Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Hairspray, Queen Sized, Huge
Currently Known For:
The Last Movie Star
2007 - Present
November 9, 1988
Hairspray, Queen Sized, Huge
To view another celebrity please click the next celebrity button below or read the full article by scrolling further below.
While some actors that end up headlining major movie productions had to spend years and years as supporting actors, there are occasions when a relative unknown comes out of nowhere to receive top billing. One actor that falls in the latter category is Nikki Blonsky, who hadn’t been in a movie or television show before being cast as the lead role in the remake of a popular movie. She had gotten off to a hot start in her career, and although we haven’t seen much of her in recent years, Blonsky is still active in the entertainment scene.Advertisements:
Blonsky was born in Long Island on November 9, 1988 in Great Neck, New York. Growing up, Blonsky had a love for theater and studied the field as much as she could. After school, Blonsky would practice her acting on a daily basis and had been in several productions during her youth. One of her favorite plays (and films) while growing up was “Hairspray”, and the original movie starred eventual talk show host Ricki Lake as the main character Tracy Turnblad.
When it was announced that there would be a remake of the film set to be released in 2007, there was a broad search to take on the role of Tracy. Blonsky decided to audition even without prior experience on screen, and at the time was working at an ice cream parlor. She was even at work when movie executives that she didn’t recognize came in.
“Next thing I know, I was serving ice cream to New Line executives without knowing it,” Blonsky said. “They turned on a laptop at a table and (a video of director) Adam Shankman came on saying, ‘I think you should make yourself a big ice cream cone because you’re going to be playing Tracy Turnblad in the new Hairspray movie.” There were a lot of expectations for the movie, but it seemed that they had been met.
“Hairspray” debuted in 2007 with a $75 million budget, but was able to pull in more than $200 million in the United States at the box office. Many thought that it was just the start for Blonsky, who figured to have a long and illustrious career thanks to the film’s success. The following year, Blonsky had landed a role in the Lifetime made for TV movie “Queen Sized” and that same year had another big screen film with “Harold”.
The following year, Blonsky had a guest appearance on the show “Ugly Betty” and was a main star for the MTV miniseries “Valemont”. Then, Blonsky got her chance to lead the cast of a show that was expected to be a hit. The show was called “Huge” and aired on ABC Family, surrounding the life of teenagers that had gone to a weight loss camp. However, the show failed to gain traction, and was cancelled after just one season.
Ever since then, Blonsky has had just a couple of television roles, including a guest appearance on “The Fresh Beat Band” and a recurring role on the second season of the NBC musical drama “Smash”. As for film, Blonsky has appeared in a handful, though not the type of blockbusters in which she debuted with. She’s been in films such as “Waiting for Forever” and “The English Teacher”, having her most recent role in 2017’s “The Last Movie Star”.
“Hairspray” remains the biggest success for Blonsky so far in her career at 30 years old. She does still speak to some of the members of that cast, too, most notably John Travolta, with whom she shares a close friendship. “It’s been (over) 10 years since making ‘Hairspray’ and I’m honored and thankful to say we are still as close as ever,” she said. “I will never be able to fully express my full love and gratitude for this man because he’s so incredible that he leaves me speechless and there’s not enough amazing words in the dictionary to describe him.”
While Travolta was someone that Blonsky says she was right to trust in her career, she says that things went wrong for her after her first film. “You know I entered this giant industry, where I was promised the world, when I was just 17 years old,” she said. “Everybody wanted a piece of me...I think my downfall was that I was so naive and trusted everybody. I don’t think I was old enough or seasoned enough to weed them out yet. A lot of people promise you everything; and when you expect that it’s going to come and it doesn’t, it’s a big let down,” adding that “There’s a lot of empty promises in this business. You just have to find the strength within yourself to rise above it.”
The movie that gave Blonsky her fame even had a live remake on NBC a decade after the movie was released. Many were surprised that Blonsky didn’t take part in any capacity. “They never reached out to me,” she said. “I think they kind of forgot me, which is fine. We all have our moment in the sun.”
When asked why she never became the star that some thought she had the capability of being, Blonsky was very candid. “I had so many meetings with people telling me, ‘Well, you’re so beautiful and you have such a gorgeous face, but maybe if you just lost a little (weight) in your backside…’I’m like, ‘Wait, I’m not a Mr. Potato Head doll that you can just put this on and take that off. It doesn’t work like that.”
Even if it means fewer roles, Blonsky doesn’t want to change just to conform to Hollywood standards. “Maybe someday I will lose those 60 pounds, but if I do, it’s going to be for my own reasons. Not because somebody told me to,” she said.