks,” she says. “Or I’m at Coachella and I’m in the moment and I’m not thinking, ‘OK, so if I do this, what will the consequences be tomorrow?’
“Then, out of nowhere, I’ll get a text. Daddy knows!”
Lamb, Hough’s character in “Paradise,” turns her back on religion after getting badly burned in a plane crash which, to the horror of her parents, makes her declare to the shocked congregation at her church that God doesn’t exist. She travels to Vegas with a checklist of “sins” — reading porn, showing off her legs and, the big one, losing her virginity — she is determined to experience.
The directorial debut of Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning script writer of “Juno” and “Young Adult,” the film explores Lamb’s re-evaluation of her beliefs after meeting two eccentric locals (Octavia Spencer and Russell Brand), who encourage her to be more open-minded.
Talking to The Post, Hough falls short of criticizing the organized religion she grew up with, but concedes that her childhood in Sandy, Utah, was like living in “a bubble” where “everyone knew everyone else’s business.”
“When I left and went to LA — and I even lived in London for a while — I was like, ‘Whoa, there’s a whole other world outside of what I’ve known my whole life,'” she says. “It’s not close-minded, it’s just one-track minded — ‘This is what the truth is and this is what you have to do to live a good life and be with the Heavenly Father again.'”
As for Hollywood’s excessive drinking and illegal drugs, Hough has a healthy take on the temptations which have been the downfall of young actors like “Glee” star Cory Monteith, who died in July from a mixture of heroin and alcohol.
“If I do go out and party, I want to remember and say afterward, ‘That was the best night,’ rather than have no memory of the whole thing. I don’t want to wake up feeling gross.”
Director Cody — herself a onetime Catholic schoolgirl who was a stripper before finding film success — was impressed by her sensitive performance as a burn survivor.
“Julianne was one of the first people to read [for the role], and I knew she was the one,” Cody tells The Post. “She had told me that the script resonated with her because she’d had a similarly religious upbringing.”
It’s the second non-musical movie role for Hough, who left “Dancing With the Stars” after five seasons to move onto the big screen. She appeared opposite Josh Duhamel in the Nicholas Sparks’ drama “Safe Haven” this past spring after showing off her singing and dancing chops in “Burlesque,” the remake of “Footloose,” and the film version of the Broadway hit “Rock of Ages”.
“It was great to be able to do something really different, especially having Diablo’s voice coming through,” says Hough. “It was a challenge, and a fun one.”
The other big change she’s getting used to is being single again after a three-year romance with Seacrest ended in March — although she’s repeatedly been seen with director Ari Sandel, her rumored new boyfriend.
“I’m enjoying being on my own two feet,” says Hough, who admits she has been in back-to-back relationships with guys since she was 18. “I love to be a relationship girl. But this is the first time I’ve been able to love myself and my situation and be my own person.”
Julianne and Derek Hough are telling tales from the hidden side of the dancing world. The brother-sister pair is developing a Starz scripted drama set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing, for which they will draw on years of first-hand experiences as competitors at the world-championship level. Titled Blackpool, the drama effort will revolve around the prestigious annual ballroom competition in Blackpool, England, with a focus on the darker side of ballroom dancing.
“When you’re in the world, you’re so invested. It’s literally the be-all and end-all. But when you step back from it, you see that obsession with perfection and the fact that the lifestyle that you thought was so glamorous is actually a little shocking,” Julianne Hough says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The comment comes mere weeks after Hough revealed in a Cosmopolitan cover story that she was a victim of physical and emotional abuse as a young dancer living in England.
Her brother, who appears on Dancing With the Stars, one of the many TV series that have capitalized on the interest in the dancing genre in recent years, makes clear that the series will push into hidden areas of the sport. “What makes it so interesting is seeing all of the politics and the scandal,” says Derek Hough. “It’s framed in the world of ballroom dancing, but the stories that are intertwined are of the partnerships and the sex and the love triangles.”
In addition to lending their own tales from the ultra-competitive world, the pair will serve as executive producers on the project as well as the head choreographers. At this time, they have no plans to appear onscreen, though they do intend to be actively involved in the process of hiring and casting. Julianne, currently on an international press tour for her film Safe Haven, notes that she is meeting with potential writers in London.
