The actress opens up about her love of carbs, exciting new projects, and more


Strong. Determined. Persistent. Inspiring. These are just a few of the words one might use to describe the incredibly talented Katharine McPhee. From American Idol runner-up to bona fide huge TV star with her hit show, Smash, the inspirational actress is the perfect example of what it takes to live the American Dream.

"America is a country with so much opportunity. I'm living the blessings of what this country offers," McPhee says. "Not all dreams are easy, but at least we live in a country that gives us an opportunity to go for it."

As such a positive role model, it's no surprise her newest project would radiate the same kind of inspiration! McPhee has recently partnered with Tide on an exciting "My Story. Our Flag" campaign to celebrate patriotism as we head into the 2012 London Olympic Games.

We spoke with the stunning star to talk more about this patriotic project, the journey to stardom, and her secrets to staying in such smashing shape. Read on for more!

SHAPE: First off, congrats on all your amazing success! What's been the most personally rewarding part of your career thus far?

Katharine McPhee (KM): The most rewarding part is really being able to get up and do what I love every day. I love going to set, I love being in the studio. That's the best part... the work.

SHAPE: Tell us about the work you're doing with Tide and the Olympics. How did you get involved in this inspiring project?

KM: To gear up for the Summer Olympics, I am partnering with Tide on an exciting "My Story. Our Flag" project. We are asking people to go to to share their personal stories of what the Red, White, and Blue means to them.

On July 3, I will be in Bryant Park in New York City to perform and unveil a huge artistic rendition of the American flag. The stories that people have shared will be printed on swatches of fabric that will be sewn together to make an American Flag.

SHAPE: What does Red, White, and Blue mean to you?

KM: America is a country with so much opportunity. After returning from a recent trip to West Africa, I gained a new perspective on what our country's colors mean to me. Even in our worst times, we have so much more and give so much. Everywhere I went people wanted to know how they could get to America. On my way home I realized that I now looked at our flag differently. I thought about those that fought so hard for our independence; to give us the right to pursue our dreams.

SHAPE: The road to both stardom and a gold medal is very tough and takes a ton of perseverance. How do you relate to an Olympic athlete when it comes to going after your dreams?

KM: The show [Smash] and the nonstop nature of it (which I love) have given me so much more respect for the Olympic athletes and their training schedule. This is why I am super excited to be supporting these amazing athletes.

I really can't wait to meet some of the people who provided the stories for the flag. I have always loved the Summer Olympics. I was a competitive swimmer in middle school and high school. I remember that the training was grueling, but I'm sure it's nothing compared to how these athletes train.

SHAPE: We absolutely love you on Smash. What's the best part about working on the show?

KM: The best part of working on the show is that it is always changing from week to week. There is always something new to learn... it's not just learning lines like on a regular show. It's learning new dance routines, songs, or running to a fitting for a new period dress I have to wear.

SHAPE: You always manage to look so fit and fabulous in anything you wear. What do you do to stay in such great shape?

KM: Thanks! I do my best to eat sensibly but I loooove food. I love carbs but they don't love my hips. So I try to be conscious of what I put in my mouth. I try at least three times a week to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio and then another 30 minutes of weights with active movements.

SHAPE: What do you typically eat every day?

KM: Typically I eat most of my carbs earlier. Like in the morning I always like to have toast or a muffin with some protein like eggs or turkey bacon. For lunch it's a high protein salad and dinner-I love fish and veggies.

SHAPE: How do you deal with body pressure in Hollywood?

KM: Even if I weren't in Hollywood, I would feel pressure to look a certain way. It's less pressure in my eyes, as it is what makes me feel the best. I feel the best when I am lean and strong.

Don't forget to share your stories of what America means to you, together with McPhee by visiting For all things Katharine, check out her official website and be sure to follow her on Twitter.