Thick blond waves and cobalt eyes… Julianne Hough seems the perfect expression of summer. The 23-year-old actress graces the June/July 2012 cover of Zooey magazine looking absolutely whimsical. Hanging out with Julianne, the mag got the chance to talk with her about moving to London for dance training at the age of 10, being raised Mormon, LDS church, Ryan Seacrest, and insecurities. What? Lack of confidence behind those looks? “I could care less if tabloids say I look fat, but the thing I get the most insecure about is when I hear, ‘Oh, it must be nice dating Ryan so you can do movies.’ I’m like, ‘Yo! I’ve been doing this a lot longer than I’ve been dating him.’ I never want people to think I’ve gotten somewhere or gotten something I haven’t worked for. I’m here,” Hough confesses.

And Julianne became stronger throughout time especially during her stay in London. Recalling how it was to live with her dance coach for five years, the actress says that, “The woman I lived with in London [Latin Ballroom champion Shirley Ballas] made me strong and not necessarily in the best way. She made me very guarded and she made me a fighter. I had to fight to hold onto myself. She was very tough on me. Honestly I went through things that I don’t think anyone should have to go through but if they hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have the character and the strength I have today.”

Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012 Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012 Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012

After five years in London, Hough returned to the U.S. Still, the actress admits it wasn’t the easiest decision. “Everyone in London told me I was crazy and needed to stay. That I was going to amount to nothing and was going to work at ‘Whatever Burger.’ I had my whole life set up in London and I knew it would just be me continuing to dance and I would eventually become professional, win world championships, and then I would be a teacher or I would tour around Europe and Asia and do shows and get titles. I knew all this and it’s not what I wanted,” she told Zooey magazine.

“I wanted to act, but living with my dance coaches made dance my only option. It was a really hard decision for a 15 year old girl to make, but I needed to do something for me,” Hough says.

Hough’s first acting job was in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Next, she appeared in the 2010 musical Burlesque, then in Footloose in 2011, and now she stars in Rock of Ages, alongside Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary J. Blige. She is also set to star in Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven, set to be released in February 2013. On Tom Cruise, she says that, “Tom is so inspiring though. I always admire people that are focused and work hard. He made me feel like I could play and have fun instead of feeling restricted or so nervous that I couldn’t really let go.”

Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012 Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012 Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012

In the interview with Zooey magazine Julianne also talks about the biggest misconception on growing up in the LDS church. “That everybody has ten wives. At one point that was the case, but…,” she says. “It is community based though. I think about when I have kids and how I want to raise them. I really love how their community is and how everyone looks out for each other. There’s a sense of family and I want that for my kids.”

But does she consider herself Mormon? “I was raised Mormon and then went to London where it wasn’t part of my life at all and then came back and was super Mormon again and then came to L.A. where I wasn’t around it. Now I’m older and I almost appreciate it more. I hold onto the everyday teachings, but as far as the religious teachings there might be parts I disagree with here and there. I’ve modified it to fit my lifestyle but it taught me great morals and principles. It gave me a sense of what it means to be a nice person, to be humble, what it means to be grateful and a desire to service people,” the actress says.

On boyfriend Ryan Seacrest, Julianne admits that, “He’s one of the most thoughtful – not just boyfriends or men – but people I’ve ever met. A lot of the romantic things he does for me are sometimes not even specifically for me. He’ll remember my Mom’s birthday or that it’s Mother’s Day and he’ll send something. I would so much rather him be like that with my family than have him do something for me.”

Julianne Hough Covers Zooey Magazine June/July 2012

Photos courtesy of ZOOEY