The siblings say that this drama is something that they have toyed with bringing to the small screen for some time. They shopped it to a handful of networks, but they say that they were particularly struck by Starz CEO Chris Albrecht’s passion for it in the room. And while they have a deep well from which to draw, they don’t intend to make this a purely autobiographical tale. “We definitely want it to be fictionalized,” says Julianne. “We’re going to start with our experiences in the world and stories that we’ve either seen or gone through, but it’ll be fun to be able to elaborate and fictionalize these characters.”
I’ve added 10 scans of Julianne in this month’s Cosmopolitan Magazine to the gallery! The article speaks a bit about Julianne’s time in London and the things she went through while living there and how this helped her relate to the character of Katie in the upcoming film Safe Haven. Check out the link below to see the scans and make sure you pick up your own copy in stores (or digitally) tomorrow!
It’s that time of year again and all of our schedules are packed with holiday parties!
So, when we caught up with Julianne Hough at the Fulfillment Fund Stars Gala, we asked the blonde bombshell to give us her three rules for going out. Suffice it to say, Ryan Seacrest’s other half keeps it pretty simple!
1. Brush Your Teeth: And “mouthwash it up,” Julianne says. After all, nothing can kill the mood quicker than bad breath! Plus, once you get your mouth smelling extra-fresh, you’re already ready to enforce rule number two.
2. Smooch Your Pup: If you have your own canine companion, you’re probably already abiding by this one—but Julianne’s numero dos rule is, she says, “Say goodbye to the dogs!” If you aren’t already—pucker up and plant one on the pups before you dash out the door. Julianne never leaves the house without taking a little extra time to tell her canine children she’s coming “right back.”
3. Give Your Outfit One Last Look: Julianne tells us, “If I feel like I’m overdressed, I take something off… Like a piece of jewelry or I had a brighter lip on tonight and I took it off because I felt like it was too much.” If you’re questioning whether or not you’ve overdone it, she says, you probably have. Sometimes we have so many amazing accessories, we want to wear them all. But there is a fine line between fashionable and Flava Flav, so be selective!
What do you think of Julianne’s three tips? Anything to add to this list?
I’ve added 6 high quality photos from Julianne’s photoshoot with Interview Magazine to the gallery and you can read her interview below, where she discusses Rock of Ages, vacationing with Ryan, and her career choices! If you check out their website you can also watch a behind-the-scenes video with Julianne!
Growing up in Sandy, Utah, Julianne Hough (pronounced huff) begged to leave home at age 10 to attend a performing-arts school in London to study dance. Her parents, who were also dancers, reluctantly allowed her, and soon she was winning international competitions and demonstrating the laserlike focus that would earn her two Emmy nominations for her choreography on Dancing with the Stars and make her a two-time winner on the dance-reality show. She is also a singer, and her self-titled debut album topped the Billboard Country Albums chart in 2008. The 23-year-old Hough’s success in music and TV has largely paved the way to the big screen. After starring in last year’s remake of Footloose, she appears alongside a mainly shirtless Tom Cruise in Adam Shankman’s new film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, a love story set in 1987 Los Angeles during the height of the Sunset Strip hair-metal scene. At home in L.A., where she hangs out with boyfriend Ryan Seacrest, she took a break to talk with us by phone, so we couldn’t tell if she did the entire interview in a plank position or while en pointe. But one thing is clear: Hough doesn’t waste a moment. She’s got the kind of enthusiasm that’s hard not to cheer for, and these days plenty of people are doing just that.
DIMITRI EHRLICH: In Rock of Ages you play a girl who moves to Los Angeles in search of stardom, and in real life you moved to L.A. at the age of 18 in search of stardom. Did you also bring a suitcase full of LPs? Because that would seem to be some impractical packing, especially if you didn’t bring a turntable with you.
JULIANNE HOUGH: Well, I was in the generation of CDs, so when I moved to L.A., I think I probably brought my Shania Twain Come on Over CD and that’s about it. But trust me, if I lived in the ’80s, I would definitely be the one going to the record stores.
