For most people, the idea of being 21 years old conjures
carefree images of little-to-no responsibility, staying out until late each night and sleeping in until late each morning, and nonchalantly throwing
around lofty ideas of what you plan to accomplish
“someday.” Ohhh, someday I’ll be a famous dancer. Someday, I’ll be an award-winning singer. Someday, I’ll be a star on a hit TV series.

But Julianne Hough isn’t “most people.” A two-time professional
dance champion on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Julianne is not only an Emmy-nominated choreographer, but a twice-crowned Academy of Country Music Award winner as Top New Female Vocalist and Top New Artist for her self-titled debut album.

While her increasingly crowded mantel is impressive to be sure, for Julianne the biggest thrill comes from quality time with a very special friend. At the end of the day, swaying across the dance floor in the arms of A-list hotties like Joey MacIntyre, Indy car racer Helio Castroneves, or comedian Adam Carolla just doesn’t hold a candle to hanging out with Lexi, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


MD: Where are you from originally?
JH: I’m from Utah. When I was 18, I graduated from high school and I was either going to go to college or move to LA. I decided to go to LA and go for it!
MD: Have you always known you were meant to be an entertainer?
JH: Ever since I was little, I wanted to be an entertainer. My whole family wanted to be the center of attention! We were always in front of the camera. We would make videos, put on plays… I can’t imagine doing anything else besides singing, dancing, or acting!
MD: And have you always known you were meant to be a dog person?
JH: Yes. I’ve had dogs my entire life. I love them so much, but I never took one on as my own until I got Lexi. When I got Lexi, she became everything to me. She is like my daughter.
MD: What has the experience of being on Dancing with the Stars for the last five seasons meant to you?v
JH: It’s opened up so many doors. It’s been so fulfilling. It has also given me so many opportunities
and great exposure. The show is a lot of fun!
MD: How does working on an album differ from working on a dance routine?
JH: Being on Dancing with the Stars, you are focused on your partner and not yourself. Working on an album—I am working on my second album now—you are focused on bettering
yourself. On my first album, I was learning. Now, on the second album, I get to focus on who I am. On the show, I am the teacher. I like to learn rather than teach. I like to be the one who learns and grows. I guess that’s the difference.
MD: Would you ever try canine freestyle dancing—choreographed
dance routines for people and dogs?
JH: I have never thought about it! But I dance with Lexi all the time. She is my partner. I teach her tricks and I tell her to dance and she jumps and does turns.
MD: The last five years have, no doubt, been a whirlwind for you, from your stint on Dancing with the Stars, to opening for George Strait on tour, to everything in between. If you had to pick, what single moment stands out as the brightest highlight
so far?
JH: Winning Top New Female Vocalist and Top New Artist was amazing! I always wanted to be in music and since those awards are fan-voted, my acceptance
into the country music industry was probably the biggest highlight so far.
MD: You’re 21 years old. Given all you’ve already accomplished, what more do you hope to tackle and achieve in your career?
JH: I hope to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m having a blast being on the road and I’ve got a couple of projects coming up that I’m excited to start. I want to keep on the entertainment side and grow as an artist, actor, and dancer.
MD: You come from a large family. How many brothers and sisters do you have?
JH: In my immediate family, there are five kids. But all together—with half- and step-brothers and sisters—there are fourteen
of us. The perk of having a big family is knowing you have people who love you all around the country.
MD: You don’t have fourteen kids, but you do have Lexi. How did you come to have Lexi in your life?
JH: I’ve always wanted a dog, but I didn’t know what I wanted or if I could take care of one. When I was on tour with [singer] Brad Paisley, he had a Cavalier King Charles and I fell in love with the breed. My sister was also looking for a dog, and [the breeder] told me that they had a runt from the litter, but they didn’t know if I would want a runt. They sent me photos and I loved her. Her name was Princess, but I didn’t love that name. My middle name is Alexandra, so I came up with Lexi. I would be so lonely without her. She is my saviour.
MD: What is her best personality trait?
JH: Like most dogs, she loves you no matter what. She is very intuitive. She knows what I need and if I’m having a good day or a bad day. She is so loveable and so sweet, but also very independent and extremely smart.
MD: What is the most over-the-top purchase
you have ever made for Lexi?
JH: I always give her the best dog food and shampoos and conditioners. I’ve also bought her a couple of travel bags. I don’t go crazy, but I do buy her clothes.
MD: Describe your ideal day spent with Lexi.
JH: Probably just staying home and playing in the back yard. Behind my yard is a huge farm with open fields and hay and grass. She loves to run around there. There is a pond there as well. She is a great swimmer.
MD: They say dogs are a reflection of their owners. How are you and Lexi alike?
JH: We are identical. Her birthday is a day after mine. She is loving, caring, and independent. She will only come to you when she wants to. She loves you and wants to be with you, but only on her terms. She’s a tomboy—she loves to run and is very athletic. But she is also a pris…just like me!
MD: Who would play Lexi in the movie of her life?
JH: Lexi. She’s already famous.