One of the first plus size actresses to make it into the mainstream was Nikki Blonsky, who you might know as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters' musical rom-com Hairspray. Blonsky is not only a plus size trailblazer, but a total goddess. She was cast in Hairspray when still a newbie in the industry, making Tracy her first major role.
Sadly, her charisma hasn't necessarily sustained her star power, and she has worked in only a few movies and television shows since — none of them the blockbusters that 2007's Hairspay was. "They were roles that, to me, didn't match up to Tracy," Blonsky told Oprah: Where Are They Now? in a candid interview back in 2013. She found that Hollywood still wasn't ready to embrace a plus size actress and suspected that her body had held her back from getting major roles. "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," she told Oprah.
Now that body positivity has made it into the public consciousness a bit more, I hope to see Blonsky back on the big or small screen soon, snagging roles that reflect her talent. No one should ever be pushed to the margins because of their body type. In the meantime, let's take a trip down memory lane and look at 21 old photos of Blonsky that will remind you of how much you love her.
1. This Stunning Gown
Blonsky is beaming in this image from The New York Pops 41st Birthday Gala, with fellow badasses Ricki Lake and Marissa Jaret Winokur.
2. The Smoky Eye
Looking fierce as ever in eye makeup to kill.
3. This Kiss
Seeing Bette Midler and Blonsky in a love fest is something I wholeheartedly support.
4. Too Many Queens
5. The Neon Headband
One of Blonsky's other starring roles came in the 2010 ABC Family series Huge . Unfortunately, the series lasted for only 10 episodes. But this neon headband? It lives on. She was rocking athleisure before it was a thing.
6. Neutral Magic
Looking perfect at a premiere.
7. Smooching Besties
Doesn't she just look precious? My heart is melting, guys.
8. Being A Royal
Look at her pose. It contains almost too much power to handle.
9. This Princess-like Hue
Blonsky obviously knows how to do red carpet fresh.
10. The Silk Choker
Chokers made a comeback in 2015, but this satin-like one is giving me all the feels.
11. Polka Dot Babe
Her confident attitude is everything.
12. Layered Tops
She and Zac Efron are my dream couple, y'all. This is what #RealtionshipGoals look like.
13. No Shame In The Food Game
Are you convinced she's the cutest yet?
14. Bold Prints
This picture is so early '00s. I can't even.
15. Retro Beauty Queen
And there she is: Schooling us all in Fierceness 101.
16. Pink Hair, Don't Care
This was taken during her guest stint on Ugly Betty and is all the evidence anyone needs if they're wondering why Blonsky is everything. She's not afraid to laugh, have fun, or dye her hair pink.
17. Renaissance-esque Curls
Blowing the crowd a kiss seems to be Blonsky's signature red carpet pose. I'm digging it.
18. With John Travolta
Blonsky and John Travolta are too precious.
19. Being Babe-ly
Here's an unlikely pair: Reality star Heidi Montag and Nikki Blonsky. But hey, they certainly seem to be getting along swimmingly — each rocking a delightful dress.
20. These Sleeves, Though
Blonsky happily posing with her Critics Choice Award in 2008 proves that she was stoked to have won. Her smile is contagious, and those see-through sleeves are giving me all the sartorial feels.
21. A Natural Star
That's beauty incarnate if I've ever seen it.
Even though we haven't been graced with a leading role from Blonsky in a long time, characters like Tracy Turnblad and Willamena ("Will") Rader remain inspirations for plus size women growing up in a body shaming society. As does Blonsky herself, whose confidence has never staggered.
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