EHRLICH: Your character in Rock of Ages is starstruck by Tom Cruise’s rock star character. In reality, how did you relate to him on set? Did you actually become buds? Or is there sort of a “Hey, this is Tom Cruise” kind of vibe?
HOUGH: I think my generation will always look at him as Tom Cruise, the movie star. But the thing about Tom is that he’s super-cool, and whatever nerves I had going into a scene with him, afterwards he would say how funny it was or what a great job I did. So that really made me feel confident. But at the same time, my first scene with him was when my character, Sherrie, meets him for the first time and he says that she has a perky heart as he’s grabbing her chest, so that was definitely pretty real.
EHRLICH: Tom Cruise got to second base with you. What else will it say on your gravestone?
HOUGH: It’s kind of great that I can say that now.
EHRLICH: Did your boyfriend, Ryan Seacrest, get jealous at all that you’re doing this movie with Tom Cruise?
HOUGH: No, not at all. But he did come on set a couple of times and—
EHRLICH: Did he threaten to wrestle Tom?
HOUGH: He was like, “Wow, this is a little sexy!” There was one scene we did that ended up not making it into the film, but it was a really great dance-and-vocal number—”Rock You Like a Hurricane.” It was in the strip club, and I gave Tom a lap dance in the scene. The movie flowed better without it, so I understand why it got edited out, but at the same time, I’m like, “Wait a minute. I got to do that, and it’s not even in the movie?”
EHRLICH: Rest assured, that will be in the DVD extras. Rock of Ages kind of reminds us of a time when radio was dominated by sheer white-male testosterone. Do you relate to that kind of white-male aggression in music?
HOUGH: Well, what I love about ’80s rock music is the amazing, fantastic melodies. In pop music, it’s all about the techno beat to dance to in the club and the repetitiveness, whereas in rock music there is literally, like, balls-to-the-wall singing and playing. I love it.
EHRLICH: Did everyone in the film do their own singing?
HOUGH: Every single person sang every single thing, which was really cool. Alec Baldwin—he sang everything. I mean, even Paul Giamatti had to sing a couple of lines. One thing I love so much about this film is that so many different actors who are so good at what they do came into this a little bit vulnerable and out of their comfort zone, and it brought out so many great things. I feel like everybody was excited and had a lot of energy because it was this new thing they were learning.
EHRLICH: There’s one line in the movie when a fellow waitress warns your character that her boyfriend is about to become famous, and she says, “The spotlight doesn’t only light them up, it makes us disappear.” As an actor working in a world where so many people are striving to be successful, has that issue impacted your relationships? You’re in a relationship with a man who also gets his share of time in the spotlight. Did that line kind of resonate with you at all and your experience?
HOUGH: Yeah, I think there are always gonna be challenges and people throwing themselves at you in a nondiscreet way. But it’s just so public now that you have to be careful saying hi or giving somebody a hug, because then somebody will turn it into something else. So I think you’re always a lot more careful. I started out in a relationship with a guy who wasn’t in the business, and there was definitely a resentment thing that kind of happened. In the end we figured we were probably better off apart. As far as my relationship with Ryan goes, we’ve been really aware of these issues, and we work really hard at maintaining it.
EHRLICH: One of your lines in the film that made me laugh out loud is when you’re talking to your boyfriend and you confess that you’ve been working as a stripper, and he’s says, “Well, I’m in a boy band,” and you say, “You win.” I know you had a conservative upbringing. How did you feel about portraying a stripper? Is it awkward when your father goes to see you in a movie like Rock of Ages?
HOUGH: I think it would be a lot harder for him if it wasn’t a musical. If it were a dramatic film where I’m stripping and it’s for real—taking off my clothes and doing things. My dad understands that—my family, I should say, understands that—because it’s a performance.
EHRLICH: And actually your wardrobe was quite conservative, I thought, in that particular scene.
HOUGH: But for the scene I did with Tom Cruise that got cut out, I was in a bra and underwear, basically giving him a lap dance, so my father will probably like that scene getting cut out.
EHRLICH: You better buy up all the DVDs before he gets them.
HOUGH: But, like I said, my dad understands that this is a profession and it’s about work and what I love to do, and as long as I’m sane in the head, then he’s okay.
