star Amber Riley, who plays the confident Mercedes on the Fox hit,
broke down in tears as she admitted her struggles with her body image as
a Hollywood actress.
In an honest and moving interview for the MTV series This Is How I Made
It, the actress, who is currently making her Broadway debut in Cotton
Club Parade revealed how the pressure to be thin has taken its toll.
The 26-year-old, size 16, actress said: 'Hollywood is a very hard place to be in. It really is. Being the person I am, you know, the size I am, being a woman, being a black woman, there's not a lot of roles for us.
'After I did St Sass, I kept on auditioning. I was being offered the
girl who sits in the corner and eats all day, the girl who committed
suicide because she was fat,' she continued.
'I never wanted to play a character that hated herself. I wanted
people to know that those aren't the only roles for people like me,
It took 14 years of battling with her body image for Miss Riley to finally get her dream yes.
'Going to the auditions and having the casting director say you need
to loose a little weight, I didn't understand why people couldn't accept
me for who I was. And the rejection started wearing on my self-esteem,' she said.
'I'm not going to conform, and hurt myself, and do something crazy to be a size 2,' she explained.
'My parents always instilled knowing that your beautiful, that your
fearfully and wonderfully made, and that you know who you are.'
Even so, the slightly-unsure-of-herself five-foot-two-inch star went
through multiple weight fluctuations while growing up in La Mirada,
Ultimately, however, she said: 'I'm a healthy person. have great friends around me that are positive.
'That's the key to life, is make your own path, set your own rules.
There is no set rule, no set look, no set anything, you make your own
rules in life, and your own decisions.'