The 28-year-old professional dancer and actress is embarking on an upcoming tour — “Move Beyond: Live on Tour” — with her brother, fellow dancer Derek Hough, in April. She also will return to her role as a judge on Season 24 of Dancing With the Stars. Aside from her dance-related endeavors, Hough also finds time to work on her own activewear line and share daily fitness and health tips with her loyal fan base. She also recently teamed up with Fitbit to help spread the word about one of her new favorite workout devices, the brand’s Alta HR activity tracker.
We recently caught up with Hough to discuss everything from her upcoming projects to her workout essentials.
Yahoo Style: As a professional dancer, how much of your life is focused on being healthy and fit?
Julianne Hough: Oh, my gosh, it is my life. We can’t really have one without the other, because while I’m dancing I’m obviously working out at the same time. When I’m working out, I’m doing specific things to help me when I dance.
Yoga I love, because it’s a lengthening thing that helps me stay lean and strong. I have neck injuries, so to be able to have the core stability but also strength in my upper shoulders and my neck is really helpful. Dance-specific workouts that I do too — dance cardio, trampoline work, jump-roping, and stuff like that — help with the balance and dynamics.
Are there any specific workout-enhancing products that you like?
Absolutely. I feel like my Fitbit Alta HR is my go-to savior for everything. Not only does it go really cute with all of my workout gear … but now to have the heart-rate system directly on it? That’s just the next level. That’s huge.
The other thing that I love so much about it is being able to remind me to go to sleep at night. Because I always feel like I can work out during the day, but if I’m not getting the rest that I need, it’s kind of a wash. I always like to think of my sleep as a second workout, and my Fitbit Alta HR definitely helps me keep track of that.
Do you have any tips to stay motivated? And does your Fitbit play a big role?
It does! That’s my favorite part. It goes off and buzzes and it’s like, “Go, get up, move!’”
For me that’s nice, because even though I’m dancing and working out as my lifestyle, I still am busy working on my computer, sitting down, stuff like that. Or even on a plane, getting up and being able to walk down the aisle a couple of times. It definitely helps.
You’re a major advocate for body positivity. What kind of tips do you have for staying confident?
I feel like it’s a mental thing. When I wake up in the morning, in order for me to feel motivated I have to start from the inside out. Feeling really confident in myself means thinking of me at my best self — my 10-year-old self … when I could dream big with no consequences. Getting out of my own head and projecting good things to other people — that always makes me feel the most fulfilled. … And getting cute in your workout gear and going and being around people. I think a lot of the time it’s hard when you don’t know what to do and you’re by yourself. But if you go into community-based fitness — which I love; I love taking classes because you’re around like-minded people — that is going to help you as well.
What are you most excited about as you prepare for your upcoming tour with your brother Derek?
Oh, my gosh, so we are in the thick of the creation part. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s so fun because this is our third one and we really wanted to set the bar high for ourselves — to do something that we’ve never done before. There’s a through line for the show that kind of tells a story of ups and downs and the struggles of life, but you’ve gotta keep moving, because the more you move directly affects the way that you feel.
How do pick your looks for tour appearances, and how would you describe your style on tour?
We’re really diving into fashion-forward, modern pieces with a flair of sparkle. Derek’s obsessed with rhinestones now, which is so funny.
Who wears more?
I definitely wear more, but he’s like, “Put her in more! Put her in more!” I’ll definitely try to incorporate some interesting pieces. I want to incorporate wigs and headpieces to make it feel like a fully stylized piece and a world that we’re creating, rather than just doing a choreographed number with our same hair and makeup in front of a screen.
Speaking of hair, you’ve switched yours around a lot. Why do you like to do that?
I love doing new things. I love trying new things. I think it’s an expression of who I am and what I’m going through at that time. With the tour I’m like, “We should just name it ‘The Evolution of Julianne’s Hair Length,’” because the first was a pixie cut, then it was a bob, now it’s long. You know when someone goes through a breakup the first thing they do they change their hair because it’s a sort of reinvention? Even with where I’m at, I love taking risks with my hair because I know it’s going to grow back or I can dye it a color. It’s fun to be able to play knowing it’s not forever and it can change again.
What kind of role do you play in the design process for your apparel collection, MPG Sport?
A pretty big one. There’s a whole design team that has the main collection. We got together and talked about the things that were really important to make me feel like I want to wear these clothes every day. There’s the dancer element to it too; I want to feel confident and a little sexy, but then also sometimes I like to feel really athletic because that pushes me to do a little bit more.
We had one meeting where we had this book from 2018, back in 2015, showing us the new color palettes and trends and stuff that were going to be popular in 2018. I was like, “This is like magic! This is like the biggest secret ever!” We got to come up with different color palettes and designs. I know that the varsity and JV stuff is kind of coming back in the fall, so we have that. I’ll give you a little hint. That’s in our fall collection coming out.
Now I’ve got some random quick-fire questions for you, if you don’t mind: What do you eat for breakfast?
First I have hot water and lemon with green juice. Then I have either oatmeal or steamed eggs — it’s a little coconut oil, water, and then you put the eggs in, the lid on, and steam them. Avocado and tomato with some Cholula sauce.
What’s your favorite food splurge?
Italian. Anything Italian. Pasta, pizza, bread, wine, cheese, all of that.
Favorite celebrity dance partner on DWTS?
Apolo Ohno, for sure.
If you could be a Disney princess, which one would you be?
All of them. Oh, my gosh, it would be a big toss-up between Belle and Ariel.
Who would be your dream co-star — male or female?
I’d love to do a movie with Julia Roberts. That would be amazing.
What’s always in your bag?
Poop bags for [my dogs] Lexi and Harley. (Laughs.) With my leashes. I’ve got ChapStick in there, my Proactiv pads that clean off your makeup, and my perfume. If I’m not wearing my Fitbit Alta HR, I’ve got it in my bag. I always have a notebook. I love writing. That’s something that’s really weird — even when I’m on FaceTime with my fiancé, my way of remembering things is by writing them down, so even when he’s talking I’ll just write what he’s saying. Bullet points … Just because it helps me get it ingrained. Anyone who knows me knows that I have really bad memory.
Weirdest beauty product you’ve ever used?
This isn’t really a product, but I use toupee clips a lot for extensions or wigs. I love playing with hair.