EHRLICH: Dancing with the Stars wound up launching your career. But I understand at some point you had a little bit of trepidation about the show because you wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. When you look back on that fear, do you feel like, Wow that was silly, because it turned out to be such a big platform?
HOUGH: Absolutely. A lot of people don’t know this, but when Dancing with the Stars first asked me to be on the show, I said no, because I wanted to act and to be taken seriously. And I thought that being on a reality show would hurt my credibility. But what I’ve come to realize is that being on that show completely launched my career and gave me a family and a built-in audience. My biggest fear is that people think, Oh, just because she was on Dancing with the Stars, she thinks she can act now. But I’ve been acting my whole life, which people don’t realize. I just haven’t had the opportunities that I’ve had with my dancing.
EHRLICH: You also appeared in Footloose. Do you ever worry about being typecast as a dancer who acts?
HOUGH: I started out dancing on a reality TV show, but always with the intention of making my way over to film. I transitioned into the film world by doing certain things that my fans had been used to seeing me do. My dancing and singing gave me the confidence to act. The movie I just finished with Diablo Cody is a dramatic comedy and I don’t dance in that, and the projects that I have coming up now have no musical aspect to them. But I didn’t want to do something so totally out of the box at first that people wouldn’t get it.
EHRLICH: You were born in a place called Sandy, Utah. Was it coincidence that the original Footloose was filmed near there? Or do you think it was destiny?
HOUGH: It’s pretty crazy. We shot ours in Georgia, but the original was shot in Utah. And if you are from Utah, Footloose is like our cultural amazing-ness, you know? We love Footloose. We’re very proud of it.
EHRLICH: Tell me about growing up in Utah. With Mitt Romney as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, America will soon be hearing a lot more about Utah and Mormonism. What are your memories of it? What’s your point of view as someone who grew up inside it?
HOUGH: Growing up in Utah and growing up a Mormon are separate things. Utah is so wonderful. My greatest memories of Utah are of always being outdoors. It’s a very athletic environment that I think gave me a lot of drive to be fit and live well. As far as being LDS [Latter-day Saints], I think that with any religion, no matter what religion it is, people are going to make their own stereotypes. But you know what, who cares? The thing that I loved about growing up Mormon is that I had morals and standards instilled in me as a kid—like, you need to be a nice person, and a thoughtful person, and if anybody is trying to dog that, then I think that’s rude. It’s, like, don’t you want to raise your kids with that kind of mentality? I mean, I may not be as active in it as some people are, but I think that the church has taught me great life lessons.
EHRLICH: I know people have far more serious problems than being famous, so no one wants to complain, but do you ever blow your stack when you see paparazzi trying to shoot you from a boat hovering off the coast while you’re on the beach?
HOUGH: Um, yeah. That recently happened. We were on vacation, and I swear, my boyfriend and I try to keep it as low-key as possible. We don’t really go out when we’re at home. We don’t go to places to get pap’d. The only times we ever get photographed together is when we’re on vacation, because we can’t really control it, you know? So it looks like we’re always on vacation. Over Christmas we were on a friend’s boat, and I had gained a little bit of weight while I was on the trip, as you do over Christmas . . .
EHRLICH: Obese! Obese!
HOUGH: Yeah, exactly. So I’m thinking, Okay, if they shoot me right now, all they’re going to say is something about my bikini. So I’m like, “I’m going to show them. I’m going to do a frickin’ dive off the top of the boat, and then my cool points will go up, and they can’t say anything about the weight that I’ve gained.” So I did it. I was like, “Damn right!”
Julianne was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday to promote Rock of Ages and premiered a brand new clip from the movie featuring Mary J. Blige! Stills from the show have been added to the gallery as well as screencaptures of her interview. Since Youtube blocked the video, I’ll upload it on our Tumblr in the morning!
While attending the Met Gala in NYC last night, Julianne mentioned to Access Hollywood exclusively that she ‘may or may not be’ appearing next week on the show to promote Rock of Ages! So it sounds as if Julianne will be back in the ballroom!
