Jenna Dewan Tatum Opens Up
Jenna Dewan Tatum Opens Up: ” I Always Think If Women Bond Together, It’s Crazy Powerful”
On an unusually cool day in Los Angeles, we head to a downtown studio to meet up with Jenna Dewan Tatum, who greets us with a big hug and a hot cup of tea. She’s only just recovered from a bout with the flu, but she’s already back to normal and working hard: The 35-year-old currently stars as Lucy Lane on CBS’s Supergirl and is also the new face of the Reebok ZPrint sneaker, a collaboration she’s thrilled about.
“After becoming a mom—before I was a mom, to be honest—I just loved the idea of being comfortable, yet fashionable,” says Dewan Tatum, whose daughter, Everly, is nearly three years old. “These shoes are sleek, cool, and fun, and their initiative is really up my alley. I love being confident and strong, yet comfortable and approachable.” The adjectives that Dewan Tatum uses to describe the sneakers can easily be applied to the actress herself. She’s inviting, warm, and, well, a cool girl. When talking about life at home with husband Channing Tatum, she refers to him often as “Chan” and speaks openly about their daily routine and life. And she’s a mega star around the globe—but if Dewan Tatum realizes it, she doesn’t show it. Over the course of the next hour, we sat down exclusively with the actress to talk about her career, life in the spotlight, and what she wishes she could change about the entertainment industry.
Glamour: Which TV or movie role are you proudest of?
Jenna Dewan Tatum: All of the roles I’ve done sort of lead to the next. I like to think that I was thrown into acting from being a dancer, so every role I learn something. I feel the most fun I ever had was Witches of East End, and we became such good friends with everyone. That role was so my free-spirited self that I got to play everyday. I really liked doing that show. It was such a good, guilty pleasure, and it was the most fun I’ve had for sure. I think my most fulfilling role is still yet to come.
Glamour: It was so fun watching you on The Mindy Project.
Jenna: That was so fun! That was really, really fun. Mindy is really, really sweet.
Glamour: What role scared you the most?
Jenna: I’m always a little bit scared [of everything], but that’s a good feeling to have. The first day on set is always a little bit like having the butterflies and learning to get into the flow. American Horror Story—when I signed on to do that, I had no idea what I was doing. Some morning I got a script and some of the things I had to do were a little raunchy. I remember being like, “My dad is going to watch this. Cool. OK…” But we had so much fun, and we made it a really comfortable situation.
Glamour: If you could go back and repeat any particular role, which one would it be and why?
Jenna: Step Up! [Laughs] That was really fun, but I would do it way better now! It’s such a double-edged sword because you’re like, “Aww, that’s where I met my husband and we have a daughter now. She can watch us one day!” But the other side of it, we’re both cringing at our acting the entire time. My voice was so high because I had never acted, and Chan has this low voice. It’s so cute, but I would like to maybe do a couple scenes a little better! [Laughs]
Glamour: One of your first roles was on the Friends spin-off, Joey, in 2004! What do you remember about that?
Jenna: Oh my gosh, yes, and it was so long ago! I don’t remember anything because I was so nervous about saying three lines. [Laughs] I was a huge Friends fan, and it was one of my first times speaking on camera. I remember pacing and practicing my three lines over and over again in the dressing room. I just got the role [pretty quickly]. It’s like how this whole career happened: so fast.
Glamour: You were once told you couldn’t be a dancer and an actress. How did you get past that and prove people wrong?
Jenna: Once a dancer, always a dancer. It’s my first true love, and it’s always there. I listened to people for a minute [who said I couldn’t do both] and tried to distance myself [from dance], but it just wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t happy doing that. I realized that at the end of the day, there’s got to be room for both or there’s not room for me. So I just went with it, and I said, “Yeah, I’m a dancer who also acts, and I’m an actress who also dances. What’s the big deal?” Now, the industry is so different that it’s a commodity to be able to have that. But in the beginning, it was either “You’re Kate Bosworth and do nothing but act or you’re a dancer and there’s no in between.” I just said, “Screw it.” Things came my way that were meant to be. Now I believe in being you—your full you—and putting that intention out into the universe and allowing things to line up for you rather than chasing how you should be. It just works out better.
Glamour: What’s your advice on knowing when to speak up and when not to? Because it’s very hard when people who have an authoritative voice in this industry and have had prior success think they know what’s right.
Jenna: You’re absolutely correct. I definitely was tortured by a minute by it because I thought, “Well, they definitely know better. I just got into this, what do I know? Maybe they’re right.” I got passed up for so many things, and it really just came down to the more comfortable I felt with who I was that my career started to fall into place nicely.
Glamour: What do you wish you could change about the industry?
Jenna: I wish that women had much more opportunities and better opportunities. I love that we’ve all started to create. It’s slowly changing, but it’s changing. I like that the voices are getting louder, and we’re going, “Wait, why don’t we start creating?” I always think, if women bond together in life, art, movies that it’s crazy powerful. And when they decide that we’re all going to see this movie or all speak up for this, it’s like, “Let’s all be pro-women.” We need to let women be for women, and that’s when the power comes.
Glamour: Is there anything you’d like to create?
Jenna: I love old-school musicals. I love dance movies, ironically. I love Moulin Rouge. That’s my favorite musical. Anything Baz Luhrmann. So anything where I get to dance and act and maybe even push myself to sing a little bit would be a dream. Also, I have a dream of doing an awards show for dancers and choreographers. That’s on the same scale as the Billboards or something like that. But something that really gives them the spotlight because they’re so talented.
Glamour: When you’re working, what part of the job makes you happiest?
Jenna: Being in the pocket of a scene with a good partner. I call it the pocket because it’s that moment when you feel connected and you’re in the flow and you’re connecting to the partner, to the material, to the scene, and feeling like you’re putting a message into the scene that wasn’t intended. Just that zsu-zsu-y good feeling.