Nikki Blonsky unintentionally struck gold when she was plucked out of her Long Island, N.Y., ice cream shop and hand-picked by none other than director Adam Shankman for the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 revival of John Water's feature film, Hairspray. After working with John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer, it was so long Cold Stone Creamery and hello Hollywood for Blonsky!
Gay-rights enthusiast and activist, Blonsky, 21, is setting her mark once again in Hollywoodthis time in the television arenawith a new show on ABC Family called Huge. The successful show, now in its second season, is about obese teens attending a weight-loss camp. Huge co-stars Dancing with the Stars' David Hasselhoff offspring Hayley Hasselhoff, Gina Torres, Harvey Guillen, Ashley Holliday and Raven Goodwin. In addition to starring in Huge, Blonsky has a film in the can called Waiting for Forever due out in theaters this fall.
We caught up with Blonsky during Huge's hiatus to discuss GLAAD, prom kings, LGBT rights and her upcoming film projects.
Windy City Times: Hey Ms. Nikki! You have been very busy with your new show Huge! It is now going into its second season. How do you feel about the show's perception in the media?
Nikki Blonsky: We are really happy with the reviews and the critiques on it. Huge is basically a show on ABC Family about kids at a weight loss camp and they all go there for different reasons. I play a character named Will. My character does not go to the camp by choice and is basically sent there by her parents against her will. She has blue hair, does things her own way and is totally against the grain and anti-authority.
WCT: The first season of Huge was very successful, and I think that it was in large part due to the fact that people were tired of seeing stick-thin actresses on television that didn't look anything like them. You are part of a movement in the industry.
Nikki Blonsky: Yeah, it [ the show ] is so different. Kids in America can tune in and see people that look like them and not a typical size zero in Hollywood. Because that is how most of America looks like. Most of America is plus-size. Hopefully there will be waves in Hollywood where talent will help get people to overlook it all. You can have your talent forever, but you are going to change how you look like over the years because that is part of the growing process and nature and that is what the world does to us.
WCT: You were present at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco, Calif. What was that night like for you?
Nikki Blonsky: Well, the GLAAD Media Awards was really exciting. It was amazing. What a night! It was spectacular. I saw a really wonderful friend there and it was just a really fantastic evening. I got to dance onstage with Wilson Cruzwho I adore more than anything. He is so talented and brilliant. I love him more than life itself and I had the chance to dance onstage with him and hang out afterward. It was a wonderful evening. I was able to meet Cybill Shepherd. It was a wonderfully choreographed evening with everything going on. I was so honored to be a part of that groundbreaking event.
WCT: Richard Goodman & Derrick Martin were rejected at their own prom in Georgia but were able to relive the prom experience as Prom Kings at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. How moving was that experience for you to witness?
Nikki Blonsky: When the boys came out to finally enjoy their prom dance, it really touched me and made me so happy to be onstage with them and then step back and let them have their dance in front of hundreds and hundreds of people. They had their dance. That was so exciting for me as a performer, but moreso as a person. I know what it's like to have to hide your feelings at times. It's hard and these kids weren't even allowed to go to their own prom. I can't even imagine what was going through their heads, but the way that the GLAAD Media Awards pulled it off was really well-done and fantastic.
WCT: Can you offer any words of encouragement to the LGBT population in Chicago and the rest of the world?
Nikki Blonsky: If I could say one thing it would be to live life and take every day as it comes. Enjoy every single day. Don't go through life pretending to be someone or something else because you only have one life to live.
WCT: How has your life changed since Hairspray?
Nikki Blonsky: My life has changed drastically. I'm on the road more and traveling more. I am constantly on an airplane. I was scooping ice cream before I got Hairspray and now I'm on a tv show. So, every day I look back and say, "Wow. Life is incredible." I mean, one day you're behind a counter at an ice cream store scooping ice cream and the next day you are starring in a film with John Travolta. It was by the grace of God and just by the way the Universe works. It's a very powerful thing.
WCT: Besides Huge, do you have any other projects in the works or are you primarily focused on season two?
Nikki Blonsky: I am definitely focusing on Huge right now, but also have a new film out this fall called Waiting for Forever. I actually play a mom in it with a husband. That was incredibly different for me because I have never played a mom in film before. So, I am really excited. There is an amazing cast in this film, including [ former The O.C. star ] Rachel Bilson, K.C. Clyde, Blythe Danner, [ openly gay actor ] Richard Gant and others. It will be out in theaters soon!