She's made the move from the Dancing with the Stars ballroom to topping the country charts and co-starring with Tom Cruise in the movie version of Rock of Ages. As the feelgood musical hits the screen, we sat down with the Utah native to discuss strip clubs, making the move to LA and living in London.
Julianne, you're 23, so as a child were you too young to know classic songs like those featured in Rock of Ages?
Julianne Hough: (laughs) I didn't really know Poison and Whitesnake, and that hair-metal era, but I knew Springsteen, Aerosmith, U2, that's what I listened to with my dad. But I was surprised when I was starting to learn the songs [for the film] that I actually did know them. They're such classic songs that they're in movies and commercials and they're karaoke songs.
Sherrie tumbles into stripping in the movie - did you have to visit clubs for research?
Julianne Hough: Well, we shot the movie in Miami, so walking down the street felt like being in a strip club! (laughs) I went to a couple, not too many - my boyfriend appreciated the research though...
You moved to LA at a young age, just like Sherrie in the film - was it as hard for you as it is for her?
Julianne Hough: Yeah... we definitely had different [approaches] though. I mean, I used my dancing not as a stripper but to get my foot in the door. I moved to LA with $2000 - I told my dad I had $5000, just so that I could go. I lived with a bunch of model roommates, they were all six-foot-one, gorgeous girls, and they would cheques in the mail for like $10000 for one job, and I would be busting my ass like everyday going to acting and dance classes and teaching from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. And they would still be in their pyjamas all day long and I'd be like 'Why can't I be six-foot-one??' (laughs)
Did you have a plan B?
Julianne Hough: No, I think that was something about me - I've always been a fighter. In those five years in London [for dance training], I didn't have any money either but I paid for my cellphone at, like, ten years old! (laughs) I always knew I would figure it out and I never wanted anything from anybody, I wanted to do it on my own. My intuition just knew that it was going to happen and I was going to be ok.
And was it hard to land that first job?
Julianne Hough: I had my hard times [in LA] where I definitely didn't feel as talented because you're in a city full of talented people all trying to do the exact same thing. For instance , there were a couple of girls that came out right before me and I was like 'That's supposed to be me! If I'd been here one year earlier...'
So you must have had a lot of belief in yourself to keep trying...
Julianne Hough: I do. I lived in London from when I was ten to 15, I had a scholarship to go and dance and it was a really tough time. I don't talk about it a lot, but I was basically beat down to think that I was crap. I was the only believing in myself. And now I have amazing people around me - like [co-star] Mary J Blige calling me and leaving me voicemails!