The 37-year-old dancer covers Women's Health's September issue, in which she opens up about parenting, life since her split from Channing Tatum and trying to discover who she is -- alongside stunning pics of her completely naked.
“I’ve been a dancer my entire life, so I’m used to little clothing,” she quips of the revealing photo shoot. “You lose a sense of modesty.”
Since separating from 38-year-old Tatum back in April, the World of Dance host has been on a mission to find herself. “I feel I’ve been on a wave of growth,” Dewan says. “It does look different; it’s a new normal, and I really think we’ll get used to that.”
Though she notes that “it's always challenging to go through a big change and have the whole world have an opinion about it," Dewan wanted to do right both by herself and Everly, the 5-year-old daughter she shares with her ex.
“It’s been a journey, and it’s been a transformation of myself — my needs and wants as a woman,” Dewan says. “I think everyone wants to hold on to what’s in front of them, but when you open your mind, saying, ‘I want what’s best for myself and my daughter,’ you have to be okay with however that looks.”
She continues: “It’s okay for a relationship to change into a new form that is actually better for both people involved, and I think that’s maybe what shocked everyone so much — that it can be a positive thing. That was ultimately what happened with us.”
In addition to discovering who she is as a person, the Step Up star has also been finding herself as a mother. After being shamed on social media for posting revealing pics of herself, Dewan decided to ignore the criticism and embrace her sexuality.
“Apparently, when you become a mother, you’re supposed to leave your sexuality at the door, and I never understood that,” she says. “I think there’s nothing sexier than becoming a mother. You give life. It’s everything. And you don’t change who you are inside just because you have a kid.”
Of the pics, Dewan says that she "want[s her] daughter to see that and be like, ‘Wow, my mother was a fully actualized, sensual woman.’ Women are so much stronger and more powerful, and living in our goddess energy, when we come together to lift each other up rather than tear each other down.”
While she wants her daughter to embrace her body, the actress also makes it a point to celebrate her mind. “I’m cautious not to always say, ‘You’re beautiful,’ or ‘You look pretty,’" she reveals. "I say those things, but I follow it up with, ‘You’re smart, you’re strong, you’re opinionated.’”
As for where she goes from here, Dewan is done with labels.
“I did a lot of work healing from the inside out, becoming more in touch with my womanly power,” she says. “It was always, ‘I’m a dancer,’ or ‘I’m married,’ or ‘I’m an actress.’ Over the last couple of years, it became about learning about myself.”