Former Cold Stone Creamery scooper Nikki Blonsky burst onto the scene at the age of 17 when she won the hearts of audiences — and scored a Golden Globe nom — for her role Tracy Turnblad, the lead in movie musical Hairspray. But then the plus size actress with the super size voice dropped off the Hollywood radar, while her personal life become fodder for the tabloids. But now Nikki’s back, playing another plus sized role, which is very different from Tracy. The 21-year-old is playing the lead on the ABC Family show Huge, which premieres on Monday night. Nikki plays Willamena Rader, known as Will, a girl whose parents force her to attend the weight loss camp that serves as the backdrop of the show. Will refuses to conform to her parents’ wishes or the demands of the camp, and she continues to wear her comfy boy’s clothes and sport blue streaks in her hair, while decided to gain weight while there, instead of losing it.
“I totally advocate being who you are, loving who you are, live and let live,” Nikki told Crushable, while speaking to reporters today. “Just love what God gave you because God gave it to you for a reason…I’m meant to be a 4-foot-10 plus size actress and I’m perfectly okay and happy with that. If we all accept who we are and love who we are we’ll all be okay.”
When faced with the question of whether a show about a weight loss camp might send the wrong message to girls about body size and weight loss, Nikki said a camp like the one on Huge would be okay, if the child wants to go there instead of being sent there, like her character Will. “I think if the kid comes to the parent and says, ‘Mom, I really want to go and lose weight, I’ve heard about this camp, I really want to go and get fit,’ then that’s perfectly okay,” Nikki explained. “I think if the parent is sending a child, it’s in some way sending a message to that child that the child is not good enough as they are for the parents. There is no worse fear in my heart than not being good enough for my parents.”
Although Nikki has faced teasing about her weight during her life, she revealed that her parents told her she was beautiful every day. As a result, she has a very healthy self-image and can do things like pose in a bathing suit for the Huge poster. “You don’t get any more bare than that, unless you’re doing Playboy and that’s not happening any time soon…ever,” Nikki confessed. “It was the most freeing experience in my life. Growing up you always have those things…I dealt with that for a long time until I got the part of Will and day one, first shot, she’s taking off her clothes, stripping down to a bathing suit.”
Nikki said she was overjoyed to be part of a plus-sized cast, and hoped Huge would open more doors for plus size actors in Hollywood. “I hope that there are a lot of more plus-sized characters on there as love interests, as everything, as all the different roles,” she said. “I hope it just breaks all the boundaries in Hollywood.”
As for role models for young fans, Nikki counts her “best friend” (and Hairspray co-star) Zac Efron among those actors in Hollywood who set good examples for their fans. She also listed Camryn Manheim, Ricki Lake, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and Angelina Jolie as her own role models. “They are such strong women who are who they are, and don’t care,” Nikki said.
Besides Huge, which she said is consuming most of her time at the moment, Nikki is playing a young, married mother in the film Waiting for Forever, which is due to hit theaters this fall. And since she’s known for her voice, Nikki also told Crushable she’d be open to role Glee. “That’s something I would love to do,” she said. She might even give Amber Riley, who plays plus-sized diva Mercedes on the show, a run for her money.