Julianne Hough: I wasn't cool in high school

Julianne Hough says she kinda sorta identifies with the character she plays in Footloose, a clever remake of Kevin Bacon’s famed 1984 dancin’ & rebellin’ teen musical hit which opened Friday.

“Hough, a two-time Dancing With The Stars champ does a few very sweet moves onscreen. (Her co-star, pro dancer Kenny Wormald ain’t too bad either.)

Hough, 23, plays a complicated young woman named Airel Moore. Thing is, she’s the preacher’s daughter and sister of the boy whose drunk driving death led the good reverend Moore (Dennis Quaid) to outlaw dancing and partying in town.

But Ariel is a rebel, she’s a wild child who dates a race car driver and stays out all night.

“[I’m] a little like her, I guess,” Hough, a Utah native, told us during a recent visit to Philadelphia for an advanced test screening of the film. (The audience loved it.)

So she was Ariel as a teen?

“In terms of her personality and the way she acts out and the rebellious side of her, oh yeah,” Hough says during a chat at the Four Seasons on Logan Square. “Especially growing up in Utah.”  Hough says she grew up around very proper, buttoned down folk.

“I had an interesting high school experience,” adds the big-screen newbie. “But not in terms of being one of the cool kids.”

It’s hard to believe, but Hough insists she wasn’t a popular party girl like Ariel.

Not cool?

“Not in high school,” she shoots back. “I was like the kid who ate lunch in the bathroom and stuff.” Ouch.

Watch Julianne and Kenny do their Footloose thing on Dancing With The Stars.