Kara DioGuardi: Women’s Health

Kara DioGuardi dishes to Women’s Health in the March issue on newsstands now!

Part of her interview

On being the new kid on the Idol block:

“Well, I already knew Paula and Randy. But I didn’t know Simon that well. It was about respecting these three people, who have been doing this for a long time, but also trying to be honest and be myself.”

On finding her judging niche:

“It’s more about ‘What side of myself am I going to show?’ I can be tough, but I can also be nurturing. It’s hard to be critical with young people. You don’t want to disappoint them, but you also don’t want to send them down a path when you they won’t be successful.”

Squashing rumors of a Paula-Kara rivalry:

“Paula and I are friends, and she’s been a huge help to me. I like strong women, and Paula is a fighter. It’s great that there are times on the show now where you see girl power.”

Her co-judge, Simon Cowell:

“Oh he’s naughty, naughty, naughty! He’s that guy who was a year in front of you in school, who had that smile that was so captivating, but if you went there, he would eat you alive. He’s funny and quick-witted. At times, we disagree, but I dish it right back at him, because I’m from New York and I’m feisty.”

Back in the day:

“I was a pop-music junkie. My parents were into Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. They weren’t too excited when I had Aretha or The Stones pumping. [I would be singing] and my brother would yell, ‘Shut the hell up!’ But listening to all that popular music helped me in my songwriting career. Listen to the Bee Gees and you can learn to be a great writer.”

Writing her first professional song:

“I was 22. It was bad. It was called Show Me. It was based on the fact that I was with a guy who didn’t want to emotionally commit, so I was saying, ‘Show me what’s going on inside.’ Terrible. Ugh.”

On getting her heart broken:

“For me, yes. I have breakups that I can credit to every song. In my twenties, I picked people who would create that dysfunction and drama, so I could draw upon it. With my boyfriend now, we don’t have that drama. There are moments when I wake up and think, ‘Oh, shit! There’s nothing bad here.’”

The artist she’s dying to work with:

“Prince. He’s a bold artist who’s done it on his own terms. You can listen to his records today and it sounds like he made them five minutes ago.”

WH asked Kara if she sings along when she hears her songs:

“Depends. I’m not going to scream, ‘Oh my God! That’s my song!’ But you know what I’ll do? When I’m out somewhere and hear one of my songs, I look around and smile, like, ‘I’ve got a secret.’”

Her fitness regimen:

“I drink lots of water and sleep eight hours a night. I also exercise three times a week: 20 minutes cardio and 40 minutes of weight with cardio. I run up and down stairs and do the elliptical. I also do step-ups on a bench.”

On dieting:

“Dieting is not my thing. I am an eater – an Italian who doesn’t eat is an outcast – but I do it in moderation. I make a special dish of vegetables and sausage with garlic and oil. If I want to get crazy, I make rice – lasagna, too.”

Secret recipe for stardom:

“Individuality, hard work, and having something to say. You’ve got to have heart and be bold.”