In her new movie, Safe Haven, Julianne Hough plays a domestic abuse survivor. And now she’s sharing with the public why this role was particularly emotional for the dancer and actress. In the process, she’s shedding a disturbing light on the situation that many young women find themselves in when they work in the entertainment industry.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Hough talks about her time in London at a prestigious dance school, the Italia Conti Academy of Arts in England. She bravely admits that while there, she was abused, both physically and emotionally. Hough doesn’t say who perpetrated the abuse, but she does explain a little bit about how it happened and why she stayed.
“I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer. I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy facade because that was my job and my life. But my heart was the same, and I was this innocent little girl. I wanted so much love.”
“While I was in London, I was abused, mentally, physically, everything.”
The dance world, as well as in movies and modeling, often expects very young girls to act like mature women. We dress them up in revealing clothing and put on a full face of make-up. We ask them to portray adult women who understand and respect their bodies and their sexuality.
What’s more, we tell these young ladies that if they don’t buy into this system, they’ll never make it in the industry. Hough continues:
“I was told if I ever went back to the United States, three things were going to happen. One: I was going to amount to nothing. Two: I was going to work at Whataburger. And three: I was going to end up a slut. So, it was like, I can’t go back. I have to be this person.”
This gorgeous young girl who was far away from home was told that if she didn’t accept her horrible treatment, she’d never amount to anything. That’s a horribly sad reality to think about. It’s awful to think about young women living through this just to try and reach their dreams of stardom.
Julianne admits that her new movie brought back her past turmoil and that the director used that experience to help her connect with her character. If that’s true, I’m interested to see the movie and how Hough portrays a domestic abuse survivor.
More than anything, I think that Hough’s story is important to consider, because it demonstrates the terrible place young potential actresses, dancers and musicians can be in when they leave home at a young age to chase their dreams.