Loose-limbed celebrity dancer-cum singer JULIANNE HOUGH talks to joe yogerst about her love of dance, her artistic aspirations, her English accent – and the uncanny omnipresence of the musical Footloose in her life
JULIANNE HOUGH IS back home in Los Angeles, taking a well-deserved break from the worldwide publicity blitz that precedes the remake of Footloose, a movie about young people who would do just about anything to dance. That’s pretty much been the story of Hough’s life, too, a relentless and often exhausting endeavour to become one of the globe’s leading dancers.
Once upon a time, it was ballet that launched dancers (such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov) into stardom beyond their immediate circle and to parallel careers in film. Nowadays it’s a flashy television vehicle called Dancing with the Stars. Hough (pronounced “huff”) has won the competition twice (once with Winter Olympic gold medallist Apolo Anton Ohno as her partner and the other time teamed with Brazilian racing driver Hélio Castroneves), and along the way become, arguably, the show’s most beloved dancer. Craving more, Hough left the show that made her famous three years ago to pursue movies and music.
Nobody was all that surprised when Hough, a died-in-the-wool rural girl, launched a country-music career in 2008. What did surprise is how well she did: her self-titled debut album hit number one in the US country charts and number three overall. She went on tour with country icons George Strait, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. And she’s now polishing off a second country album, scheduled for release in 2012.
Hough’s movie career got off to a slow (yet trivia-worthy) start with an uncredited role as a Hogwarts schoolgirl in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was nearly a decade before she was on the big screen again, in another minor role, this time in Burlesque. Hough finally hit pay dirt when she was cast as Ariel Moore in the Footloose reprise, a part that she seemed destined to snag, given her birthplace (Sandy, Utah, where much of the original Footloose was filmed on location), footwork and acting background. Not long afterwards, she nailed another huge role alongside Tom Cruise and Diego Boneta in the film version of the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages, due for release in June 2012.
Twenty or 30 years from now, some young ingénue is going to star as Julianne Hough in a biopic about the dancer’s younger days, because her lead-up to fame and fortune reads like a real-life version of Flashdance, or one of those other small-town-girl makes-good movies.
She was born and raised into a large (five kids) Mormon family on the edge of Salt Lake City. But unlike the movie story, these were small-town folks who loved to dance. Hough’s parents met on their college ballroom dancing team and all four of her grandparents loved to trip the light fantastic. At nine years old she was dancing in local competitions. A year later – her parents in the throes of a divorce – she was living in London with her older brother Derek (another Dancing with the Stars regular) in the home of two British dancers, the young Americans getting their education and training at the renowned Italia Conti Academy of theatre arts.
From day one, everyone could tell the kid had incredible talent. And Julianne did not disappoint. In 2001, she won three major international dance competitions including the British National Junior Latin Championship at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival. She returned to the States, finished high school and shortly thereafter was chosen as one of the company dancers on a summer replacement television show called Dancing with the Stars that would soon become a pop-culture phenomenon. Hough could have easily remained in the background if not for a lucky break: one of the star dancers went down with an injury and Julianne – who already knew all the moves – was yanked off the “chorus line” and thrust into the limelight.
Hough made a guest appearance on the show shortly after our chat. But she made it crystal clear during the interview that while dance may have been her bread and butter in the past, movies and music are where she would like to expend the bulk of her considerable energy in the future.
Footloose is one of those movies that a lot of people felt should have never been remade – an attitude that the first one was perfect. So why do it again?
You know, you always go into shooting a movie with the best of intentions. But you never really know until you see it and see people’s reaction to it. Being on this tour and watching the screenings, you meet a lot of people who are like, “You touched my baby!” when they come into the movie. But they come out and say, “I’ve got to tell you, I was so sceptical about this movie. I thought it was going to be terrible. But you completely shocked me. I’m pleasantly surprised.” And some of them said, “I can’t believe it, but I liked it better than the original.”
This was a long and winding road for you – a movie that almost didn’t get made.
I was doing Dancing with the Stars and [High School Musical director] Kenny Ortega wassupposed to do the movie and the originalscript was going to be like the stage production.So I went in and got the job and then a coupleof other people started signing up – like ChaceCrawford and Zac Efron. But then the studiowent in another direction [and Ortega andCrawford parted ways with the production].I was like, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t do this movie. You know, it’s a classic. And Footloose is one of my all-time favourites too. Maybe it isn’t the right thing to do.
