Redefining “winning”: “I’ve come to learn, after 10 years of success in the spotlight, that being happy is something you have to work for every single day. Even if you have money or houses or status or fame—and all of that stuff is great for a moment—if you don’t have happiness charging the train, you’re gonna derail. A lot of my early twenties were really intense, really extreme, and somewhat unconscious. It was all career focused, which was great, but once you touch the ceiling so many times, it’s like, “Oh yeah, I did that. I touched the ceiling.” Now I want to touch the stars, which has to do with the heart.”
What advice she would give to herself in her 20s: “Pertaining to relationships, I would tell myself, “There really, truly are so many fish in the sea. There’s some whales. There’s some sharks. There’s some blowfish. And there’s some cuttlefish. And you want to end up with the ‘cuddle’ fish.” [Laughs.] I’m just kidding. But I’d also say [much like the famous Maya Angelou quote], “People may not remember everything about meeting you, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.” When I was first getting to Hollywood and meeting my heroes like Gwen Stefani and a couple others, one was amazing—she introduced herself and asked my name—but one just brushed me off. I’ll never forget how that made me feel.
Music democracy: “When American Idol was born, it was one of the only ways to shoot to stardom or get your music out there. Now you can do it on your own, but there are so many options out there that you need an even bigger platform—you need the Internet and beyond—to cut through to make an actual impression. I think that American Idol is finally coming full circle: I think it will once again be an amazing launching pad for whoever wins.
How she deals with touring: “Well, I love routine. I feel very out of sorts without routine, and the devil is sort of my playground when I don’t have it. Every day is just a preparation for the show. Sleep is really important to me. I’m a big sleeper. I get eight to nine hours every night. Nine to 10 hours, actually. I eat about four meals—or four and a half meals—a day. I’m constantly eating. Luckily, I have this really amazing chef who does a no-sugar and no-dairy diet for me, and I stick to that pretty well. Maybe once a week I’m cheating. When I wake up, I go straight into yoga for an hour, and I usually do 30 minutes on the elliptical to get the blood flowing. I’ll try to put in a meditation around 4:30 or 5:00 P.M. Transcendental meditation has been a game changer for me. We’re all so “connected” to our devices, which, I think, is disconnecting us from reality.
Moving on from the past: “I’m preparing to do a big soul overhaul very soon that I’m nervous about. I want to emotionally elevate myself. I don’t want to hold on to childhood trauma anymore. I want to grow into becoming an adult. I’m preparing myself for having a family of my own someday. And that’s the thing: I want to do a little bit more soul surgery before I have a family of my own so that I don’t transfer any of those lingering feelings. I’m about to go heavy into that emotional process, and I’m nervous, but I don’t think I have a choice anymore. This last year has been about killing my ego, which has been really necessary for my career. But for my personal life, it doesn’t work that way. If I want to have that true balance, I have to step into being Katheryn Hudson.