Amber Riley: ‘Glee’ Star Talks Being Plus-Sized in Hollywood

“Glee” star Amber Riley has helped Hollywood look at shapely women differently!

The full-figured actress/singer is considered one Tinsletown’s fashion girls, even being named Best Dressed at the 2011 SAG Awards by Joan Rivers on E!’s “Fashion Police.”

In 2013, the 29-year-old talent went on to win ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Now, Riley is working on her debut album. Despite being a “church girl” with an affinity for gospel music, her debut album will be an R&B offering.

Amber Riley at 2011 SAG Awards

AlwaysAList.com spoke to the Los Angeles native – who was turned down by “American Idol” when she auditioned for season two – about “Glee,” her music endeavors and her favorite vocal divas.

“Glee” was a pop culture phenomenon. What’s the most overwhelming part about your experience there?

Probably the attention you get in general is overwhelming. There are so many different emotions you feel when you find this type of success – disbelief, excitement, fear and anxiety. Mainly, I am overjoyed with living my dream.

“Glee” offered the best of both worlds: music and acting. Which one is really your first love?

Music was my first love because it was the first gift that I realized I had, but acting and singing go hand and hand. When I’m on stage, I become whatever character I need to be to relay the message in the song I’m singing.

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Amber Riley

If you could have picked three of your favorite singers to theme “Glee” episodes around, which artists would you choose and why?

Chaka Khan, because she is one of my vocal idols. Beyoncé, because she has so much music it would be like a musical smorgasbord – so many different genres of songs. Sara Vaughan, because we’ve never really done a blues and jazz tribute, and she’s one of my favorite voices to listen to.

You’ve become a fashion icon in a short time – even landing the approval of the late, great Joan Rivers. As a full-figured woman, how does that make you feel?

It makes me feel amazing. I’m a plus-sized girl, but I know how to dress myself and I know what looks good on me. With the character I played, I feel there is a lot of responsibility and I’m okay with being a role model. I think that recognition made a lot of girls feel like they can be beautiful and confident no matter what size or color they are.

There’s a lot of buzz about your working on music. Tell me about that.

I am currently working toward doing an album. I am really excited and nervous, but this is my dream and I’ve waited to go for it my whole life. I just pray the world loves it.

Amber Riley’s “Dancing with the Stars” promo image

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