Then Craig Brewer got attached [as writer/director] and I read his script and I went, OK, this is what I have to be a part of. This is a movie that will really show my acting abilities and is not going to be based on my dancing or my singing. So I’m on board. But then Craig Brewer said “I kind of want to choose my own cast.” And I was like, “No! Wait!” And so I really had to fight for my role. I basically had to audition twice. I went in and fought for it and he saw something in me. I guess that’s why I am so passionate about it, this journey.
So you were a fan of the 1984 version?
It was absolutely one of my favourite movies, together with Flashdance, Dirty Dancing and Grease, all of those dance movies back in the day. And it was shot in Utah, where I grew up. On my way to dance class I would always pass the place where Kevin Bacon does the angry dance. If you haven’t seen Footloose, you’re a disappointment to Utah.
But there was no way to know that Footloose would have such a major impact on your life.
No, but there was something about it. There were a lot of ironies and circumstances and coincidences with Footloose. One of them was growing up in the town where they shot the original. And then my first dance ever on Dancing with the Stars was to “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” And before that, my brother was on the West End in London and played Ren [Kevin Bacon’s lead character] in Footloose. After my audition, I came out and called my mom. As she picked up the phone, she turned on the radio and Footloose was playing. All of this kind of happened and in the end I was like, “Wow, I just have to be a part of this movie.” Oh, and I didn’t even tell you this – I did a high school production of it.
And next up is another high-profile music and dance movie – Rock of Ages. Are you still working on that?
I finished it about a month ago. And immediately after I wrapped that, I started the tour for Footloose. So it’s been like one crazy thing to the next thing. I’m on cloud nine, I can’t even tell you.
Rock of Ages was filmed down south, right?
Right, Miami. Three months in Atlanta and then almost six months in Florida. So I kind of don’t know where I live right now. We really hope it’s a pretty epic movie. Every scene that we did was like, “Wow!” I didn’t know if I wanted to do another musical – I want to focus on dramatic and comedic movies. Then I was told that Tom Cruise was going to be in it and I was like, “OK, I can do one more!”
What was it like working with Tom Cruise?
Tom Cruise is the hardest-working person. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody commit to something the way that he does. Everyone knows Tom Cruise from Top Gun and Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible. But no action hero was present during the filming of this movie – he was legitimately a rock star. He took vocal lessons and trained and his voice was outstanding. I had such a great time and I remember our first scene together. We were sitting talking and Sherrie [Hough’s character in the movie] is like a huge fan and she’s completely star-struck over him, and basically I didn’t have to act. I was looking at Tom Cruise! It was pretty amazing.
Does dancing really run in your family, or is that just Hollywood hype?
Yeah, my parents and my grandparents, they all danced. But not professional dancers. My favourite thing was to dance with them. They had the most charming way of dancing and such swagger. It was such fun.
How did it evolve from family fun into a serious profession?
My mom just started popping kids out right and left and so she had to put them in some sort of activity to keep track of them or keep them out of trouble, and so we all just went into dance and acting and singing and kung fu and bongos. You name it, we tried it. And we just sort of gravitated towards the music and acting and dancing. My sisters are so talented. One sister is a songwriter and my older sister Sharee is supermom – she has six kids and is pretty incredible.
How did you and your brother end up in England at such young ages?
The dance coaches that I lived with in London came to Utah, to this dance studio I went to, and they saw my brother and me dance. It was right around the time that my parents were getting divorced, so there was tension around the house as they were working out their deal. We expected to stay [in London] for a couple of months, and I ended up staying for five years and my brother stayed for eight.
What was it like going straight from small-town Utah to living in a huge, foreign city?
I was very disappointed when I got to London and there weren’t people riding in horse-drawn carriages and wearing monocles.
There were no queens and stuff like that [laughs]. Utah is a bubble. Definitely a bubble.
How did the Londoners treat you?
