Amber Riley opens up about the unfair beauty standards in Hollywood in a new MTV series, This Is How I Made It. It takes a closer look at how some of Tinseltown’s biggest and brightest made it to the top. But the Glee star admits her rise to fame was a bit rocky. In fact, she says she encountered a number of setbacks, including directors encouraging her to shed pounds. But Riley refused.
“Hollywood is a very hard place to be in,” said a tearful Riley. “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.” The actress turned down roles that didn’t fit who she was—including anything that contained negative images of plus size women.
She remembers going on auditions and directors mentioning she should lose weight. “I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t accept me for who I was and the rejection started wearing on my self-esteem. That’s when my mom and I decided to stop. I’m not gonna conform and hurt myself and do something crazy to be a size two.”
Above all, Riley knows she’s a great person. Now, her star shines brighter than ever before. “I’m a healthy person,” said Riley. “I have great friends around me that are positive and I think that’s the key to life is making your own path. Set your own rules because there is no set rule, there is no set look, there is no set anything. You make your own rules in your life. You make your own decisions.”