Today we had a surprise visitor at Marie Claire...one of May cover girls Amber Riley! (Pictured here with our editor-in-chief Joanna Coles) And what a delight she was as the staff peppered her with questions. Here are 10 tidbits we learned about the Glee star and one of our favorite shows.
Amber's hard at work on a solo album which she hopes will be out late next year. She's writing all of her own material and experimenting with all different types of music like rock, R&B, and some things with an Adele feel. Just don't expect any electro-pop!
Her trailer on set is connected to those of Jayma Mays and Jane Lynch, though they're not often around at the same time. Plus, Amber says she's often catching up on sleep during her downtime.
And it's no wonder she's tired, they're usually on set at 5:30 which means she tries to get to bed around 9 pm. And those dance numbers take around eight hours to learn!
Amber's favorite fan story is about a little 11-year-old girl in Idaho. "She's a plus-size black girl whose adopted parents are white. She gets teased a lot in school and her mom told me that she always comes home and watches the episode where I sing 'Beautiful.'" The star is now something of a pen pal to the little Madison (which also happens to be Amber's favorite name!) and she sent her tickets to go see the live Glee show.
Kristin Chenoweth is one of her favorite co-stars, albeit a little one. "She's so tiny," Amber told us. "And she's the most genuine person."
On Glee guest star Gwyneth Paltrow: "Yes, she's very nice! And she's a great mom, which is the best compliment I can give someone." Turns out Gwynnie brings her kids to the set, along with a very "official-looking" bodyguard/nanny and she makes sure to get home to tuck them in.
Her mom has been her vocal coach since she was two years old!
Amber's dad freaked out when her saw her Marie Claire cover. Apparently her recently learned how to text photos and sent one off immediately...as well as having a framed version hanging in the house.
One of her most meaningful performance memories is when the cast shot "Somebody to Love": "It was the first time we really felt like a group. Like we were in this together. That day always sticks out for me."
Despite singing and acting like a confident pro, Amber still gets nervous before performances. First Lady Michelle Obama helped calm her nerves before her first gig at the White House. And she even admitted to throwing up a couple times on the live tour. But she says, "If I'm not nervous I don't feel like it goes well."