Lauren Alaina celebrates her 24th birthday on Thursday, Nov. 8, kicking things off with a celebration at Topgolf in Nashville on Wednesday night.
After first making a name for herself on the tenth season of American Idol in 2011, Alaina released her first album, Wildflower, in 2011. She followed that with Road Less Traveled in 2017, which notched the star her very first No. 1 hit with its title track. Later that year, she topped the charts for a second time alongside Kane Brown with their duet "What Ifs." Alaina is now touring the country opening for artists like Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton and more.
Read on to learn more about Alaina!
She used to work at Cicis
Before she found fame on Idol, Alaina was a student in her hometown of Georgia, and worked at her local Cicis restaurant. She began singing early, performing in church, restaurants and children's groups, entering and winning talent competitions in multiple states. She also traveled to Nashville to perform and began writing songs, eventually earning a co-writing credit on every song on her sophomore album.
She auditioned for 'American Idol' with a Faith Hill song
Alaina performed in front of judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler for the first time with a rendition of Hill's "Like We Never Loved at All."
She scored three yeses from the judges, giving her a golden ticket to Hollywood, where her success would only continue as she became an early judges' favorite. Alaina ultimately made it all the way to the season's finale, finishing as the runner-up behind Scotty McCreery.
She has been dating her fiancé since 2012
Alaina began dating fiancé Alex Hopkins, an actor and model, in October 2012 after meeting in July of that year. Six years later, Hopkins proposed in July 2018.
"I love him," Alaina gushed to Taste of Country of her fiancé. "He is my best friend. He's like an actual angel on earth. He’s the most attractive man I have ever seen. Like every time I look at him — I mean, the older we get, the more attractive he gets and I’m starting to be like, 'Glad we met at 17 because you are way cuter than me.'"
She loves goats
The 24-year-old told revealed that her favorite animals are goats. "People make fun of me all the time," she said, adding, "I like the baby ones, specifically, baby goats."
Also in the interview, Alaina admitted that she loves puns (her social media followers can attest to this), cheesecake, reading, interior design, scary movies and '80s hair bands.
She loves anything with cheese
While Alaina makes sure to eat right the majority of the time, losing 20 pounds by following a healthy diet and exercising, she does allow herself the occasional indulgence. It seems there's one food the Georgia native is a fan of above pretty much all others, however, telling KIX 92.1 that if she could indulge in anything she wanted on Super Bowl Sunday, the majority of her options would include cheese.
"Gosh, let’s see cheese dip. I would really like some cheese dip in my life again," she said. "I’m a big fan of wings and hot dogs and pizza and cheesecake and poppers and cheese sticks and cheese, anything that has to do with cheese. Did you realize everything I named besides the wings, which you dip in blue cheese, had to do with cheese?"
She has openly admitted that she struggled with bulimia
The "Ladies in the '90s" singer told SELF that she began worrying about her weight at age 12, something that continued through her time on Idol. Through those years and those after, when her career began taking off, she was battling bulimia, only telling someone about the disease when a doctor asked her if she had ever had an eating disorder after discovering polyps on her vocal chords.
After admitting her struggle to her mom and doctor, her doctor told her that her bulimia would continue to affect her vocal chords and make it nearly impossible for her to sing. As a result, Alaina began her recovery journey with the help of her mom.
"She made me start this exercise where I say three things that I love about myself in the mirror," Alaina recalled. "And when we started that, I couldn’t say a single thing. Not one thing. I remember staring in the mirror and crying because it was this moment when I realized you’ve got to do something.
Her must-have item on the road is onesies
While some stars require certain foods or entertainment, all Alaina really wants are onesies when she travels on tour.
"I always have to have a onesie because we’re still all on the same bus…and if you know me you know I’m obsessed with onesies, but it’s like a real thing," she told Sounds Like Nashville and other media. "Like, I sleep in them. I sleep in onesies because I get really cold at night and I do not like to be cold. The boys are all like, hot-natured, and they’re men, you know? I’m like the girl on the bus that’s freezing, so I’ll wear onesies. I cannot be on the bus without a onesie. If I forget it, which I don’t…if I did forget it, it’s on my packing list. I have a list and it’s like third on the list… a onesie. But if I forgot it, we’d be going to Target and getting one. I mean, that’s how crazy I am about having a onesie."
In fact, the singer loves onesies so much that she celebrated her first No. 1 with a "Onesie Party" in May 2017.
She went to school with Kane Brown
Before topping the charts with "What Ifs," Alaina and Brown were classmates together at Lakeview Middle School in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. They first met in choir, and it was Alaina who eventually convinced Brown to share his voice with others.
“She sang all the time,” Lakeview's choir teacher Lamar Gillespie recalled to the Tennessean of Alaina. “She was just like she is now. She made Kane sing for me. I could tell that he had the love and passion for what he sang. You could just see it and hear it in his voice. I felt like both of them would do well."
Photo Credit: Getty / David Becker
She is a generous tipper0comments
Both Alaina and her mom have worked in the service industry, so seeing people decline to leave a tip is a personal pet peeve of the singer's. Alaina explained to Country Weekly that she remembered seeing her mom cry after not receiving a tip, and her own experiences working at Cicis helped inform her attitude as well.
“I tip better than just about anybody I know,” she said. “Those servers work very hard all day long and they depend on those tips.”