This Wednesday, November 4, Nikki Blonsky, star of the movie Hairspray, came to the UCF Pegasus Ballroom to speak of her experiences with the movie and her life before and after filming.
Blonsky spoke about her life before getting the part of Tracy Turnblad. She began by saying that she loved singing since the age of three. In 2000, when she was 12, her grandfather died, which resulted in her family’s moving into her grandmother’s house to help her cope with it. Since the death of her husband, Blonsky’s grandmother’s health became steadily worse, eventually resulting in dementia.
Blonsky kept singing at the request of her grandmother, and even expressed her love for the musical Hairspray, and her dream to one day star as its principle character, Tracy. She even sent the Broadway producers of the musical her picture.
In January of 2005, her grandmother died. Within an hour of hearing the news, a Broadway producer called her to tell her that they wanted her to audition.
Over the next few days she simultaneously practiced songs for her audition and her grandmother’s funeral. Unfortunately, the producers told her she was too young for the part, as she was only 16 at the time of the audition. During this time, Blonsky became closer to her whole family, including her uncle Steve.
On her 17th birthday, Blonsky checked the Hairspray Web site and saw they were looking for a girl between the ages of 17-24 to play Tracy in the movie version of the musical. With her family’s support, she attended four callbacks over a period of six months.
On June 7, the day before her senior prom, producers came to her place of work (a Coldstone Creamery ice cream store), stating that Blonsky was one of the four remaining girls considered for the part. They showed her a video of the director of the movie, who told her, “Go make yourself a big ice cream cone, because you’re playing Tracy.”
Blonsky continued her speech by talking about her experiences filming Hairspray and her rise to fame. She had to fly around the world for premiers as well as sing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She also talked quite emotionally of the suicide of her uncle Steve and her incident in the Turks and Caicos islands last year.
Overall, Blonsky’s speech was very lighthearted and uplifting. She spoke humorously of her encounters meeting famous people (it turns out the Angelina Jolie’s kids love the movie) as well as some of her other projects (check next week- apparently some big news is coming).
She finished up the night by singing “Good Morning Baltimore,” signing autographs and being treated to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” (she turns 21 on November 9). I am sure I can speak for UCF students and say she was great and we hope she enjoyed her time here.