A little like we were aliens because of our accents. They would say “talk like us” when we were at school and then I would try and do this really bad English accent. My brother used to call me Madonna [because her English accent was so bad]. But now he can’t say anything because now my accent is pretty good. We had a great time going to a dramatic-arts school called Italia Conti Academy and I really see that as the most amazing experience of my life. The kids in there…we were all competitive. But more so with ourselves, just trying to be better. It was a great learning experience, which helped me decide what I want to do with my life.
Have you ever thought about making your London days into a movie?
I absolutely have. But I want to tell the real story. I don’t want to tell the commercial version. I want to tell the Black Swan version, so I have to wait a little bit longer. It doesn’t have to be about me but just that world and the experience and the things that I’ve been through. I think there are things that people would be fascinated to hear even if it wasn’t about me, but just to hear what does go on in that world.
How did you make the leap from London to Dancing with the Stars?
When I graduated from high school when I was 18, I packed up my car and moved to LA. I told my dad I had $5,000 so that he would let me go – when I only really had $2,000. And when I got here, I just auditioned for things and I wouldn’t stop until I got jobs. I got commercial jobs and some dancing jobs. Dancing with the Stars was going on its first live tour and I went as a company dancer on the road. One of the dancers who was dancing with Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block got injured and I replaced her. So I got all the [group] dances on the show plus these ones. I think I was about 95 pounds because I was doing so much cardio. Dancing with the Stars saw me on the road and asked me to be a part of [the television show]. At first I hesitated. I really wanted to be a respected actress and singer and not on reality TV. But then I thought about it. The best thing about this reality show is that you have to be skilled, you have to be talented to be one of the dancers. So you’re not just coming in like someone who didn’t have any talent. I didn’t realise how well I was going to do. I had an amazing time on the show
If someone said you had to choose between dancing and acting – one or the other for the rest of your life – what would you say?
I would tell them screw you! [Laughs.] I get asked that question a lot and I honestly don’t know which one I would choose. Each fulfils something different inside of me. And if I was told that I couldn’t do something, then I would want to do it more. That would be a very hard decision for me. As of right now, I feel very rewarded by the work I did on Footloose. I’ve never felt so rewarded. And you know, I have won world championships [in dance] and my first album debuted at number one, which is fantastic. But I never really felt this rewarded. It makes me happy to express how proud I am of Footloose. So I don’t know…I want to continue on this path.
What’s it like dating Ryan Seacrest – the busiest man in Hollywood?
He has to keep up with me! You laugh, but it’s probably true. The good thing is that we both have the same personality. We’re both very driven. We’re very ambitious. We’re very career-oriented. We’re both in the entertainment world – “the industry” – but we have different jobs. So we get the work ethic and we get the commitment that we have towards it and we’re very supportive of each other, yet we have no competition. It’s actually a very great situation that we’re in.
When do you have time to see each other?
We definitely schedule. Yeah, it’s pretty funny. We have assistants and people figuring out which city we are in and like when I will have a couple of hours to fly to see him and that kind of stuff. But you know, I’ve said this before – when it’s worth it, it’s worth it, and you just make it work.
Any wedding bells in your immediate future?
I think we’re really happy where we are at this moment and I don’t think there’s any kind of pressure to do that. We’re just going to keep going. But if that ever happened, I don’t think it would be a big deal. It would be something very low-key. Not quite Vegas. But that’s not on our minds right now. We’re very happy with where we’re at and what we’re doing. You might as well be happy with doing what you’re doing than try and force something.
What’s something about you that people might be surprised to discover?
I don’t think there’s a lot that people don’t know about me. I basically talk about myself 24/7. I’ve said in the past that I’m an adrenaline junkie and I like extreme sports and basically things that I think I may kill myself doing [she ponders the question in silence for a moment]. I really love food. I love to eat. I love to try new restaurants. I really love to cook. And I love the presentation. So I have to make the plate look amazing and sizzle the sauces. I like to bake as well. That’s one of my hidden things that I would eventually like to do. I think I would like to go and live in France or Italy for three weeks to a month and really learn to cook. But I would be extremely obese because I wouldn’t be able to cook and not eat everything that I make.
Does it feel like you’ve already done an awful lot for someone who’s only 23?
It’s so crazy. I feel like I’ve lived five different lives in my short life.