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EXCLUSIVE: Jenna Dewan Has An Unusual Strategy for Building Her Kids’ Confidence — & It’s Paying Off

Building confidence is easier said than done. It’s something a lot of us spend our whole lives trying to achieve. We read self-help books, or memorize mantras, or try again and again to stand up straight (improving my posture has been my New Year’s Resolution since 2018, but I’m still a dedicated sloucher). And once you “have” it, there’s the challenge of maintaining it, and that’s a whole other can of worms.

Well, Jenna Dewan’s daughter Everly — who will turn 10 next month — is already rocking a kind of confidence we can only dream of having. Exhibit A: She is an Irish dancer, and she doesn’t need any pointers from her mom. That’s right. She tells her mom — a literal dance professional who starred in Step Up and was a backup dancer for Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Missy Elliott — she’s got it all under control.

*Jaw drop*

“She loves the fact that I have never done this particular type of dance,” the mom of two said. “She tried to teach me the different dances, and she laughs when I get it wrong. I told her one time to point her toes, but she doesn’t want to hear it … I’m like, ‘I do this. I have things that could be helpful.’ She doesn’t want to hear it. But she will listen to her dance teacher 100%. So I think that’s really cute.”

(Psst — Jenna! If you’re still wanting to give out advice, we’ll happily take some!)

So just how does this 10-year-old — who Dewan shares with ex-husband Channing Tatum —take to the stage (and take on life) with such confidence? It’s something Dewan has been fostering in subtle ways all along.

“When she was really young, I allowed her to pick out her outfits every day, and she wore strictly purple for a whole year and that was completely fine,” said Dewan, who wasn’t pained by this repetitive decision. “I allow her to express herself … And I think little things like that have helped her feel confident in herself.”

She also said finding things her kids were passionate about and making those things an integral part of their lives is key. For Evie that includes Irish dance (of course), anime, and Keeper of the Lost Cities, and for Dewan’s son Callum, 3 — who she shares with fiancé Steve Kazee — that includes basketball and construction trucks. Hey kiddos, I bet you’ll get a ball and a book in your Easter baskets this year! Dewan is partnering with Lindt GOLD BUNNY, so her kids’ baskets are sure to have one of those “nostalgic” treats and an activity, book, or toy “to fill it out.”

“Facilitating and supporting [those passions] creates so much self-esteem and confidence,” she said. “That’s what dance was for me as a kid, and it helped me channel my emotion.”

Giving her kids an opportunity to channel their emotions and keeping an open line of communication is “huge” for Dewan. That constant flow allows her to talk with Evie about boundaries — “You are in control of yourself and your body. You get to say no,” — and how to handle feedback of any kind. Because as a dancer, your every move is under constant scrutiny (literally!) and that could knock anyone down a few pegs.

“I’ve had somebody say hurtful things to me, and I explain that this happens to all of us and say, ‘It does not define you. It has nothing to do with you. It’s nothing about who you are as a person.'”

“Evie [does Irish dance competitions], and I explain that sometimes you’re gonna mess up,” she said, “and you’re gonna feel really bummed about it. ‘Feel what you’re feeling, but then just let it motivate you … And if one judge [says ‘X’] that does not make it law. Continue doing this because you love it.'”

Because performances, she said, should be about empowerment and the way you feel while dancing, not about how “well” you do.

Dewan said it’s “been wild” watching her daughter dance because it’s “a little bit like watching history.” She gets a chance to remember the times that were hard for her growing up, and can tap into that personal experience to support Evie.

“All girls, all women, all men go through self-esteem learning and building in our lives. And all I can hope for is that she feels good about herself and has the ability to communicate with me or with somebody how she’s feeling.”

These celebrity parents are raising strong, resilient daughters.

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