Inside Julianne Hough and ‘Barbie’ Powerhouses Greta Gerwig and America Ferrera’s High-Stakes Event for Women

Jenny Just, Suzy Welch, America Ferrera

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Winner, winner! Julianne Hough proved she’s got major moves, and not just on the dance floor.

The actress, singer and dancer was one of several high-powered women who recently attended the Poker Power event on Sept. 21, at the home of NYU professor Suzy Welch.

Actress America Ferrera, director Greta Gerwig, power producer and connector Desiree Gruber and designer Rebecca Minkoff also tried their hand at winning the (fake money) pot.

The event was hosted by Jenny Just, a self-made fintech billionaire who founded Power Poker, and organizations whose mission is to teach one million women to play the game of poker — and then use those skills to “go all in and take their seat at the table.”

“By creating a safe space for female-identifying and non-binary individuals to learn the essential skills endemic to poker and business – skills like negotiation, risk-taking, and capital allocation – poker power is taking a unique and scalable approach to closing the gender wealth and equity gaps,” Just says of the mission and the app.

Just also believes without a doubt that the fundamentals of poker, like taking risks, calculating outcomes, and reading people, are the same in business and life — and poker can be a gateway for all women to finally be confident when it comes to money and finance.

“We want to teach one million how to negotiate, assess risk, and make decisions with confidence—from the classroom to the board room and at every seat in between,” Just says.

Winning poker games and empowering women isn’t the only thing Hough has been focused on as of late. The professional dancer has also been preparing for her new role as co-host of Dancing with the Stars, which kicks off its 32nd season on Tuesday night.

On a previous episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, Hough recalled initially turning down a gig on the dance competition series at age 18 “because I was like, ‘You know, I want to be a respected actress and singer. I don’t want to be on a competition show, you know, dancing.'”

“I was like, you know, this is what I want to do. This is my path,” she told host Kelly Clarkson. “And then I was like, well I guess it’s kind of a good thing to be able to have that as my day job.”

Hough’s decision turned out to be life-changing because the show “blew up” after she was cast in 2007. She added, “It was so wild. I mean, like overnight, I had just finished high school, basically and then I got on the show.”

Though she left the show in 2009, Hough later returned as a judge for six seasons from 2014 to 2021. Her casting as co-host was announced in March 2023.

“I was on the show and you know, I was a dancer first,” she shared of the series, which moved from ABC to Disney+ in 2022. “Won my first two seasons back to back and then came back as a judge and that was one of the most fulfilling moments and then, of course, to come back now as a host it just really does seem full-circle.”

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