“I’ve grown into myself and my body. In Nashville, you see women, even successful singers, who have voluptuous bodies and everyone is supportive. I love Nashville! You don’t get the kind of criticism you might in Hollywood. To me, the confident curvy girl is so much sexier than the insecure skinny girl.”
Feed your body well.
“I eat more than salad. I tried vegetarianism, but my body didn’t respond well. I was low-energy. Now I make egg-white scrambles with veggies for breakfast. For lunch, I have chicken or fish and greens, which are good for keeping your system working. I’m a fan of sushi for dinner, as long as the fish aren’t endangered. When I indulge, I try to do it in the morning so I can burn it off. It’s my responsibility to be healthy, and, no, I’m not going to starve. I’m sorry—I can’t be full on salad.”
Work on your fears.
“I have stage fright! It’s because I’m a perfectionist, but I have to get over it. Getting to know the music scene here, I see that people are rooting for you, and if you mess up, it’s OK. And I’ve learned from karaoke that if all else fails, a shot of tequila takes the edge off and lets you have fun!”
Find—and spend time with—good friends.
“There’s nothing like having your closest people over, listening to good music and talking for hours. As you get older, you weed out people who are there only for a celeb lifestyle. Here, I’ve got my best friend from home, Allie, who moved here with me, and new friends I’ve made, like Ashley Monroe from Pistol Annies. And our cast is close; it’s a circle of trust.”
Be aware of your own behavior.
“I’ve been acting since I was little, and kids are often not treated well on sets. Whenever I’d work with an actor who was good to me, my mom would say, ‘Look, that’s how you want to be.’ I don’t believe anyone is born bad or mean; they become that way from anger and insecurity. But even when it’s my character being aggressive, not me, I find myself apologizing!”
Listen to your body’s needs.
“I run less and relax more. I used to run an hour every day. It was too much for me, and my body shut down. So now I don’t push it over the top. I’m active, on my feet during 16-hour workdays, and then I come home, pour some wine, light some candles and read a book. When I feel like I need to be active, I go to a pool and do laps.”
Follow your dreams.
“I sang and started an album when I was younger, but I wasn’t proud of how it was going, so I quit. I always said that if I did music in the future, I’d do country. I love it. But because I’m from New York, I was afraid people would think I was trying to fit where I didn’t belong and go, ‘She’s trying to be Taylor Swift.’ I’m not trying to be anybody but myself.”