Hayden Panettiere covers Self December 2012. In the accompanying interview, the 23-year-old 'Nashville' star dishes on her happiness secrets, her diet and her best moves for flat abs and sexy legs.

Hayden Panettiere covers Self December 2012. In the accompanying interview, the 'Nashville' star dishes on her happiness secrets, her fears, friends, but also her diet, and how she manages to stay in shape.
The young actress admits she doesn't feel the same need to be stick-skinny. "I've grown into myself and my body. In Nashville, you see women, even successful singers, who have voluptuous bodies and everyone is supportive. You don't get the kind of criticism you might get in Hollywood. To me, the confident curvy girl is so much sexier than the insecure skinny girl," Hayden told the magazine.

On her diet, she says, "I tried vegetarianism, but my body didn't respond well. I was low-energy. Now I make egg-white scrambles with veggies for breakfast. For lunch, I have chicken or fish and greens, which are good for keeping your system working. I'm a fan of sushi for dinner, as long as the fish aren't endangered. When I indulge, I try to do it in the morning so I can burn it off. It's my responsibility to be healthy and, no, I'm not going to starve. I'm sorry — I can't be full on salad."

Hayden Panettiere Covers Self December 2012 Hayden Panettiere Covers Self December 2012

When it comes to working out, the 23-year-old actress says that she now runs less and relaxes more. "I used to run an hour every day. It was too much for me, and my body shut down. So now I don't push it over the top. I'm active, on my feet during 16-hour workdays and then I come home, pour some wine, light some candles and read a book. Fifty Shades was fun — our society can be prudish about sexuality, so it's cool to see a book like that be successful," she told Self.

Best moves for flat abs? "I'd love to be in a bikini and not worry about sucking in! Pilates is good for the core. My favorite ab move is the bicycle crunch," Hayden reveals. As for sexy legs she says that, "Having a trainer made me feel as if it was a job, as opposed to going for a jog, which I look forward to. I hike Radnor Lake here, too."

Hayden also confesses she is working on her fears. "I have stage fright! It's because I'm a perfectionist, but I have to get over it. Getting to know the music scene here, I see that people are rooting for you, and if you mess up, it's OK. And I've learned from karaoke, if all else fails, a shot of tequila takes the edge off and lets you have fun," she says.

Speaking about her behavior, Panettiere explains that, "I've been acting since I was little, and kids are often not treated well on sets. Whenever I'd work with an actor who was good to me, my mom would say, 'Look, that's how you want to be.' I don't believe anyone is born bad or mean; they become that way from anger and insecurity. But even when it's my character being aggressive, not me, I find myself apologizing!"

Hayden Panettiere Covers Self December 2012

The beautiful actress is totally aware of the important role good friends play in one's life. "There's nothing like having your closest people over, listening to good music and talking for hours. As you get older, you weed out people who are there only for a celeb lifestyle. Here, I've got my best friend from home, Allie, who moved here with me, and new friends I've made, like Ashley Monroe from Pistol Annies. And our cast is close; it's a circle of trust," Hayden says.

The young star admits that she now follows her dreams. "I sang and started an album when I was younger, but I wasn't proud of how it was going, so I quit. I always said that if I did music in the future, I'd do country. I love it. But because I'm from New York, I was afraid people would think I was trying to fit where I didn't belong and go, 'She's trying to be Taylor Swift.' I'm not trying to be anybody but myself," she told the magazine.

Photos courtesy of Self magazine.