American Idol and Country Music Awards co-host Carrie Underwood is featured in the November 2016 issue of Redbook.
This month she’s taking a pit stop from her sold-out 82-arena tour to cohost the 50th Annual CMA Awards. Her life beyond stardom is just as rich and full: She has a 20-month-old son, Isaiah, with her husband of six years, NHL star Mike Fisher, and she puts her celebrity status to good work. She founded the Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation in her hometown; has donated millions from ticket sales to charity; joined with the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, which exclusively sells her athletic line Calia by Carrie Underwood, to grant $500,000 to girls’ youth sports—to list just a few of her projects. Though Carrie may shed her killer bravado along with her glitzy costumes after a show, I can tell, talking to her, that she’s gained a quiet con dence that wasn’t there in the past. It’s the kind of self-assurance that comes with knowing your decisions have led to a happy life and are helping make others happy too. You want to just lean in and ask, “How do you do it?” So I did — listen in.
On how her onstage persona “Carrie Underwood” differs from the real “Carrie”: “I love being onstage, but that’s different. That’s not Carrie. That’s Carrie Underwood. The rest of my life I feel like I’m incredibly disappointing to people. Like if I run into someone at the grocery store, I really don’t know what to say because I don’t have a microphone in my hand or bling on. They expect me to be ‘Carrie Underwood,’ but I’m just Carrie. I’m sorry!”
On having a second child with her husband, NHL star Mike Fisher: “If my husband were at the beginning of his career, I’m not sure we could handle it. Since he’s kind of nearing the end and won’t be traveling so much, we’re like, “We can figure it out for not that long.” You make it work. When I was pregnant, I thought, How am I going to go on the road? How am I going to keep doing my job? I had to just give it to God and stop worrying about it. Sure enough, we figured it out.”
How online bullying has changed the way she uses social media: “I feel like bullies have changed the way I react to the world. You want to be connected to your fans, and I used to feel like I could go through social media and talk to people, really have that communication. But you get to a point where there are too many mean people saying mean things — probably just to get a reaction from you — and eventually I was like, “I don’t know if I can do this.” You have to have a barrier up, which is sad.”
Her advice for working mothers: “Ask for help. Accepting help is hard for me, but I’m learning. Sometimes I feel guilty that this is my son’s life: We live on a bus and we’re in a hotel room and sometimes we’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s not so great. It’s not all glamorous. We have a nanny who helps out, especially when we’re on the road. But I’d feel guilty asking someone to watch him at home while I run to the grocery store.”
How having her son, Isaiah, has changed her as a person: “I definitely feel like it’s changed me as a person. I’m happier. I’m in a better mood a lot of the time. He’ll be watching cartoons and I’ll be watching him. I’m completely in love. I love it when he’s sleepy and I get to hold him and smell him. He doesn’t know I’m staring at him and being all googly-eyed!”
Photo Credit: Jeff Lipsky for Redbook