At a spacious studio in Hollywood, a barefoot Julianne Hough is hyping up a group of dancers auditioning to become trainers for a new workout method she has created. Wearing shiny mauve leggings and a matching sports bra, she paces back and forth, doing her best to make eye contact with each person. “We’re creating an environment that’s inclusive and where everyone is accepted,” says Julianne, eliciting cheers of “Yayyyy!” and “I hear that!” from the crowd. “That’s the world I want to live in.”
Designed for non-dancers, the 45-minute method isn’t about perfecting the choreography – which does include moves such as ‘sexy lunges’ and Magic Mike–like hip thrusts – but instead about moving in a way that’s nurturing to each individual. And developing Kinrgy proved to be cathartic for Julianne, who says it’s helped her unpack some tough childhood experiences. “I’ve been de-layering all the survival tactics I’ve built up my whole life,” she says. “Now, I feel limitless.”
Her hope is that others will have a similar experience when the method launches this year. “When I think about what I want to create, I want to help people connect to their truest self. When that happens, they can relate to the people around them with no filter and experience the world how we’re supposed to experience it – in its most pure form, which I believe is love.”
Julianne recently received a crash course in the whole ‘no filter’ thing in a different way, posing for the cover of this Women’s Health issue. “I didn’t want to do a demure shoot where I was trying to cover my body,” she says. “I wanted to do something where I was free.” Though the America’s Got Talent judge says she’s never been shy when changing in front of other dancers, the photo shoot shifted her perspective. “Now I’m walking around naked all the time and I love it!” she says.
For Julianne, that unabashed body-love has, at times, been hard-earned. Back in 2008, following a diagnosis of endometriosis – a condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium) forms outside of it, causing severe pelvic pain during menstruation and sex – Julianne grappled with feelings of insecurity. Only after accepting her endo as part of her was she able to see it in a new light. “I feel I’ve created a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with it,” she says.
Acknowledging the aspects of her condition that may be out of her control (such as getting pregnant – almost 40 per cent of women with infertility have endometriosis, according to Endometriosis Australia) has also been a challenge. There hasn’t been a specific ‘you cannot have children’ talk with her doctor but, back in June, Julianne and her husband revealed they were starting IVF to increase their chances of conceiving. And she’s choosing to look on the bright side about it: “I have always put it out there that it’s going to be OK,” she says.
Read more of our chat with Julianne – including her anti-inflammatory diet and gruelling workout regime – in the October issue of Women’s Health, on sale now.
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