Jenna Dewan Tatum Makes a Splash – Interview with Ocean Drive

Jenna Dewan Tatum is living a fairy tale: She’s starring in the new Lifetime series Witches of East End, which was just picked up for a second season; she’s married to People magazine’s 2012’s Sexiest Man Alive, box-office superstar Channing Tatum; and the two recently had a baby girl, Everly Tatum (named after both of her grandmothers). Life is good for Dewan Tatum, but it’s certainly not calm.

“We call it ‘The Circus,’” she says amid a cacophony: The doorbell rings, the dogs start to bark, and someone needs her to sign for a package. At the moment, the baby is napping, but Dewan Tatum warns she’ll join the chorus shortly—and considerably more adorably than the rest of the motley crew. “I’m sure Everly at some point will come over and have her two cents. There’s always someone walking in and out of this house, but that’s how I designed it. I’ve always wanted a life that was very family-based, with lots of energy, and I got that times 10! You should see us at the airport with my 14 carry-ons. I’m like, ‘I am going to limit this,’ and somehow I still have two diaper bags, a purse, her clothes in case it gets cold. It’s a whole thing.”

On Meeting Hubby Channing
Right now, the family is in New Orleans as Channing films the sequel to 2012’s blockbuster comedy 21 Jump Street; they’ll finish up in Puerto Rico and then return home to Los Angeles. It’s a nice break for Dewan Tatum, who recently wrapped the first season of her TV show after heading straight to work just six weeks after giving birth. “It’s really nice to not have to do anything,” she says. “It’s been a chill, relaxing moment for me right now.”

It’s one of the first she’s had in a while. Dewan Tatum, who was born in Connecticut and mostly raised in Texas, has been dancing her whole life. After getting her start as a tour dancer for the likes of Janet Jackson, Ricky Martin (both whose tours brought her through Miami), ‘N Sync, and Christina Aguilera—and appearing in their various music videos—Dewan Tatum moved on to acting with roles in Tamara and Take the Lead. People started to take notice when she starred in 2006’s cult dance movie Step Up opposite a handsome upstart named Channing, whom she started dating after they met on set. (Tatum, whose modeling career launched when he was discovered here on the streets of Miami, had his first acting job on CSI: Miami.)

The press tour for the film was a first for both of the young stars, and Dewan Tatum fondly remembers a particularly spontaneous moment during their Miami stop. “We were together when the movie came out, but no one really knew who we were,” she says. “At some point, they threw us a party at the hotel. It was a very beautiful Miami night, and this interviewer brought a boom box and was speaking in Spanish and was like, ‘Here, dance on camera’— and we looked at each other like, what? So Channing picked up the boom box, put it on his shoulder, and I twirled and did circles around him. We were cracking up! We’re crying, we’re laughing so hard. If I can ever find this on tape, I will be so happy.”

The couple got engaged in 2008 and married in Malibu in 2009, but not before Dewan Tatum made a three-day stop in Miami for a bachelorette party thrown by one of her best friends, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui. “You just have a whole other vibe when you get to Miami. It’s so sexy: all of the nightlife and beautiful weather, and you wear less clothing. You feel like you want to go out and have some fun and play,” says Dewan Tatum. Eight girls sat poolside at the Gansevoort by day and went out to clubs such as LIV at night. “We ended up going out and staying up until four in the morning. And then lying out and recovering the next day—which is like another part of Miami. You’ve got to get the relaxation-pool-recovery day to ramp up for your next night.”

And Baby Everly Makes Three
When she was filming Witches of East End and had an infant to take care of, the actress didn’t have time for relaxation, or, for that matter, shut-eye. “I’m learning to just try and find it as much as I can for a couple of hours,” the new mom says. “You get a nap in there, and it builds up—and then you get the day where you’re like, ‘Oh my God, can somebody watch her for five hours? I need to go to sleep!’” So when she says that filming has been an amazing experience, it means even more. “I had a newborn, so you know that if I enjoy working while I had a 6-week-old in the trailer, it was a fun show to work on.”

With hordes of paparazzi swarming the family at all times, Dewan Tatum has developed a knack for calmly taking it all in stride with a smile, and Hollywood loves her. These days, though, when people speak about her ability to leave people spellbound, they’re more often than not talking about her new gig. On Witches, the actress plays Freya Beauchamp, a young witch who has recently learned she has supernatural powers; Mama Beauchamp is played by thespian powerhouse Julia Ormond. A campy cross between Parenthood and Charmed, the show, which is based on the Melissa de la Cruz novel of the same name, follows the mystical arc of the Beauchamps as they spark family drama—and in Freya’s case, a steamy love triangle.

Dewan Tatum says she loved the script immediately. “The very first part of it was sort of a re-imagining of Practical Magic, which was one of my favorite movies growing up,” she confesses. “It also had a splash of a fan-fiction feel, like a guilty pleasure. I thought if we could find a cast that really felt like a family—that we could get really good chemistry with—this would be such a fun show to go do every day.” After roles in the short-lived drama The Playboy Club and last season’s American Horror Story: Asylum, the actress seems to have finally found her TV stride.

Like Mother (and Father) Like Daughter  
And although she and Tatum try to plan their work schedules so they can be together, there are weeks apart. Naturally baby Everly became an expert at FaceTime. “She absolutely can recognize him and touches the phone,” Dewan Tatum says. Unsurprisingly, Channing is a ham when it comes to his baby daughter. “He’s Mr. Play Funtime Dad. So every time he comes in, he’s singing to her. He holds her and dances around and she’s laughing. She literally lights up when he walks in the room.”

The Tatum penchant for shaking your groove thang already runs in the family: Everly bounces alongside her mother’s workouts in her Johnny Jump Up. The new mom received a lot of attention when she debuted her svelte post-baby body just weeks after giving birth, and of course, given her background, dancing played a key role in getting back in shape. “I danced for 22 years of my life, hardcore, every day, seven hours a day, so I’m lucky that [my body] likes to snap back to that shape as long as I put a little effort into it, but I’m really active,” she says. “I work with a trainer named Jennifer Johnson in LA. She’s a dancer as well, and she does this amazing workout that’s part cardio, part strength training, part Pilates-based. I gave birth in London, so I was in England for part of this crazy circus, and all I did was hike. When Everly was born, I was literally rocking her probably 10 times a day for 45 minutes, and I turned it into a workout, doing squats and lunges around the house.” Dewan Tatum is also a vegan, which likely contributed to the accelerated pace of her weight loss. She says she was raised with really healthy eating habits, a behavior she’s planning on passing on to her daughter.

Another must when it comes to like-mother-like-daughter? “She’s her own soul, but she definitely seems to be leaning towards the musically coordinated side of things,” Dewan Tatum says. Lest you think that it’s all baby talk, Everly has more modern taste. “She is obsessed with Drake’s ‘Hold on, We’re Going Home.’ If I put that on, she will sleep in five seconds. Prince’s ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ also lulls her to sleep. There’s no nursery rhymes, no sweet nursery music to put her down. She is like, ‘No, please. I like the hits.’ I’d like to think that Drake and Prince are pretty badass for a little girl.”

As if on cue, there’s a peep in the background: “And now you hear my little munchkin. She’s like, ‘Yup. I’m ready for the circus again, Mom.’”