Nikki Blonsky isn’t a household name but that’s perfectly fine – for now - with the actress who stars in the 2007 remake of Hairspray. Plucked from her part-time job at a Cold Stone Creamery to take on the lead role in the musical, Blonsky definitely appreciates the fact Hairspray may very well open up a lot of doors for her as an actress in Hollywood. At a press junket in Los Angeles, Blonsky shared how the offer came about and how it felt to tackle the role of a plus-size entertainer with a plus-sized personality in Hairspray.
Getting the Important News: Blonsky was hard at work when the news came that changed her life. “Well, they came to Cold Stone, I was working a part-time job at a Cold Stone Creamery and they came to Cold Stone. They broke the news there to me and my first reaction was I fell off my chair crying and screaming because I was just told I got everything I ever wanted in life. It’s amazing.”
Despite the excitement Blonsky managed to finish out her shift. “I finished that shift and I took – we made a certain amount of tips every night – and I took all the, I had made $6 that night, and I took a dollar bill for each of my co-workers and I signed it for each of them. I said, ‘I love you all dearly. I’m going to work with John Travolta!’ And I ran out of there.”
Nikki Blonsky Had Big Dreams: She knew she wanted to act long before the shot at Hairspray the movie came along. “Absolutely. I auditioned for the Broadway show a year before – two years, sorry. I was 16 at the time and they told me I was too young. And then I auditioned for the movie and everything happened the way it happened. But I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be performing. Performance is everything for me. Getting out there and playing characters and making people laugh or making people feel certain emotions, that’s the most incredible thing about acting and singing and dancing and performing.
I was going to go to college. I was going to major in drama but my motto was always like, ‘Why am I going to sit in a classroom for four years and learn how to audition when I can just go audition?’ That’s what I did with Hairspray. I said, ‘I’ve just got to go audition. Just be uninhibited, just let it all go, just get up there and try because you never know.’ I never would have thought in a million years.”
Walking in Tracy Turnblad’s Shoes: Blonsky says it’s all very exciting. “The role of Tracy has done a lot for the other two girls that played it and I think this is the role that will do a lot for the little boys and girls who may have some doubts about not being able to make it in the industry, or doing what they really want to do with their life. I think it’ll be a way for them to see you can do what you want to do.”
That Wild 60s Style: "Our motto on the movie was the hair can never ever be teased or big enough. We would always joke around and say, ‘The higher the hair, the closer to God.’ Our hair was just getting bigger and bigger by the day. Being 4’10” having that big hair was the first time I was ever 5 feet. So I really loved it and it was fun. I mean, clearly I don’t wear my hair like that so it was really cool to step out of that realm and go back into the 60s and wear the little pencil skirts and the whole kit and caboodle."
The Music of the 1960s: She was already a fan before joining the cast of Hairspray. “Oh my gosh, well that’s what I grew up on,” revealed Blonsky. “I grew up, my grandmother in our house was constantly playing… My mom was playing Diana Ross and the Supremes and all that good stuff. My grandmother raised me on Patsy Cline and Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. My dad at the same time was playing The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers and The Rolling Stones so there was a whole slew of music in our house constantly. The music of the 60s was just so infectious, with everything from all the doo-wop groups and everything. It was just amazing. One of my favorite parts of the movie is the Dynamites, the three girls and their matching outfits because it reminds me of Diana Ross and the Supremes.”
The Original Tracy: Blonsky did have the opportunity to speak with Ricki Lake who originated the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 movie. “I did spend time with Ricki. She made a cameo in our film. She basically just gave me advice on the way of the business and breaking into it and getting into it and everything. She was very, very helpful.”
Fame’s All a Bit Surreal: Since she got the news things have gone from pretty much normal to absolutely surreal. “[There were] people taking pictures of me as I’m walking my dog. You know, it’s interesting. While we were shooting the paparazzi up in Toronto were very aware of who we were. I came out of my building one day to walk my little puppy [she has a pug named Rocky] and there they were out of the bushes. I said, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It’s interesting. I’m very fortunate to be able to say there was not one time that I recall saying, ‘Oh my gosh,’ or having a bad moment. Everything was just an amazing part of this journey.”
Where Does She Go From Here?: “I ask myself that question every morning when I wake up,” replied Blonsky. “You know, I don’t know. I take life one day at a time as it comes. I think whatever is meant to be will be. What’s going to happen will happen. I’ve trusted the good Lord so far so you know I’m not going to stop now. I signed with an incredible agency, William Morris, and I’m under John’s agent’s care. We’re working together so it’s nice to still be connected to my mama.”