Carmen Electra knows how to work her body. Whether dancing onstage, sweating it out in a fitness video, or putting in her time at the gym, the petite but powerful star is living proof that being strong is very sexy. “I look at fitness as a way of expressing myself,” says Electra, 42, whose multicareer path includes dancing, singing, acting, and modeling.

A dancer since the age of 5, Electra (given name, Tara Leigh Patrick) has always been active. She continues to dance as part of her varied routine, although she says that maintaining her strength and flexibility are also important. “Having a healthy lifestyle isn’t that complicated—you need to exercise, eat right, stay hydrated, get the right amount of rest, and, most important, try to live as stress-free as possible.”

From her days running on the beach in Baywatch, to headlining a burlesque show in Vegas, Electra—whose newest endeavor is the dance single “WERQ”—has always drawn attention for her sexy physique. (She was recently the first-ever inductee into the “Bikini Hall of Fame” in Bikinis, TX, featuring a bronze bust of her top half.) But as she recently told Joan Rivers in an interview on Rivers’ talk show, “One of the sexiest qualities you can have is to be confident in who you are.”

That doesn’t mean she’s always had it easy. In fact, she says, “WERQ” is about motivating people to love and believe in themselves. “Rejection is part of learning how to make it. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Make it happen.”

Ultimately, Electra adds, success comes from self-confidence. “You have to accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Always be yourself.”