Country music loves a good Cinderella story—so it's only natural that it would embrace Carrie Underwood
. Growing up in the small town of Checotah, Oklahoma—population 3,533—Carrie became America's sweetheart after winning the fourth season of American Idol
. Before becoming a household name, Carrie worked at a gas station, a hotel, a pizza place and
a veterinary clinic.
, this country girl has taken the music business by storm. She's sold millions of albums and has won multiple awards, including four Grammys. She also became only the seventh woman in the Academy of Country Music's history to take home the Entertainer of the Year award!
Despite her busy schedule, Carrie says she always makes time to stay healthy. While at home in Nashville, Carrie says she works out with a trainer a couple days a week. "I work out the other days on my own," she says. "I think clearer throughout my day if I get a good workout, and I sleep better at night."
Carrie says she also keeps a food journal of what she eats throughout the day. You won't find any meat in this vegetarian's journal, but you will find out what really motivates her to eat well. "I give myself stickers like I'm a kindergartner," she says. "Mine is full of stickers so far."
Since her debut album, Carrie says she's taken a bigger role in writing the hits on her records. "If I'm singing something, I can mean every single word I'm saying," she says.
Carrie says she loves the challenge of crafting a song. "How do you talk about love in a new way? How many different ways can you explain this emotion?" she asks during a recent songwriting session. "We're going to write a number one smash today—no pressure."
, Carrie says she never dreamed that she would be able to sing for a living. "That's just not a job. That's not something attainable that you go after. You can't go to school for that, you know?"
Still, Carrie says it's been exciting to see her dream come true. "I keep waiting for the big drop, because they say everything is full of ups and downs, but everything so far has worked out so wonderful."
Carrie says lots of people inspire her, and Kenny Chesney is one of them. She says seeing him in concert was an inspiration. "There was a giant tractor onstage, and I had really good seats," she says. "It was a defining moment in my life."
"Seeing people like Alan [Jackson] and Kenny in person ... they're just larger than life," she says.
One word—shoes! "I like to shop," she says.
Carrie says she's also decorating her home. "I love antiques," she says. "I get made fun of because my friends will come over and say, 'My grandma has one just like it.'"
It's not easy, she says. "It's really strange. You're under a microscope," she says. "You're getting to know somebody, you just met them, [and the tabloids] have you married off next week."
It's also difficult to read people's true intentions, Carrie says. "[I wish they were] just stamped on their forehead," she says. "I've had some of that, but I've been pretty lucky."
Not unless she's dressed up! "I'm in a ponytail, glasses and my sweatpants at the grocery store, and people won't [ask] me, 'Are you Carrie Underwood?'" she says. "They'll say, 'Wow, you look like Carrie Underwood,' because Carrie Underwood wouldn't be at the Harris Teeter, you know, 11 o'clock at night in her sweatpants."Catch up with country's biggest star—Kenny Chesney! Darius Rucker's country debutWhy country music is sweeter with Sugarland