EXCLUSIVE: Julianne Hough cries during emotional speech supporting LGBTQ community: 'I know what I stand for'
The Dancing With the Stars judge took the stage in her home state of Utah, getting candid about her own past struggles with using her platform to speak out for others.
"Here's my honest truth: Being a public figure and to use my voice has always been hard for me, because I don't always know how to express how I feel or what I believe in," Hough said, as her voice began to crack with emotion. "And the pressure to be politically correct has always weighed on me."
"Unfortunately, at times, that has caused me to distance myself from a lot of important issues. Especially when they don't necessarily affect me directly," she continued. "There's a great saying, 'If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.' Well, I can tell you, I am so happy that I know what I stand for."
The 29-year-old professional dancer began to cry as she explained that "spreading joy and love is a mission I take very, very seriously. With all the chaos that is in the world today, the idea that we all need to love loud had never been more relevant or more needed."
The sold-out LOVELOUD Festival, which welcomed more than 17,000 attendees, benefitted GLAAD, The Trevor Project, EnCircle, and Stand4Kind. The musical event aimed to raise awareness about the issue of teen suicide, especially among the LGBTQ community, and to promote love and acceptance among all people.
Among the groups that performed at the concert were Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk The Moon, and Imagine Dragons, whose frontman, Dan Reynolds, was instrumental in creating the event.