Julianne Hough wasn’t technically teaching a session at CorePower Yoga, but her very presence can inspire even the laziest sloth to consider the benefits of being of sounder mind and perkier body.
“Is everyone good?!” said the red-hot personality who inspired a whole new generation to cut footloose, bounding into the second-floor of the Minneapolis studio in a light-blue crop top and matching leggings. “No? Nobody’s good? Come on. This is exciting!”
The meet-and-greet over Memorial Day weekend soon turned into a quasi-dance routine, with its star bouncing into place for pictures, busting a move from “Walk Like an Egyptian” and throwing out her arms for each and every one of the 80-some well wishers, even the sweaty ones just emerging from class.
“I come from a family of huggers. We love the physical touch,” said Hough, right after raffling off gift certificates for her line of fitness clothing and tickets for her performance later that evening at the State Theatre. “A hug can make a difference.”
Roxana Chirinos was among the fans who waited in line up to 30 minutes to get much more than just a firm handshake and a frozen smile from a woman who, at 28, has already graced the covers of Cosmopolitan, US Weekly and Shape magazines.
“She’s energetic all the time,” said Chirinos, a 19-year-old from Blaine, whose companion didn’t seem to mind being one of the only men in the house. “She’s done a lot of things in life that girls can look up to.”
When Hough first came to public attention, she seemed more destined for “The Bachelorette” than her own mini-empire. Immediately after joining “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, she became the show’s youngest professional champion and eventually ended up dating Kardashian whisperer Ryan Seacrest. But even before she started collecting mirror balls and adapting to the paparazzi in the bushes, she was planning her escape from reality TV.
“In the beginning, I didn’t want to do ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ I wanted to be taken seriously,” she said. “But when I joined, there were 22 million people watching and I realized I’d have a platform. You have to sign a five-year contract on those kind of gigs, but I told the producers that I was a strong cookie and I wouldn’t be there that long.”
She wasn’t. After 2½ years and somehow avoiding having her toes trampled by a flat-footed Adam Carolla, Hough bolted for film work, first as a supporting player in the Cher/Christina Aguilera vehicle “Burlesque,” then as the lead in the remake of “Footloose” and the musical “Rock of Ages.” While none put her on the Oscar shortlist, they proved the young talent from Utah could tango with the likes of Tom Cruise and Dennis Quaid.
By 2016, Fox decided she was the one they wanted to reprise the character of Sandy in its live version of “Grease,” a fast-paced, rain-drenched production seen by more than 12 million viewers.
Hough returned to “DWTS” in 2014, but this time in the less backbreaking, higher-profile role of judge. Not that she’s looking for ways to rest on her laurels.
Her 2009 self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the country music charts and earned her the title of best new artist at the Academy of Country Music awards.
Her trip to Minneapolis coincided with a stop on her 38-city tour of “Move Beyond,” a live performance in collaboration with her brother Derek Hough, who just became a judge himself on the new NBC series “World of Dance.” The schedule has been so exhausting that she slept straight through the bus trip from Milwaukee to Minneapolis, even when the driver hit two deer.
She’s also found time to codesign outfits for the Julianne Hough Collection, which just added CoreYoga to its list of vendors.
Figuring out what to wear may be excuse No. 329 on your list of why you haven’t taken up yoga yet. Don’t sweat it, said Mariel Castillo, leader for the Twin Cities’ soon-to-be 10 locations, where staff members hand out almost as many high-fives as rubber mats.
“You just want to be comfortable,” she said. “If you think you’re wearing the wrong thing, that’s your first mistake.”
Still, it doesn’t hurt to be styling in Hough’s line, especially since the brightly colored tank tops, crop pants and bras are all made from bacteria-killing material, which means you won’t be all stinky during your post-workout coffee date.
“I live and breathe in athletic-wear,” Hough said. “These clothes show off my best energy and make me feel really confident.”
Hough is even squeezing in time to plan a July wedding to NHL player Brooks Laich, although she won’t reveal the location. It’s one of her few secrets.
“Some performers prefer to remain a mystery, but I’m an open book,” she said as she prepared to head for sound check and yet another mixer with fans. “I don’t want to feel like I’m following someone else’s path. I want to pave my own. I want to do it all.”