Julianne Hough is set to co-host and produce the Miss USA Pageant this month, but the actress/dancer has admitted to not always being a fan of the event.
“If it was on I would watch it, but I always had this kind of feeling like ‘Ugh, it’s a beauty pageant,’” Julianne admits to Entertainment Weekly.
Julianne has since had a change of heart, and is looking to change traditional views of pageants through her work with the show.
“I’m sure a lot of people have felt this way, I know I have in the past, but when you hear ‘beauty pageant,’ there’s kind of this cringe and negative connotation that comes with it, because we think that girls are competing merely based off their physical appearance. And coming on as a creative producer, I thought, ‘There’s so much more to a woman than just her physical, external appearance, and we need to celebrate all parts of a woman.’ I know that the organization has done that in the past, but I really wanted the message to come across because I think, for myself and others, that’s kind of your first initial thought when you think about a pageant.”
“When I found out about Miss USA and how FOX and IMG acquired it, I thought ‘Man, this is such an opportunity to really showcase and celebrate women for more than just their physical beauty. And that is such a huge thing that I believe in. …Our slogan is ‘Confidently Beautiful,’ and what makes you beautiful is kindness, compassion, being healthy and active, all sorts of things.”
Julianne says that the show will celebrate different body types and showcase the women’s unique identities by showing them in their hometowns and at their jobs.
“You want to humanize it a little bit, and really get to know the girls,” she says. “I think that’s part of why we thought of it as a physical beauty competition, because we didn’t get to see these girls and the lives that they live. We go to their hometowns and we get to see where they’re from, what their job is, what they’re doing in their community, how they interact with their family, and we get to see someone for who they truly are without all the makeup and dresses on. That humanizes it more, and it helps people connect to these women who are doing so much good in their community. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Julianne will be co-hosting the Miss USA Pageant this Sunday, June 5, alongside Terrence “J” Jenkins and Ashley Graham, with musical performances by the Backstreet Boys and Chris Young. The pageant will air at 7PM ET on FOX.