Elle — Fresh off the heels red Tony Lamas of her Grammy win for best country album, Miranda Lambert—who just today dropped the video for “Little Red Wagon,” a saucy romp that New York dubbed the best song off her latest album, Platinum—is kicking things into overdrive. In addition to her 54-stop nationwide tour, Lambert also proudly serves as an authentic role model to young girls everywhere. “It’s a scary thing to put on yourself,” she says in her butterscotch-thick lilt, “but it’s also okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to admit that you have insecurities because we all do. It’s okay to be a little rough around the edges.” Here the singer chats candidly with ELLE.com about her very first Olivia Pope decision, biscuit eating, and country life with husband Blake Shelton:
You are very much considered to be a “role model,” do you ever wish you could relinquish the responsibility of having to behave?
I try not to think about it too much, you know? I see these cute little girls at my shows…They’re on their daddies’ shoulders, and I just sang a song with the word ‘shit’ in it. [Laughs]
What’s the craziest thing a superfan has ever said to you?
This girl came up to me not that long ago in a meet and greet and she said, ‘Just so you know, it’s because of you that I threw away my scale.’ That’s the best help that I could provide because I’ve been a lot of sizes in my career. I’ve always just tried to rock what I’ve got, no matter what my body is at the time. For her–and she was a cute, like, normal size girl–to say that, well, it really made me feel good.
As someone who understands the plight of dieting, I want to confess something to you: Last night I went out with my girlfriends and just ate all of the fried foods, and now I feel like throwing in the towel…
Isn’t that funny, how we immediately just feel like we’ve ruined it all?
I don’t think guys brace themselves for the impact the way women do. I’m like, ‘I had six onion rings, three mozzarella sticks, two chicken fingers…’
You start counting them, yeah. [Laughs] You’ve got to bounce back. You have to blow it out every now and then, but then you have to go, ‘Okay, maybe I’ll skip a couple of those kinds of meals.’ You pick and choose your times, but you can’t be too hard on yourself for having fun.
What’s your take on the “clean eating” craze? It makes me feel like there is simply no room for error…
I don’t think diets work. I think it’s a choice you make every single day.
When was the last time you just threw caution to the wind and got down with some greasy grub?
Two days ago I was at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville. I had never been there and basically caused a scene with my biscuit eating. I got back out on the road, where I’m traveling with my trainer, and I was sitting with him at lunch and was like, ‘I need to confess something to you.’ He was like, ‘It’s okay, but we’re going to run today.’
As the consummate role model, is it difficult when people put your and Blake’s relationship on a pedestal?
It is, but I don’t think about it. I mean, honestly, we are normal. We argue like regular husband and wife. We have great moments and we have not-so-great moments; we’re pretty upfront and honest with people about who we are. We don’t hide a lot of things. We’re just kind of, like, country folk. Because when all of the glitz and glamour goes away, it’s just us at home in the country.
Does Hollywood ever threaten to, like, tarnish your perspective?
We don’t even—that’s not even on our radar. We don’t care. I mean, Hollywood is just a place where Blake has to go to work and then he comes home. It has no bearing on our lives at all.
Growing up, were there certain women who you looked up to, and whose tenets of living appealed to you?
Both my mom and my grandma were really big influences on me not only by being strong and teaching me to be strong but also owning their salt as well. My mom was never afraid to say, ‘I’m sorry. I screwed up.’ I feel like that’s an important lesson. We try to hold ourselves to such high—sometimes impossible—expectations. I think it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them and be who you are. There’s a Southern saying that goes, ‘I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.’ Every time someone’s like ‘What’s your advice for young girls?’ I say, ‘Just start figuring out what you love, and what you’re about, and don’t ever stray from it because people will try to pull you in a million directions.’
Have you ever made an Olivia Pope-style, from-the-gut decision that everyone around you thought was crazy?
Um, probably musically. [Laughs] When I first started out I was 17—I was 17 to 20 when I was writing my first record. When I got a record deal I said, ‘I’m only wearing jeans. I’m not wearing frilly dresses.’ Dancing around in sequins is just not who I am. I wanted to be heard, not seen. People were like , ‘Well, you know, you need to kind of be flexible on that,’ and I just wasn’t at all. Looking back on it, it was a little extreme, but I really stuck to it. Luckily it worked, but even if it didn’t, I always knew that I’d be able to sleep at night.