Over the last decade, Amber Riley has built a lengthy resume of film and television credits including her breakout role as Mercedes Jones on Glee and, more recently, appearing on the Emmy-nominated A Black Lady Sketch Show.
However, what fans may not realize is that she began her quest to stardom long before she was a student at William McKinley High School.
Amber Riley auditioned for ‘American Idol’ in 2003 and was rejected.
Amber told Distractify that being rejected from American Idol at the age of 17 played a major role in who she is today, and although Amber failed to wow judges with her audition, she later joined the cast of Glee, which just happened to air on the same network.
"I feel that it was completely necessary," she explained. "There's a moment in your life that comes where you're going to have to figure out if this is what you really want to do. I always say that it was the, ‘no’ I needed to know that this is what I'm going to go after for the rest of my life.”
It was that day, Amber said, that she committed to following her dreams full-time. After recently being on another Emmy-nominated show, the singer shared how it feels to finally get the “yasss” she deserves.
“[I had] the full-circle moment of realizing like it, it wasn’t that you weren’t good enough, it just wasn’t your time yet,” she said. Now that Amber has finally gotten her moment, she’s taking full advantage.
Amber is set to star in the upcoming musical comedy, ‘Dream.'
Hollywood has a long way to go when it comes to representation and inclusion in the media industry, but Amber's latest project proves that we’re finally taking a step in the right direction.
She told Distractify that while her new show has not been picked up by a network just yet, viewers are in for a treat.
Amber said that the upcoming series, which follows a former teen mom who is finally pursuing her passion for music, is a testament to trusting your gut.
“I can't for the world to see it. You know, we're still trying to find a home for it, but it's all there. The story is there, the love for the show is there.” Amber said. "So when it finds a home, I know that it's going to be amazing. Because that's what happens when you go with your gut.”
Amber shared that in the past, she feared that the entertainment industry would never make room for a plus-sized Black woman. But as of recently, her dream of becoming a leading lady has finally come true.
“[Hollywood] already has an idea of who a woman that looks like me is supposed to represent on television. But I always wanted to be a leading lady and I always knew that I could do that. And so being able to be who I am and create my own lane was a complete blessing,” Amber added.
Reporting by: Pretty Honore