January’s Lucky Magazine Cover Girl, Jennifer Hudson

I can honestly say Lucky and Allure are my two most favorite magazines out there and I devour every issue cover to cover. I can’t stand to miss a single word. And my own special quirk: I have to read it brand new. No borrowing my issue before I can read it… I am a strange bird. Anyway, a special treat today: It is my pleasure to share with you a sneak peek interview with January’s Lucky Magazine cover girl, Jennifer Hudson. I am particularly inspired by Jennifer these days, as she was so successful on her weight loss journey as I start my own on Nutrisystem.

On the nickname her father gave her: “My father used to call me Miss Make- a-Hair,” she laughs. “If I’m tucked away in my room, I can’t help myself, I fool with my hair. I just like hair. And I hate hair salons! I like hair you can sleep in—wild, bed-head hair.” She runs her fingers through it, then pulls her hat down toward her face. “And a hat! I like showing my height, and this hat with the long coat kind of shows you how tall I am … ”

On getting all dressed up from her role as Veronica Moore on Smash: “You’re dressing up as this character, and that character is dressing up for her character—it’s the theater, it’s about costuming, the fittings, the transforming … I loved it.”

On her personal style: “My style has always been … odd,” she says. “I call it being free, expressing myself. You know, creative people? We like to express ourselves. When I was a little girl, I liked to cut up my clothes—we called it Jenniferizing. Or a J. Original! Just because it came that way doesn’t mean you have to wear it that way.” Hudson designed her own prom dress, her own Easter dress, dress after dress. “I would sketch it, and my mom and I would pick out the fabric and we’d have it made! I love to sketch! Everybody else was about the name brands—I’d go to Payless and get something nobody else had!”

On her biggest fashion inspiration, her grandfather: “The most stylish person in my family was definitely him—he’d take you into his closet and be like, ‘Hey! You need to wear this, Jenny!’ ” She laughs at the memory. “He was dressed down, honey, his closet, his clothes, they were sharp. He would pick things out of his for me to wear, and they were always perfect. That’s why I love menswear.”

On how her friends in Chicago think of her style: “I am the strangest thing—my style is utterly weird to them. They’ll be like, ‘Is that a witch hat, why are you wearing that witch hat? What is that hat? I mean, leather shorts? With boots? In the winter??’ They do not understand.”

On why she runs her own errands: “Don’t you love coral? Another one of my phases—right now I love coral lips! I go into Sephora—I love that store—and I have to have every colorful lipstick!” She most definitely does not send someone out to do her shopping. “I love picking it myself, it’s like a field trip!” She thinks for a minute. “You’re not living if you don’t go out and try things for yourself. When I’m out there, that’s when I discover what I like, who I am. You have to be in the land of the living—that’s how you hold on to your identity!”

On her favorite shopping destinations: “I leave the red-carpet stuff to the stylists,” she says. “For everyday, my two favorites are Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. And Nasty Gal! I love that place! Every time I go there, I want everything new that they have. All Saints, too, I love. Then there’s Michael Kors, Givenchy, Rick Owens—I like things that are dramatic in a subtle way. “When Jennifer has free time, I am shopping! I go through every rack because I might’ve missed a piece! Where I live I can walk right out onto Michigan Avenue and shop—walk, not drive—I’ve got to walk! Plus, you forget about eating when you’re shopping.”

On why she’s sticking to Weight Watchers and convincing her family members to join: She still counts Weight Watchers points and predicts she always will. “It’s flexible,” she says simply. “That was something,” she says. “Even David had a spoonful—that was a big deal!” David Otunga, her fiancé and father of her three-year-old son, is a Harvard-educated WWF contender whose diet, she says, is even stricter than her own. “Cheating for him is like, one chicken wing, instead of skinless chicken breast! He is like, no carbs; he only uses two or three seasonings, total, ever. He really understands.” Hudson has gotten many family members into Weight Watchers—together, they’ve lost over 2,000 pounds. “It’s great because before we eat—say, before a holiday or a big family reunion—lots of us are saying, how many points is this, how many points is that, so we’re together on it.”

On the first time she was asked to slim down: “The first time I was asked to lose weight [on American Idol], I was like, ‘What??’ Where I come from, I was never considered particularly heavy.” After a number of crash-diet attempts, Hudson found success with Weight Watchers because it wasn’t about Hollywood-style deprivation. “You have what you’re craving,” she says. “Chocolate is what I love—I have it every day.”

On the crucial element in maintaining her weight loss: Exercise, she says, is critical. She started with walking, which evolved into running. “Going jogging makes me feel powerful and free—like Rocky! In winter I do the treadmill, the Stairmaster, I like challenging things. I always say to myself: ‘Just give me 10 minutes.’ If I do those 10 minutes—the next thing you know, it’s 20 minutes—I trick myself!”

On her daily ritual: “I still take a picture of myself every day— just so I can see myself how others see me. It’s taken me a long time to feel it, get used to it. I’m still figuring it out with my body—rediscovering myself, how I’m perceived. What’s my style? Who am I?”

On how her  transformation has been incredibly fun: “With my new weight, it’s like I have more room to play—sometimes I feel like I’m my own doll, dressing myself up. All of a sudden, a shirt can be a dress, you know?”

On dressing from her son, David Jr: At the mention of David Jr., her face lights up like a Christmas tree; she flashes several iPhone pictures: adorable. “We call him Boss Baby! He says, ‘Mommy, I don’t like that,’ or ‘Momma, you look very pretty.’ ” She stretches out the T-shirt she’s got on to show it off. “I totally dress for my child! I’m going home today, so that’s why I have on this T-shirt. I have T-shirts with Popeye the sailor man on it, ones with different animals, comic-book characters!”

On her new clothing line: “Being a celebrity, you sort of have to look—decent—when you go out, but you don’t necessarily want to be always dressed up, totally perfect. I have to be flexible, comfortable.” Comfort was her priority for JH Collection, her new clothing line on QVC. “I still can’t believe I have my own line,” she says. “Us ladies, we don’t always get cute if we’re getting comfort. You want both.” She thinks for a minute. “I hate when you see a guy and girl out together, and he’s walking along, feeling great, and she can’t walk in her heels and she’s freezing in her dress … ”

On the test she gave each look in the JH Collection: “It has to look as good in size 16 as it does in size 6,” she says. “Would my old self love this as much as my new self? Could big Jennifer wear this?”

Note: if you are lucky enough to be in NYC this weekend, check out Lucky Shops for some amazing designer deals. December 6th-8th. Details at luckyshops.com.

Fashion Credits for the cover shot: 7 For All Mankind denim jacket, DKNY top, H&M skirt. 
Photo Credit: Ruven Afanador/ Lucky magazine 
The January issue of Lucky magazine is on nationwide newsstands December 11th.

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