keep calm carrie
Keep Calm and Carrie On
Arriving 30 minutes early for her REDBOOK cover shoot dressed in sweats and flip-flops, with her damp hair gathered up into a ponytail, Carrie Underwood could almost pass for someone's assistant (albeit one with crazy-good skin and exceptional cheekbones). She further defies the celebrity mold by walking over to everyone, extending her hand, and introducing herself. "Hi, I'm Carrie," she says, and then plops down at a table and pulls a PB&J sandwich from her giant duffel bag—it's a lunch she brown-bagged herself. A minute later, she has joined the conversation at the table, all about tattoos. Carrie says she has two: a four-leaf clover and a black cat, both well-concealed. "I was in college and got them done. They don't mean anything," she says dryly. Later on, when the photographer tells her he hasn't snapped a bad picture, she turns bright pink. "You don't have to be embarrassed," he teases. But she is. Despite topping the charts, selling out stadiums, and cohosting the CMA Awards for six years, Carrie Underwood still can't take a compliment.
She may look and sound like Nashville royalty, but in everyday life, Carrie is still the girl from Checotah, OK, who, despite being a little shy and awkward, is also mind-blowingly fearless. In fact, it's daring—not praise—that drives her. The singer had never been on a plane before she flew to Los Angeles forAmerican Idolnine years ago, the scariest and most formative event of her life. "I knew it would make or break me," says Carrie, who went from singing in her local church to performing on live television in front of millions of viewers. And while it was lonely and difficult, the experience taught her that nothing worthwhile comes easy. SinceIdol, Carrie has specialized in pushing her limits. Just weeks before her cover shoot in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, pro hockey player Mike Fisher, Carrie had wrapped a 110-city tour. She was prepping to sing the Beatles' classic song "Yesterday" at the Emmy Awards, in what became the night's most tweeted moment. Now she's bracing for her latest challenge: On December 5, Carrie will star as the free-spirited governess Maria in a three-hour live—that's right,live—broadcast of one of the most famous musicals of all time,The Sound of Music. It's her first major acting role, and one that's sure to draw a heap of attention as she takes on the iconic character once played by Julie Andrews. "I really hope people realize that I'm still me and not trying to be [her]," Carrie says. "Nobodycould do that."
Baptism by fire is just how she rolls. Accordingly, the singer isn't afraid to share her opinion on social issues. She's an outspoken advocate for animal rights, and despite being a devout Christian, the 30-year-old recently expressed her support for gay marriage. What if that ruffles a few feathers? Carrie says she's not concerned. "Someone asked me a question and I tried to give an honest answer," she says about her statements. "If someone won't like me because of that, then maybe they were looking for a reason not to like me." Keep reading and you'll see why that's just about impossible to find.
REDBOOK:You were all over the U.K. and Australia on your last tour. What was the first thing you did when you got home?
CARRIE UNDERWOOD:Well, the first thing I did was… you know…seemy husband… [Laughs] After that, it was laundry.
CU:Oh, yeah. I do not like other people touching my underwear. That's just weird! I travel with a washer and dryer, and I like cooking on the bus. I hate room service because they always bring me extra bread and butter. I only order if I have to. So when we have a day off, I try to find the nearest food co-op.
RB:You packed your lunch today. Why?
CU:I didn't know what kind of food was going to be here. I like knowing. I write everything down. I keep a food journal—I've had it for, like, seven years now.
RB:And you do this to count calories?
CU:You know how you feel when you get full? Well, I don't get full. I can eata lot. Mike and I were in Italy for 10 days and I put on eight pounds. I don't regret a single pound. We drank, we ate; it was amazing. So in real life, I have to make sure I'm not just eating to eat.
RB:What prompted you to start?
CU:It was on theIdoltour [after I won]. I put on a lot of weight [during the show] because we were locked in a room all day with a craft service table. I was bored, so I was just eating. I was never overweight, but I feel better with myself now.
RB:I heard that being fit is so important to you that you chose to tour with a personal trainer instead of a makeup artist and hairstylist. What are some tricks you've learned doing your look yourself?
CU:One of my favorite hair tricks is using dry shampoo. Whenever I can't get to the salon to get my color freshened up—I'm natural blonde, but I like it a few shades lighter—I'll use dry shampoo on my roots. It takes the edge off. And I love to put coconut oil on my face before I go to bed. You can buy it at pretty much any grocery store, and my skin feels great in the morning.
RB:What are some products you can't you live without?
CU:I love Almay Smart Shade CC Cream. It's so light, and feels good on my face. And Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. It helps give some extra volume. I am from the South—we like big hair!
RB:[Laughs] That's true! But you're not exactly the typical Southern girl. How did you become a vegan?
CU:I started [as a vegetarian] at 13. I grew up on a farm with cows, and it sounds stupid, but once I put two and two together, I thought,I'm not eating this; he's my friend. But it's personal. Everyone around me eats meat, including Mike. So I buy it at the grocery store.
RB:The title track of your albumBlown Awayis about a powerful topic: domestic abuse. What sort of a response did you get?
CU:Honestly, it was all positive—letters from fans telling me that that's their story. When you see handwriting and you see that it's real… [You realize] music is therapy. It can help somebody.
RB:And I'm sure your revenge songs are pretty cathartic for them too. Where do those come from?
CU:I would never do anything [illegal], but I'm not a victim. And obviously, I'd never destroy property or anything like that.
Video: KEEP CALM AND CARRIE ON | Outlast #4
How to Garden
News Pulse: The Toxin In Your Jewelry
Sienna Miller reminds us why we all need a slip dress in our arsenal
The Beauty Products the Sex and the City Women Would Use Today
Nick Bosa withdraws from Ohio State to focus NFL Draft and injury rehab
Facing a Fear of Needles to Treat Psoriasis
Bad moods can do us good and even help us detect lies
How to Make a Culture
The Perils of Fame: Depression and Suicide, Post-Spotlight
How to Use the iPhone App Store
How To Be Flirty With Someone You Like
How to Go from Dating to Being Friends Again