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Julianne Hough shimmied her way to fame on Dancing With the Stars and went on to score a few hits in country music. Now, the 23-year-old is a force on the big screen.
In the remake of Footloose, out on DVD March 6, Hough plays Ariel, the rebellious teenage daughter of the local minister.
"It's an iconic film that people hold so close to their heart and we got a lot of backlash for making this movie," the actress tells Parade.com. "But a lot of the people who were so against it went to see the movie and they loved it."
Hough talked to Parade.com about her big screen ambitions, making time for boyfriend Ryan Seacrest, and why she's tuning in to American Idol every week.
On her early Footloose inspirations.
"It was a cult classic for me. I'm from Utah and it was filmed there and I used to pass the Lehi Roller Mills where Kevin Bacon does his angry dance when I was on my way to dance class. There are so many coincidences like that. My first dance ever on Dancing With the Stars was to 'Let's Hear it for the Boy.' My brother [Derek Hough] was on the West End as Ren in Footloose. And after my first audition for the film, my mom called me as I was walking out and the radio was on and she turned it down and I was like, 'Mom, wait! Turn it back up. What was that?' And she said, 'Footloose' is on.' I was like 'Wow. This has got to happen!'"
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On getting the stamp of approval from Kevin Bacon himself.
"Kevin Bacon actually tweeted that he went and saw it and that he loved it and congrats to Kenny and I. It was a very cool tweet to get. We were freaking out. We hoped he would like it and he did."
On her next role in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, alongside Tom Cruise.
"It was incredible. It was like a big concert party every single day. We got to sing these songs that are so well known, and we got to be in the '80s and have fun with that. And the cast was incredible, of course!"
On co-star Tom Cruise.
"Where do I go from there? It's very cool to be able to say that my first real film was Footloose and my second film I got to star alongside Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I'm very fortunate and I know it doesn't happen like that every day, so I'm definitely still counting my blessings and working really hard."
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On dealing with fame and paparazzi.
"I don't think you can ever get used to it. It's definitely strange. Especially since I grew up in a family that it's all about family and not about materialistic things. So it is weird, but I guess it comes with what it is. You have to remember where you came from, and I definitely have enough brothers and sisters to kick me in the butt whenever I get out of line!"
On balancing her busy career with her relationship with boyfriend Ryan Seacrest.
It's a hard thing to do, especially when you're so caught up in your work and bettering yourself. It does get hard because you're so focused on that, but I think at the end of the day you have to find a balance with what's really important. I'm so lucky that I have a great relationship. I'm very blessed and I don't take anything for granted. I think if you alienate people and just focus on your work then it just becomes lonely and it's not fun anymore."
Do you tune in to watch Ryan every week on American Idol?
"Heck yes, and it is so good. I love this season!"
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On trading singing for acting.
"I definitely tried that avenue [music] when I finished Dancing With the Stars and it's something that I've loved to do ever since I was little. I've always wanted to sing country music, but I think something was missing for me and I feel like I've gotten that connection with the film world, so I'm going to keep going with that. That's not to say I'm not going to keep writing and singing. I love it so much and I could never be without it."
You've conquered singing, dancing and acting. What's next?
"I have a lot of passion for creating. My brother and I love to create things together, whether it's a live project or working on scripts as a team. I'm working on a few things like that. But the things that I really want to do before I die are learn a language, learn to cook, and learn to play an instrument really well. I'm still working on all three of those!"