From her dance and fitness platform to her return to Dancing with the Stars as a co-host, Julianne Hough is making all the right moves.
If life is a dance, it is clear Julianne Hough has mastered the steps. The petite powerhouse expertly choreographs projects that span her many talents as an award-winning entertainer, producer, entrepreneur and performer across film, television, music and Broadway. This season, the multihyphenate talent finds herself busier than ever, juggling various creative pursuits and professional opportunities across mediums.
A lifelong dancer and performer, Hough recently debuted on Broadway in the acclaimed political farce POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. “That was honestly one of the highlights of my life,” she says of the experience. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be on Broadway.” Hough found performing in the demanding role before live audiences in an iconic theater challenging and deeply rewarding. “It truly is about talent and dedication and the arts—because it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” she explains. “Eight shows a week. It’s so much discipline. It’s all about the arts. You’re not making gazillions of dollars. You’re doing it for the craft, the art and truly the joy of that connection with a live audience with your cast members.”
Hough mastered being a perfect partner early on, dancing with her brother, Derek Hough. “I think, early on, we realized we were not competitive with each other, but we’re very competitive with ourselves,” she explains. “We know where the other one shines, and where, you know, they have a little more challenge. And so, fortunately, my brother and I are polar opposites,” she says of their perfect yin and yang pairing. “Also, we have a secret language where we just dance. We don’t even talk. We choreograph. And it’s great. We have a massive respect for each other’s gifts and talents. And it’s allowing him to shine or allowing me to shine in our creation instead of kind of shutting it down because it’s not what we would do. I think it’s powerful too. So we’re a good complementing polarity and dynamic duo.”
Next, Hough will return as co-host of the upcoming season 32 of Dancing with The Stars, the show that first launched her into stardom nearly two decades ago. “It brings me back to where it started and where it began,” Hough says of coming full circle to host the series that gave her her big break. Hough shares her wealth of experience with the show—as a pro dancer for over two years, a judge for two and a half years and now host—providing her a unique vantage point that will benefit both the contestants and viewers. “I’ve been able to experience pretty much every role on the show,” she explains, ”so I have a deep level of empathy and compassion for the people on the show.”
Beyond her work on camera, Hough founded Canary House Productions, which develops transformative stories, and KINRGY, a fitness, dance and energy healing modality. “At the beginning, what inspired me to start the company was my many years on Dancing with the Stars,” she says. Hough recognized the life-changing power of movement and grew determined to make such transformative experiences more accessible to people from all walks of life. “Our body is our language. It holds so much information. And the more you can move the body and let the energy flow through it, the breaths flow through it, all of this stagnant energy, all of this information held in the body can move and transform and not be stuck and debilitating,” she explains. “So it was sort of like this twofer. I want to give people an opportunity to feel confident, alive and connected to themselves again,” she says. Hough shares that this process was therapeutic for her as well. “I think I was actively finding the things that were really working for me and using myself as a guinea pig a little bit, and then sharing everything that I learned... and [sharing] the things that helped me along my journey.”
Hough carefully notes that each class need not be some intense session. “It’s energy and somatic therapy,” she says. “But also, it’s not necessarily something that you’d have to... go into this deep, therapeutic session every time you do it. It actually promotes joy and expression.”
An avid and serial entrepreneur, Hough is also co-founder of Fresh Vine Wine, a collection of premium, naturally low-carb and low-calorie wines, with her close friend Nina Dobrev. “We’ve been friends for over 10 years,” Hough says of Dobrev.
“We went on a first friend date, and it was like love at first sight.” The duo’s partnership was born of a desire to merge their shared interests with contrasting perspectives. “We’re able
to challenge each other in a way that helps us grow,” Hough says. “We’re able to point out different perspectives.”
With so much on her schedule, Hough focuses on maintaining balance by evaluating what each season of life calls for and adjusting accordingly. “I think life goes in seasons and waves,” she says. “I’m in a busy season right now. And so I look at my life in chunks or seasons.” At present, frequent travel and a relentless work schedule mean rest and nourishment take priority. “My rituals have to be slightly different,” she says. “My biggest thing right now is I’m less concerned about [getting in] the right workout every day... Because I have so much movement in my life, the thing that I need right now is more sleep and healthy nutrition, so that is fueling me because I’m already moving a bunch. So I just look at it like, what is my life calling for right now?” As her many projects continue to flourish and expand, we have no doubt Hough will beautifully choreograph her next step.
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN WATTS, STYLED BY GABRIELA LANGONE