As one of the stars on the megahit show Glee, Amber Riley is the ultimate high school friend-in-the-head we all wish we had back in the day. She’s fabulous, funny, fiercely loyal to her truest friends and has a voice so big and beautiful, words can hardly describe it. Mercedes rules! And the actress who plays her, Amber Riley, has become a true icon to Gleeks and to young women around the world who would love to have just a fraction of her talent and her self esteem.
Amber Riley plays the role of a high school student, and she knows all too well what kids are going through these days. High school is usually known as a rough road for many (it sure was for me), but dealing with bullies can be even more complicated in this age of the internet where anonymity gives people courage they’d never have otherwise. Instead of sitting by and just y’know – being a superstar – Amber’s using her star power to call attention to the issue of bullying.
Secret Deodorant has created a new Facebook page dedicated to starting a “movement of nice.” On Secret’s Mean Stinks page, users are encouraged to share their own experiences with bullying, get advice from others who have been there and experienced that, and they can also help to support PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center by buying Secret deodorant products. And Amber Riley has partnered with Secret and Mean Stinks to lend a voice to the movement!
Afrobella: Amber, as a fellow plus-size women of color, let me just say how awesome it is to see you out there representing for us. Your style is always flawless. What is your best advice for plus size women trying to figure out a sense of unique style giving that sometimes there’s limited options that your presented with?
Amber: First, thanks for the great compliment! I would say the best way to feel confident with yourself is to find something about yourself that you like, and accentuate it. So, if you like your butt, accentuate your butt, if you like your waist, find things that accentuate your waist, and wear your true size! Don’t wear things that are too big for you, and don’t wear things that are too small for you. Wearing your true size is so important. And, Spanx are a blessing – don’t fight them, just wear them!
Afrobella: Do you have any favorite designers we have to look out for?
Amber: I will say that I love to shop when I go to London and one of the places I love to go to is Dorothy Perkins. I love this shop because they have a broad range of sizes. They go from a 4 to a size 24. I also like Style 3-6-9, which can also be found online – it’s also London-based. They’re with the Arcadia Group, a London-based clothing line. So those two clothing lines are my little secret weapons.
Afrobella: As a star on Glee, you get the best of both worlds. You get to show the world you can act and sing. Do you self identify yourself as an actress or as a singer?
Amber: I think that’s like asking someone to choose between their children. I love them both and I feel like I’m good at both and I’ve grown up doing both. So I kind of just love them equally. I used to do one more than the other, I used to sing more than I acted, and now I’m acting more than I sing.
Afrobella: What are your favorite songs that you have performed on the show?
Amber: Oh gosh! My favorite song was probably “Aint No Way” that was a lot of fun to do because I felt like I sang it like me on the show, it was a little older for me to sing, so a great challenge. That was probably one of my favorites.
Afrobella: What advice do you have for teens who are being bullied right now and hating their high school experience?
Amber: I would tell them that first off, high school is only four years and that there is life after high school – I promise! Second, try to ignore the negativity and focus on the positive things in your life. Find activities outside of high school to get involved. If you like music, find a choir to get involved with. Find an outside outlet that distracts you from whatever is going on in school. And, if you are being bullied, tell a teacher, tell an adult, tell someone that can help you with the problem. Be proactive, not reactive; don’t fight back with your words, go to someone that can actually help.
Afrobella: As a icon to teenagers around the world, tell me what the Mean Stinks Campaign means to you, and what you hope to achieve as part of it?
Amber: I think the great thing about Secret’s Mean Stinks program is that it’s giving girls an outlet to express how they feel about bullying and to get and give advice about bullying. If someone is being bullied, just getting information about how to deal with it is critical – how to deal with girl-on-girl combat, or deal with negativity is super important and that’s what Mean Stinks on Facebook does. I get a lot of letters from girls and questions about negativity and now I can recommend this program as a resource. It’s a good way for everyone to connect and figure out how to deal with it together as a group.
Thanks Amber, and thanks Secret! For more information about preventing bullying at schools, visit PACER.org/bullying or TeensAgainstBullying.org, or call 952-838-9000.
Click here to follow Amber on Twitter – she’s super sweet and talks to her fans! I must admit, I’ve got extra love for Amber because her middle name is Patrice
Did you ever face bullies in high school, bellas? What is your best advice for teenagers dealing with mean girls at school today? Are you a big Gleek and a fan of Amber Riley’s? Tell me in the comments!